It’s not just the relationship that suffers: whoever snores can even face serious health consequences. These are the best anti-snoring strategies.
No matter how big the love is: If you regularly wake your partner out of sleep with your snoring, you shouldn’t be surprised if she reacts annoyed, and arguments also occur more quickly during the day. You mean you can’t snore, can you? Not quite true. Because there is a lot, you can do about it. You can find out what here.
Why Do People Snore Anyway?
“Vibrations cause snoring in the area of the base of the tongue and the soft palate, as the muscles of the nasopharynx relax during sleep,” says sleep specialist Dr Holger Hein from Reinbeck. While female sex hormones ensure that the mucous membranes in the palate and throat area are more elastic in women, this region is usually more hardened in men, which intensifies the snoring noises – as does a tongue falling backwards.
What Are The Causes Of Snoring?
Snoring can have many causes. Obstructed nasal breathing is often the trigger, caused, for example, by a runny nose. Lying on your back, more than 20 percent overweight, and high alcohol consumption in the evening increase the effect, says Hein.
A Scandinavian study provides a previously unknown reason for nightly sawing: According to this, the risk of snoring regularly increases by more than a quarter if you had contact with dogs as a baby. Diseases such as pneumonia and otitis media also increase the risk significantly, according to doctors at Umeå and Uppsala Universities.
In addition, the study results contradict earlier findings, according to which smoking mothers would also increase the risk factor. Only new mothers increase the likelihood that a man will snore later. For the study, the doctors asked 22,000 adults in Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Estonia about respiratory problems and environmental factors during childhood. Almost a fifth of them said they snore regularly and loudly. Good to know: Between 30 and 60 percent of all men snore, with the proportion of snorers increasing with age. Only after the age of 70 does the tendency to snore decrease again.
How Do I Find Out If I Have Sleep Apnea?
Are you one of those people who cut down entire forests at night? Then it is essential to find out whether you “only” snore or have breathing breaks at night. Because snoring can be a symptom of so-called sleep apnea, which leads to increased tiredness during the day and poor concentration due to the nocturnal breathing pauses. This creates an increased risk of accidents, for example, behind the steering wheel. Have a doctor clarify the suspicion of sleep apnea: He can find out in the sleep laboratory or using an outpatient measuring device whether sleep apnea is behind your snoring. This is the case for about four percent of all middle-aged men.
What To Do If Your Partner Suffers From Your Snoring
There are several anti-snoring products available. Not every method works equally well for everyone. Some worry nose plasters for nightly rest; others come with a nose clip, nose clips, a nose clip or a chin bandage along better. With an upper splint that can only be worn at night, you can pull the lower jaw and tongue forward and thus reduce the nocturnal sawing. Surgery on the soft palate can also get rid of the annoying snoring noises. Before an operation, however, it should be ensured that there are no pauses in breathing, and thus, sleep apnea is present.
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Before you go under the knife, you should also try the following gentle measures against snoring:
- Reducing Weight: Losing weight lowers the volume. Most snorers carry a few extra pounds through life, and fat accumulates in the soft palate and tongue—those who lose weight snore less often or at least more quietly.
- Change The Sleeping Position: Back sleepers snore the most often and the loudest. A pillow that is too big also increases the noise level at night.
- Check Medication: Sleeping pills make it easier to fall asleep, but they keep your partner awake. The drugs relax the tissues in the head and neck, making snoring worse. Antihistamines (anti-allergic agents) can also have these side effects.
- No Nightcap: Alcohol hinders the coordination of the respiratory muscles in the brain and lets the tongue muscle relax. So don’t drink two to three hours before going to bed!
- Create A Good Climate: sleep with the window open and use a humidifier. This will keep out dust and allergens that can make your nose swell. Bello and Miezi have no business in the bedroom of those who snore; their hair could irritate the airways.
- Separate beds: If a partner’s snoring seriously jeopardizes your relationship, consider separate beds or, if possible, separate bedrooms.
You can find more tips online, such as the Society for Sleep Research and Sleep Medicine. Their website offers very detailedly helpful advice, dates and addresses of sleep laboratories: The online presence of the German Academy for Health and Sleep is also recommended. There is understandable patient information, events. You can find individual advice from sleep advisor Christine Lenz.
How Can You Prevent Snoring?
Pacemakers for the heart or the brain are known. Those who snore should be interested in the fact that there is also one for the tongue. Researchers at the Berlin Charité have implanted a pacemaker for the first time that stimulates the tongue muscle and thus puts a stop to snoring, as the trigger of the annoying snoring noises is effectively combated.
The so-called neurostimulator, slightly smaller than a matchbox, is implanted below the collarbone like a pacemaker. He monitors the movements of the diaphragm and the breathing rate. If the diaphragm contracts when you inhale, the pacemaker sends a weak electrical impulse to a nerve below the tongue. As a result, the tongue does not go slack, the windpipe is not blocked, and you can continue to sleep calmly and, above all, noiselessly.
But it can also be done without surgery. These exercises to strengthen the palate muscles, which you should regularly do shortly before going to sleep, help against snoring:
- Hold a toothbrush between your teeth for ten minutes.
- With your mouth closed, press your tongue against the teeth of your lower jaw with all your might for a few minutes.
- Push your lower jaw back very firmly for about a minute, trying to withstand the pressure with your jaw muscles. It would help if you repeated this exercise several times.
Extra tip: Learn to play the didgeridoo! According to a Swiss study, those who regularly blow into the traditional Australian instrument snore less. In addition, there are less frequent nocturnal pauses in breathing, the so-called obstructive sleep apnea. This is apparently due to the training of the muscles necessary for mastering the instrument: Playing the didgeridoo presumably strengthens the powers of the upper respiratory tract, according to the researchers at the Zürcher Höhenklinik Wald.
For the study, volunteers suffering from sleep apnea had to attend didgeridoo lessons every day. Another group with the same problems did not participate in the music class. The result: the didgeridoo players snored less often and had fewer nocturnal pauses in breathing, the scientists report.
What Are The Health Risks Of Snoring?
- Snoring increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke: According to a study by Hungarian and Canadian scientists, people who snore are more likely to suffer from these severe illnesses than people who sleep quietly. People who snore are 34 percent more likely to have a heart attack and 67 percent more likely to have a stroke than the rest of the population.
- According to the researchers from the Universities of Budapest and Toronto, the volume of snoring is significant: the quieter the noise level, the lower the risk of a stroke or heart disease. For their study, the researchers examined over 12,000 patients. Their findings confirm the results of previous studies. Many scientists have long assumed that snoring is a heavy burden on the cardiovascular system.
- Snoring can trigger erectile dysfunction: Heavy snoring can lead to an insufficient supply of oxygen, which leads to erectile dysfunction in some men, researchers from Regensburg and Munich found out. According to their study, published in the Journal of Sexual Health, 69 percent of men who suffer from sleep apnea also experienced erectile dysfunction. The risk of getting erectile dysfunction increases with age and with existing diseases such as heart problems or high blood pressure. And yet, “nocturnal oxygen deficiency due to sleep apnea represents an additional risk factor of its own, which can also cause erectile dysfunction when taken alone,” explains research director Stephan Budweiser in the study.
Heavy snoring has led to many a relationship argument. Get a doctor to determine the cause of your snoring and take the recommended countermeasures. So you and your partner will soon be able to sleep through the night again. Then there is only noise in the bedroom for other reasons.