How to remedy a bad night's sleep and stop snoring for good

Posted on March 10, 2015

Man snoringJust about everyone snores occasionally, but if snoring occurs frequently it can affect the quantity and quality of your sleep, and of those around you.

Dr Michael Oko from the Department of Health Advisory Group on Obstructive Sleep Apnoea London reveals the most common causes of snoring and what can be done to prevent it.

Why do we snore?
Snoring occurs for a variety of reasons, such as a congested nose, nasal polyps (abnormal growth tissue), bent nasal cartilage, large tonsils, excess weight, or lack of exercise. It can also be the result of over relaxed muscles due to alcohol or sedatives.
How to stop snoring

  • Changing certain aspects of your lifestyle can help reduce snoring:
  • Avoid alcohol or smoking
  • Lose weight
  • Sleep on your side; avoid sleeping on your back as much as possible
  • Elevate your head slightly on pillows
  • Remove anything that you might be allergic to from your bedroom and treat allergies effectively

In mild cases, a specialist dentist can fit a mouth guard to help reduce snoring. Alternatively, anti allergy nasal sprays are available over the counter or on prescription to help clear a blocked nose.

Is surgery an option?
Surgery to treat snoring can involve having tonsils or adenoids removed, stiffening certain parts of your soft tissues or having small areas of your palate removed. The end result is a clearer airway, allowing you to breathe more easily.

Snoring can be cured and there is a treatment available for all kinds of cases, speak to your GP to find the right solution for you.
Is sleep apnoea different to snoring?
If changing your lifestyle or diet doesn't reduce your snoring, you may be suffering from sleep apnoea. Sleep apnoea is when your body stops breathing, resulting in a disrupted breathing pattern during sleep. The upper airway narrows and may close completely when you relax, and this interrupts your sleep cycle so you are tired the next day. Symptoms can include:

  • Very loud snoring
  • Breath holding at night (apnoea)
  • Daytime fatigue
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Multiple trips to urinate through the night
  • Early morning headaches
  • Loss of interest in sex

It's important to speak to your GP if you are experiencing any of these symptoms as they can be signposts to type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease.

The STOP BANG questionnaire
The STOP BANG questionnaire scores one point for each symptom of sleep apnoea, if you score over three points speak to your GP.

 Regular and disruptive
 Un refreshed sleep
 Breath holding
 Neck size
 >16 inches

If you would like to find out more about snoring or obstructive sleep apnoea, visit the online Snore Centre