Snoring is generally not physically harmful to the snorer, except in cases where a significant other becomes so irritated by the noise that they decide to take it out on their sleeping, snoring loved one.
It is estimated that 20 per cent of the population snores. Men are more likely to snore than women. Although snoring is not itself harmful, it can be a symptom of sleep disordered breathing or obstructive sleep apnoea, which can cause damage to the body.
Some people snore so loudly that they wake themselves up multiple times during the night, causing sleep deprivation and fatigue.
You are more likely to snore if you:
- are male
- are aged between 30 and 65 years
- are overweight
- have high blood pressure
- have been drinking alcohol
- have a cold
Obstructive sleep apnoea
In some cases snoring can be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnoea. This occurs when the walls of the throat come together during sleep, blocking the airways and stopping the ability to breathe. The sleeper will then make a huge effort to breathe again, which restarts breathing. A person with obstructive sleep apnoea can wake up hundreds of times each night – every time they stop breathing. It is possible to get treatment for obstructive sleep apnoea.
How to ‘fix’ snoring
There are a number of simple remedies for snoring. These include:
- losing weight
- cutting back on alcohol
- avoiding sleeping tablets
- sleeping on your side, rather than your back
- treating nasal congestion
More extreme cures
There is no evidence that anti snoring pillows, chin straps or ‘drops’ under the tongue help with snoring. You can, however, get a mandibular advancement splint (MAS), a device similar to a mouthguard, which can reduce snoring. Some people also find that nose strips, which adhere to the outside of the nose and open the airways, can be helpful.
If you are considering surgery, it is important to remember that it is not a permanent cure. Surgery is sometimes considered in extreme cases of snoring, however, there is a chance that surgery may only work for a short time, or not at all. Both laser uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (laser treatment) and somnoplasty are now discouraged by experts, as they are generally not very successful.
Where to get help
The first place to start is with your doctor. He or she may be able to help you, or you may get a referral to a sleep disorder clinic.
Have you had any luck with a snoring cure?