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Snoring is often seen as amusing, but in reality it is an extremely disruptive condition that can affect sleep quality and could even be a symptom of a serious medical disorder. When sleeping with a partner you might find that snoring impacts not only on your sleep quality but theirs too, creating an environment of sleep deprivation, low energy and irritability. With all this in mind, it’s fair to say that snoring is anything but a laughing matter.
One of the first things to consider when attempting to stop snoring is your sleeping position. As snoring signifies a blockage of the airway, lying on your back can exacerbate the problem by causing neck tissue to settle in a certain way. By lying on your side you’re helping to prevent this. For a lot of people, this will be the solution to snoring - however, others will require a more intensive approach to conquer the problem.
Being overweight, particularly with excess neck tissue, can be a root cause of snoring. By adopting a healthier lifestyle and diet you can start losing weight, and you might find that as you get into better shape your snoring lessens. A generally healthier lifestyle will also help contribute to positive sleep hygiene by boosting daytime energy levels, so it really is a win-win situation.
Drinking excess alcohol or taking particularly strong sedatives are other common causes of snoring, as they impede the active process of breathing. In the case of alcohol, the effects on the body are numerous and highly damaging to sleep quality.
Clearing your airway prior to bedtime can lessen the severity of snoring, and this can be done in a number of ways. Putting a dab or two of menthol eucalyptus oil on the pillow or using a steam bowl are two of the easiest techniques, both of which will open up your nasal passage and allow air to pass in and out freely. In some cases a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) unit may be recommended by a medical professional, but this is more regularly used to treat the sleep disorder ‘Obstructive Sleep Apnoea’, which is characterised by pauses in breathing. Snoring can actually be a warning sign of OSA.
In the extreme cases, when snoring is seriously harming your sleep quality and overall wellbeing, and you’ve tried a number of ways to tackle it without success, surgery may be advised. Of course, this route should only ever be considered after consultation with a doctor.
If you snore, it’s important to acknowledge that it is a potentially severe problem that should be dealt with. Remember that a problem that impacts on your sleep quality can quickly harm your overall health. Whether you treat snoring by simply sleeping on your side, through surgery, or any way in between, by conquering the problem you’ll begin to get the full rejuvenating benefits of a good night’s sleep, and feel healthier and happier as a result.