Our latest sleep survey focused on the issue of snoring, and to investigate if the problem was more common in specific parts of the UK. Surprisingly, our results were very diverse, with some regions having a significantly higher snoring rate than others. Scotland topped our poll, with 61% of their respondents admitting that either they or their partner snored. We quizzed 2,438 UK residents in co-habiting relationships about their sleeping habits, and one startling finding was that 17% of those affected by snoring have even considered surgery to fix the problem.
The graphic below shows the percentage of snorers in each region of the UK:
Additionally, 42% of respondents claimed that their partner’s snoring wakes them up through the night, which would suggest that snoring is having a negative impact on relationships throughout the UK.
Snoring is commonly seen as amusing, but in reality it’s anything but funny. Living with a partner who regularly snores of course jeopardises your own sleep quality, and experiencing disrupted sleep over a sustained period of time isn’t ideal for your health and wellbeing. For the snorer themselves it could well be a symptom of more serious problems, so simply ‘accepting’ the condition could be a dangerous decision. It's important that anyone who suffers from snoring takes it very seriously, for their own good as well as their partner’s.
And whilst there are many products available on the market that have been clinically proven to help reduce snoring, we believe that natural remedies are a better long-term solution – surgery should only ever be considered as a last resort. Prevention is better than cure, and trying to naturally find the cause of your snoring can also help identify any other health improvements that need to be made as snoring is so often linked to other health issues.
What causes snoring?
In brief, snoring is the result of being unable to breathe properly – now that definitely isn’t something to be taken lightly. Snoring is the sound produced when air is unable to move freely during inhalation, causing vibrations in the soft palate or other tissues in the mouth, nose or throat. Evidence also suggests that snoring gets worse over time when left untreated, so it’s best to cut it out at a young age.
Your snoring may be more than just snoring – it could be obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), which is a very serious condition. OSA is quite similar to snoring as it involves the narrowing of the airways, however, OSA is more serious as it means a complete blockage of the airways, temporarily preventing breathing and oxygen flow to the brain. What often happens is the brain senses this fall in oxygen levels, so quickly pulls you out of sleep, or out of deep sleep so that the airways can return to normal, or you can breathe manually.
Upon viewing our survey's findings, Mr Michael Oko FRCS(ORL-HNS) Consultant ENT Surgeon with a Special Interest in Obstructive Sleep Apnoea at 150 Harley Street, London, commented; "Sleep takes up between a quarter and a third of our lives and serves to refresh and restore our bodies, yet snoring is damaging for so many. Severe snoring is not only socially disruptive to partners, often leading to couples being forced to sleep in separate rooms at night, it can also signal more severe sleep disorders such as Obstructive Sleep Apnoea with which patients stop breathing periodically at night, waking up grumpy and tired with early morning headaches. If you or your partner snore so badly that you cannot even share the same room, you need to see your doctor and get it checked out."
Obstructive sleep apnoea can often go undiagnosed, and if you feel that you could have this condition, then book an appointment with your local GP immediately, and in the meantime, check out this useful information from the NHS website.
Natural snoring remedies
Sleep on your side
There is a lot of truth behind the myth that back-sleepers are more likely to snore. Sleeping on your back puts pressure on the airways, and results in the tongue relaxing to the back of the throat, partially blocking the airway. Try to get in the habit of sleeping on your side or in the foetal position, preferably on your right side – this puts less pressure on your heart.
Give up smoking and alcohol
This is a good piece of advice for anyone, not just snorers, but these two drugs are heavily linked to the likelihood of snoring and sleep apnoea to occur. This is a big ask, and it will be tough at the start but once your body gets used to the absence of these drugs, you’ll wonder why you ever needed them in the first place, especially nicotine. In the past we’ve gone into detail about how alcohol reduces the quality of your night’s sleep overall, but it’s also specific to snoring – alcohol further relaxes the muscles in the throat, which increases breathing resistance. Smoking does a similar thing by irritating the nasal lining and throat, which can cause swelling.
Lose some weight
Similar to the last point, this is easier said than done, but there is a strong link between snoring and obesity – there’s even an overall link between obesity and sleep deprivation, so keeping in shape can go a long way to improving your night’s sleep and overall health, not just the issue of snoring. Fatty deposit puts extra pressure on the airways and lungs, narrowing the available airways needed to breathe normally.
‘Drink more water’ seems to be the solution to any health problem, but that’s because it is the fundamental key ingredient to a well-functioning body and can go a long way to prevent your snoring. Snoring often occurs when the airways or mouth are too dry, and this is due mainly to inadequate water consumption through the day. Obviously, you don’t want to be drinking gallons just before you go to bed (this will disrupt your sleep), but just make sure you’re consistently well-hydrated throughout the day, which will help keep your airways lubricated. Eight glasses is the recommended daily intake, and a good sign you’re adequately hydrated is when your urine is clear, and not yellow tinted.
Maybe it’s your mattress
Many people take for granted just how influential the quality of your mattress is on many aspects of your health and general well-being, and it could be the case that your old, low-quality & generally unsuitable mattress is the underlying cause of your or your partner’s snoring. If you’re sleeping on a pocket-sprung or open-coil mattress then your body isn’t being given the support it needs – this makes finding a comfortable position hard, leading to tossing and turning, and increases the likelihood of snoring. This is also why so many people sleep on their back – it is often the most comfortable position on poorly-supporting mattresses, whereas a more premium alternative like an Ergoflex memory foam mattress offers unparalleled comfort no matter which position you sleep in due to its visco-elastic pressure-relieving foam. If you feel like your mattress could be better, then it’s definitely time you upgraded to something more premium – not only will our memory foam mattress help solve the problem of snoring, but it can also improve many other aspects of your life.
Maybe it’s your pillow
According to our study, the majority of people aren’t replacing their old pillows nearly enough which can lead to an infestation of dust mites. The allergens produced by these dust mites are one of the principal triggers of asthma-like symptoms, with the main symptom being breathing difficulties. We’d recommend replacing your pillows every two years maximum to ensure bed bacteria and dust mites aren’t causing your snoring.
If you’re a snorer, it’s important that you don’t just see it as being a harmless annoyance – it could be a symptom of an underlying health problem, and finding a solution can be the catalyst to achieving a healthier lifestyle, as well as a better night’s sleep for you and those around you. As you can tell, all of the natural snoring remedies listed here not only reduce snoring, but are will also be massively beneficial to your overall health and wellbeing, and are worth pursuing even if you’re not prone to snoring.
Don’t ignore the snore.