Did you know that snoring was bad for your heart? It’s thought to cause changes in the carotid artery and is linked to metabolic syndrome, both of which put you at risk of cardiovascular disease. Not only that, you’ll keep your partner awake, which won’t do your relationship a lot of good, either. So what can you do? Consider these potential cures before opting for weird gadgets or surgery.
1) Sleep on your side. When you lie on your back, your tongue may partially obstruct your breathing, making tissue in your throat vibrate. That’s less likely to happen if you lie on your side or your stomach. Think it’ll be hard to break the back habit? Try sewing a pocket into the back of your pyjamas and stuffing a tennis ball in it. That should do the trick!
2) Stay off the booze Alcohol causes the muscles of the oropharynx at the back of the mouth to relax too much (some antidepressants and other drugs can have the same effect). Don’t drink for at least four hours before going to bed.
3) Don’t overeat. Eating a light meal rather than a slap-up dinner in the evening will help those who create a noise nuisance at night. And if you’re overweight, consider losing a few kilos. An American study found that a 10% weight loss reduced sleep apnoea – when you momentarily stop breathing during sleep – by 26%.
4) Stub out the cigs. Yes, here’s yet another reason not to smoke. Smokers are twice as likely to snore as non-smokers.
5) Sing your heart out. A trial at Exeter University suggested that singing could reduce snoring caused by lax muscles in the throat. Singing along to X Factor probably won’t help though – you have to sing the sounds “ung” and “gar” for maximum muscular benefit. Thinking about it, if you’re tone deaf, your partner might prefer to listen to your snoring.
6) Go on HRT. This will only work for the female of the species, obviously, but snoring in women often starts after the menopause. Hormone replacement therapy relieves the problem for some, though that probably shouldn’t be your only reason for taking it.
7) Invest in some nose strips. These adhesive strips are designed to open the nasal passages while you sleep. A Swedish study found that the strips were able to reduce snoring, mouth dryness and sleepiness the next day. They work best on a blocked nose.