Snoring is one of the biggest barriers to good sleep, and it gets worse as we get older. But does it only affect men? And can anything be done about it? Christine Morgan seeks the truth
Snoring. It’s no joke, especially if you live with someone who snorts and rattles all night, leaving you with chronic sleep deprivation. It’s also no surprise that snoring can put a strain on relationships, with some sources citing it as the third most common cause of divorce after financial problems and adultery (people who snore are also thought to have less sex than non-snorers).
If you have a snorer in your family, perhaps it’s time to invest in a good night’s sleep.
Snorewizard’s Goodnight Pillow has been designed to give a better nights sleep by helping to reduce neck pain and reduce snoring. It has been developed in conjunction with physiotherapists and is UK designed and made.
Click here and get the Snorewizard Pillow for £40.99 (normally £55.99). Use the code High50 to claim your discount.
This anti snore pillow is made of a temperature sensitive memory foam called Visco and is finished in a special fabric called Cool Max. The Visco memory foam reacts to body temperature by using body heat to soften and mould the memory foam to the contours of your head and neck. It evenly distributes the weight of your head and neck which in turn reduces pressure points of the spine resulting in a relaxed and less disturbed sleep.
The Snorewizard Mouthpiece is a simple and effective mandibular advancement device which has been designed and made in the UK. Snoring is caused by vibrations of the soft tissue at the back of the throat and neck and, once in the mouth, the Snorewizard moves the lower jaw slightly forward which opens up the airway at the back of the throat, reducing and in most cases stopping the vibration.
1. Only men snore
FALSE According to the British Snoring and Sleep Apnoea Association, out of the 15 million or so snorers in the UK around 10.4 million are men and 4.5 million are women, making the ratio of male to female snorers 2.3 to one. The reason why men are twice as likely to snore than women may have something to do with their lifestyles or even their anatomy. Men may also be louder snorers than women, claims the BSSAA.
2. Alcohol makes you snore
TRUE Bad news for nightcap lovers. Drinking can lead to snoring because alcohol makes the muscles around the upper throat relax more than usual. The airways in your neck and head normally relax and narrow while you’re sleeping. But if they relax too much your airways can become too narrow, making the soft tissue vibrate. That’s why people who usually sleep in silence can end up snoring like an asthmatic warthog after a big drinking session.
3. Only overweight people snore
FALSE Being overweight or obese may be an accepted risk factor for snoring, but skinny people snore too. The NHS claims that people with a neck circumference of more than 43cm (17in) usually snore a lot, since the extra weight around the neck can make the inside of the throat narrower. Shedding pounds won’t guarantee you’ll stop, but it’s a good idea if you started snoring after gaining weight.
4. Snoring gets worse with age
TRUE Anyone of any age can snore, even newborn babies. But it does seem to affect more people as they get older. According to the NHS, snoring is more common in people between the ages of 40 to 60, with middle-aged men the biggest snorers.BSSAA figures suggest 58 per cent of snorers are between 50 and 59 years old. Women tend to snore more during and after the menopause, the NHS suggests.
5. Smoking makes snoring worse
TRUE A Swedish survey suggests smoking is a major contributor to snoring, even if you’re an ex-smoker. It also found passive smoking could be linked to snoring, as 20 per cent of non-smokers who were exposed to second-hand smoke snored, compared with 13 per cent of fully smoke-free non-smokers. Why? Because cigarette smoke irritates the lining of the nasal cavity and throat, leading to swelling and catarrh making your airways narrower.
6. Snoring may be a nuisance, but it’s harmless
FALSE Far from it. According to the US National Sleep Foundation, snoring causes daytime dysfunction and an increased risk of cardiovascular problems. One US study by experts at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit goes as far as suggesting that snoring is a more significant risk factor for heart attack and stroke than smoking and obesity.
7. Snoring causes sleep apnoea
FALSE Sleep apnoea isn’t a symptom of snoring – it’s the other way around. Sleep apnoea is a respiratory condition that interrupts your breathing while you’re sleeping, and affects around four per cent of middle-aged men and two per cent of middle-aged women. If untreated, it increases your risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and type two diabetes.
8. You only snore when you sleep on your back
FALSE Another common misconception, fuelled by old wives’ tales about sewing tennis balls into the back of pyjama tops. True, the base of your tongue may be less likely to collapse into the back of your throat and block your airways if you sleep on your side or front. But a study published in an Israeli Medical Association journal suggests that only 54 per cent of snorers are positional snorers.
9. If you’re snoring, you’re sleeping deeply
TRUE/FALSE This idea may stem from the fact that many snorers – even loud ones – fail to be woken up by the noise of their own snoring. But while it’s true that people often snore the most when they’re in the deepest stage of sleep, it doesn’t mean they’re getting good-quality sleep. On the contrary, snoring can lead to an overall deterioration in sleep, making you feel exhausted and unable to concentrate the next day.
10. There’s nothing you can do about it
FALSE Instead of offering surgery for snoring (it has limited success), the NHS recommends treatments such as nasal strips, sprays and dilators, chin strips and gum shield devices called vestibular shields and mandibular advancement devices. There’s currently a lack of research into the effectiveness of these treatments, but they’re all worth a try.