Sleep Myth Debunked: Snoring Isn’t Harmful, and I Can’t Do Anything About It Anyway

Everybody snores at some point, and snoring is estimated to affect around a fifth of the population. It is caused by the soft tissues at the back of the mouth and in the throat vibrating as air passes over them. Men tend to snore more frequently than women, and usually, snoring isn’t physically harmful to the person who is snoring, but it can be extremely annoying to anyone kept awake by the sound. Also, sometimes snoring indicates a sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnoea, which can negatively impact general health.

If someone has sleep apnoea, their airway becomes partially obstructed during sleep as the throat muscles relax, allowing the airway to collapse inwards. After a few seconds, the body registers the drop in oxygen levels and sends a signal to restart breathing, usually with a loud snort or gasp. People with obstructive sleep apnoea can partially awaken hundreds of times each night. Lack of sleep can significantly affect their general health and lead to excessive daytime sleepiness, increasing the risk of accidents. In this case, snoring harms the sufferer and those closest to them who must listen to the frequent pauses in breathing and loud gasps and snorts. Even if you don’t have sleep apnoea but snore regularly, you can still do plenty of things to stop snoring.

Who Is the Typical Snorer?

It’s quite common to snore if you have a cold, allergies, sinusitis, or a stuffy nose caused by another reason. Snoring tends to be more common in people who sleep on their back, but people who snore regularly often have certain characteristics. They are most often male and aged between 30 and 65. Their snoring may worsen if they drink alcohol or have a cold. The typical snorer is more likely to be overweight and has high blood pressure or hypertension.

Easy Remedies to Stop Snoring

There are some simple ways to stop snoring, and the easiest is to lose any excess weight, and if you drink alcohol, cut back on your consumption. This can often be enough to make any snoring episodes less severe and might be enough to cure it completely. Other suggestions include sleeping on your side, avoiding sleeping on your back, and trying not to take sleeping tablets. If you want an alcoholic drink, try not to have it too close to bedtime. When you go to bed, ensure the air in your bedroom has the right humidity level, so it isn’t too humid or too dry. Treat any nasal congestion problems with a decongestant or see your GP for help and advice.

What If This Doesn’t Cure Snoring?

Please make an appointment to come and see us or your GP. You may need a referral to a sleep clinic where your sleep is monitored overnight, a useful exercise that can determine if you have sleep apnoea and, if so, its severity.

Mild to moderate sleep apnoea is often very treatable with a dental appliance called a night splint. It fits over your teeth and is custom-designed to hold your lower jaw slightly forwards. This helps to keep your airway open and prevent your tongue from falling backwards as your muscles relax during sleep.