Seeking a good night’s sleep in the spare room? It’s time to put snoring to bed once and for all.

A staggering 75 per cent of couples are being driven to sleeping apart as a result of snoring, according to the British Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Association.

This National Stop Snoring Week (20-25 April), Nuffield Health Bournemouth is working to close the distance between partners by encouraging snorers to seek out the cause of their problem.

Defined as a coarse noise made by vibrations of the soft tissue at the back of the mouth, nose or throat, snoring is caused by a partial blockage of the airway located anywhere from the tip of the nose to the vocal chords.

Dr Alison Gardiner, from Nuffield Health Bournemouth Hospital’s private GP Service explains: “Snoring may happen when you are asleep as your muscles relax and partial obstruction can occur”.

The main causes of snoring include:

The main causes of snoring include:
• Obesity
• Larger neck circumference (fatty deposits around the neck)
• Lifestyle factors, for example, smoking or alcohol consumption
• Head and facial shape
• Sedatives and some types of antidepressants
• Nasal congestion
• Multifactorial snoring – a result of a combination of the above

But what can be done to stop the snoring? Dr Gardiner says: “While there isn’t a complete cure, snoring can sometimes be controlled successfully and treatment can help to improve it in certain instances.

“The main objective in the prevention of snoring is to keep your nasal passages clear and breathe through your nose rather than your mouth.”

Begin by making small changes to your lifestyle. Losing weight and maintaining a healthy diet can reduce the fatty tissue around the neck and help the air to flow freely in and out of the airway.

Dr Gardiner suggests: “Change your position from sleeping on your back to your side to prevent your tongue, chin and any excess fatty tissue under your chin relaxing and collapsing your airway. If you are affected by allergies antihistamine tablets or a nasal spray may help to clear your airways. Smokers should consider quitting as cigarette smoke is an irritant to the lining of the nose and throat, causing congestion which again restricts the airflow.”

Avoiding alcohol before bedtime can also help prevent snoring. Alcohol causes the muscle tone to relax while asleep even more than usual, partially closing the airway. Certain types of antidepressants have a similar effect to alcohol on muscle tone, which a visit to the GP could help resolve. There are many anti-snoring devices available, such as mouth guards or nasal strips, all work with varying success to combat snoring.

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