Even though 25% of people snore on a regular basis, it’s often a problem not discussed due to embarrassment. As a result, you may have a long list of questions. But don’t worry – we’re here to answer the most common questions about snoring. Before you know it, you’ll be an expert on night-time noise.
What is snoring?
Snoring is the sound produced while you sleep by the vibration of soft tissues in the upper airway, including the nose and throat. It usually happens when a breath is drawn in, but can also happen whilst breathing out.
When snoring occurs, it suggests there may be a partial obstruction in the nose or throat during sleep. The air then moves turbulently through the airway due to the obstruction, which causes the vibration and sound of snoring.
Are snoring and sleep apnoea the same thing?
Whilst they may sound similar, snoring and sleep apnoea aren’t the same. Snoring is a symptom of sleep apnoea – but you can have sleep apnoea without being a snorer.
Sleep apnoea is a serious condition that affects at least 5% of the population. It causes your airway to temporarily close, stopping you from being able to breathe. Not everyone that snores will experience it, but for some, the airway becomes so narrow that the walls of the airway stick together and close up. This usually happens for 10-30 seconds but can occur for longer – sometimes up to 50 times an hour or even more. When the airway finally opens up again, you’ll produce a loud snore, known as an apnoea.
If you suspect that you may have OSA, you should speak to your doctor in the first instance to see which treatment they recommend for you. The two main forms of treatment are CPAP and mandibular advancement devices. Depending on the severity of your OSA, your doctor will usually advise one or the other.
Does snoring get worse with age?
As we get older, our sleep changes. We find it harder to fall asleep, stay asleep, and the chances of snoring rises. There are a few reasons why this is.
Loss of muscle tone – As we get older, we tend to lose muscle tone in the upper airway. The palate (roof of the mouth) and uvula therefore relax more and vibrate, which we hear as snoring.
Weight gain – The lifestyle that usually accompanies older age may not include as much physical exercise. As a result, you might find you pile on a couple of pounds which increases the risk of snoring. Extra weight, especially around the neck and throat, can put pressure on the airway. This makes it harder to breathe, leading to snoring.
Does snoring make you tired?
If you suffer from OSA, throughout the night your body will constantly ‘wake itself up’ to a lighter stage of sleep in order to breathe. This is why many people with OSA feel so tired the following day.
But it’s not only snorers that are affected. 32% of adults in relationships are kept awake by snoring. Sleep deprivation is commonly experienced by the partners of snorers. You can find more information under “How can snoring affect relationships?
Tiredness and snoring can become a never-ending cycle if ignored. Snoring tends to be worse when you’re tired. This is because you’re usually trying to achieve deeper sleep, where your muscles are more relaxed. This leads to more snoring or a blockage of breathing during sleep (OSA). If you’re snoring because you’re leading a busy lifestyle, and you don’t have OSA, getting around 7-8 hours of sleep each night should improve your snoring.
Can snoring cause high blood pressure?
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, rarely has noticeable symptoms. But if left untreated, it can increase your risk of serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes.
Occasional snoring is not associated with an increased risk of hypertension. However, studies have found that about one half of patients who have hypertension also have OSA.
When OSA sufferers sleep, their mean blood pressure often fails to decrease as it would normally during sleep. Instead, it remains at a similar level to the awake blood pressure. This is caused by frequent apnoeic (the complete blocking of your airway)/hypopnoeic (the partial blocking of your airway) episodes. With up to 600 per night, these end with arousals that cause spikes in blood pressure, lasting for several seconds.
If you suspect that OSA is linked to your high blood pressure, it’s a good idea to speak to your doctor first to see which treatment they recommend for you. This will not only improve your quality of sleep, but also help manage hypertension.
Does snoring cause a sore throat?
When you have a sore throat, inflammation occurs at the back of the throat. This may lead to pain or discomfort when swallowing and talking. This inflammation can be caused by viruses, bacteria, or even physical irritation such as snoring.
Snoring is frequently associated with either causing or prolonging a sore throat. Snorers tend to sleep with their mouths open, which leads to dryness and irritation of the mouth and throat.
If you have OSA, the chances of getting a sore throat are even higher. The respiratory tract of OSA patients tends to be more prone to inflammation. Studies have shown that the worse you suffer from sleep apnoea or snoring, the more inflammation you have in your body.
How can snoring affect relationships?
Having a snoring partner can cause daily disruption to your sleep. Not only can it keep them awake and put a strain on your relationship, the effects of sleep deprivation can damage their health over time.
The bedroom is meant to be a place of relaxation, a calming space to share with your partner. But when one of you snores, it can be hard to share a space. As a result, many couples find themselves sleeping in separate rooms. Among these couples, nearly half list snoring as the reason for their separation.
Sleep deprivation won’t just leave your partner feeling tired and irritable. If they don’t get enough sleep consistently, they may experience memory loss, depression, and even an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.
Will snoring stop after pregnancy?
You and your partner most likely accounted for a lack of sleep when your little one arrived. But did you consider that snoring caused by pregnancy could keep your partner awake? 1 in 4 women snore during pregnancy, due to hormonal changes, weight gain, as well as other factors.
A study found that pregnant women had smaller airways than non-pregnant women. It also found that over half of these mums snored during pregnancy, but fewer after delivery. This may be because of snoring risk factors still being present, such as excessive weight, or seasonal allergies prolonging their night-time noise. Some mums stop after birth, but for others it can linger up to 6-8 months.
How can I stop snoring?
Now that you’ve learned more about snoring, you may be left wondering how to combat it. The first step is to make any lifestyle changes that could be making you snore. This could range from reducing your alcohol consumption to quitting smoking. If these changes don’t have much of an effect, a snoring relief product could help.
What many people don’t realise is that there are different types of snoring. That’s why some products work better for you than others. Snoreeze products tackle the three main types of snoring:
When you sleep, your airway structure and soft tissues relax. This tissue then dehydrates and vibrates when you breathe, causing snoring.
Typical signs of everyday snoring:
- You sometimes wake with a sore throat
- You tend to sleep on your back
- You snore even when your mouth is closed
For this type of snoring, try the Throat Spray, Oral Strips or Lozenges.
Snoring with congestion
Cold and allergies like hay fever are a common cause of snoring. When you have a cold (or allergic reaction), your nasal tissue swells causing airflow through the nose to be blocked or restricted. This narrows your airway so the air you breathe travels faster, further dehydrating the tissue. This may force you to breathe through your mouth, leading to a dry mouth and snoring.
Typical signs of snoring with congestion:
- You sleep with your mouth open
- You have a blocked nose/nasal congestion
- You have a diagnosed nasal abnormality
If this sounds familiar, the Nasal Spray or Nasal Strips could work well for you.
Loud snoring and OSA
As mentioned earlier, OSA causes your airway to temporarily close, stopping you from being able to breathe. It can dramatically affect your quality of sleep and your overall health.
Typical signs of loud snoring / OSA:
- You feel sleepy in the daytime
- You snore very loudly
- Other products haven’t worked
CPAP is often used as a treatment for OSA, but oral devices are another option used to treat mild-to-moderate sleep apnoea. You should always visit your doctor if you suspect you have OSA, as they’ll be able to recommend the best treatment for you. If they advise that an oral device is suitable, try the Snoreeze Oral Device.
Are snoring mouth guards effective?
Mouth guards, also known as oral devices and mandibular advancement devices, are a recommended treatment option by the NHS. The Snoreeze Oral Device is effective in treating loud snoring and mild-to-moderate sleep apnoea. It works by holding your lower jaw forward during sleep. This helps to keep your airway open, stopping it from collapsing during the night and helping you to breathe easily.
The Snoreeze Oral Device is a boil-and-bite mouth guard. The device features soft, inner plastic to give a secure and comfortable fit. Harder outer plastic is also present, to protect against general wear and tear. The fully adjustable design lets you sleep with your mouth open, and is easy to care for.
You should now feel more confident in your snoring knowledge and the steps needed to help reduce it. But if not, you can find even more information by clicking here.