How many hours of sleep do we need as we grow from babies to children to adults and old age? We explore the answers to this not so simple question.
What does snoring mean?
According to the NHS, “snoring is caused by things such as your tongue, mouth, throat or airways in your nose vibrating as you breathe.”
Snoring can be exacerbated if you smoke, drink alcohol, are overweight or sleep on your back. However, it’s worth remembering that snoring is common and usually isn’t caused by anything serious.
There are things you can do to try and stop snoring, which we’ll chat though below. We’ll also run-through the different types of snorers and one of the biggest misconceptions about snoring and its relationship with deep sleep.
This article is here to offer advice, not prescribe. If you have concerns about snoring, we advise visiting your GP or a qualified professional.
Does snoring mean deep sleep?
Despite common assumptions, snoring at night does not necessarily mean that the person is in deep sleep, according to sleep experts. In fact, it could mean the opposite. Snoring occurs because of a blocking to the air pathway. Not only is this not related to your sleep stages, but it could also be disruptive to your partner too.
Our resident sleep expert, Dr Nerina Ramlakhan, said: “Research by Silentnight and the University of Leeds revealed that 40 percent of us can’t sleep as a result of our partners snoring.”
This can no doubt lead to problems within a relationship and sleeping in separate bedrooms may become the norm. While this may seem unusual, it’s not something to worry about.
Dr Nerina continues, “The key is to communicate without blame and shame. If you are struggling to get a good night’s sleep and find that you can’t sleep together, don’t pressure yourselves to do so. It is important to remember that sleeping separately doesn’t mean there is something wrong with your relationship.”
How to stop snoring
Establish a bedtime routine. Creating a regular sleep pattern, ensuring you’re getting enough sleep and not becoming overtired can often minimise snoring.
Sleep on your back? If this is the case try changing position and sleep on your side. If this isn’t a comfortable sleeping position for you, try raising your pillows. This will help keep your airways open by supporting your neck.
Let in some air. If you sleep with your window open, try keeping the air in your bedroom as clean, clear and moist as possible. If you suffer with allergies, keep dust and pet hair to a minimum in the bedroom. Dry air can also irritate the nose and throat causing difficulty in breathing clearly. Using a nasal strip or decongestant will help you breathe more easily while sleeping.
Practice daily exercises. Start with your mouth open as wide as it can go and stick your tongue out as far forward as you can. Hold this position while stretching your tongue up, down, and side to side for two full revolutions. Hum a familiar song or ‘Happy Birthday’ in as deep a pitch as you can and continue right to the end (or for at least two minutes). With daily practice, you should start to notice an improvement in your snoring within two to three weeks.
Reduce your alcohol intake. Alcohol makes you more likely to snore loudly, as it relaxes the muscles in the body including the tissue in your throat, mouth and nose, stopping the air flowing smoothly; making it more likely to vibrate and therefore snore.
Invest in an anti-snore pillow. Silentnight’s anti-snore pillow features a cleverly designed foam core surrounded by soft and comfortable hollow fibre, which can help to reduce snoring by supporting the head and neck to encourage improved breathing. If you needed more peace of mind on our Anti-Snore Pillow, it’s also been tested by the British Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Association which found the pillow reduced snoring frequency and volume by approximately 50%.
What are the different types of snorer?
A mouth-based snorer only breathes through their mouth at night. You can test if you’re one by seeing if you can make a snoring noise with your mouth closed.
Invest in a mouth breathing device. Finding a way to keep your mouth closed could eliminate your snoring for once and all. Another suggestion is to invest in singing lessons – Yes, really! Evidence has shown that regular vocal exercises may help those who snore, as it helps tone the tongue, the soft palate, nasal passages and the palatopharyngeal arch. Worth a try!
A nose snorer’s nostrils tend to be collapsed or congested at night. This blocks the airway which causes snoring. A test to check if you’re a nose snorer is to press one side of your nose and try to breathe in with your mouth closed. If you can’t, or it’s difficult, you may be a nose snorer.
Anti-inflammatory sprays may ease the symptoms of nasal congestion. A trial by The British Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Association showed that 70 per cent of volunteers reported an improvement and their snoring was reduced by using Rhynil Anti-inflammatory herbal spray. Another suggestion is to change your pillows every six months as allergens on the fabric may be causing you to get bunged up in the first place. Check out our Anti-Allergy Pillows - they provide protection against dust mites and bacteria.
A throat snorer’s snoring is most commonly caused by the vibration of soft tissue in the throat. The only way to find out if you’re a throat snorer is by trying all the other tests. If none of them work, you may be a throat snorer.
There’s plenty of advice when it comes to stopping this kind of snoring. If you’re a smoker, stopping may help as smokers are twice as likely to snore in comparison to non-smokers. Reducing your alcohol intake may stop your snoring as alcohol relaxes the airways, which makes them collapse, causing snoring. You can also reduce throat snoring by cutting down on eating spicy food. Apparently, spicy food can cause acid reflux, which can lead to sinus problems.