Just in case you didn't know, it’s National Stop Snoring Week! The favourite week of tired spouses across the UK, National Stop Snoring Week was launched to raise awareness of the various types of snoring, how they can affect our health and wellbeing, and how they can be treated.
If you constantly wake up others (or yourself!) with your snoring, here are some top tips on finding out which type of snorer you are and what you can do about it.
The easiest way to find out which type of snorer you are is to ask for help from that angry, awake person sitting up in bed next to you! Get your partner to film you sleeping or to make notes about how you snore; tell them to write down anything noteworthy such as whether you snore with your mouth open or whether there are any particular positions that make you snore more than others.
If you prefer to sleep alone, you can always set up a camera yourself or simply make note of how you feel when you wake up; if your mouth is dry you likely sleep with it open, while symptoms such as nasal pressure or waking yourself up from lack of breath can provide clues as well. There are also some easy tests you can do at home to give you more of an idea of which type of snorer you are.
The Test: If you’re able to make a snoring sound with your mouth open but not when it’s closed, it’s likely that you’re a mouth snorer.
The Cause: There are a number of causes of mouth snoring, ranging from the way you position your head and neck while sleeping to the way your jaw rests. Overly relaxed jaw, tongue and mouth muscles can all cause breathing obstructions and snoring.
The Treatment: Mouth snorers benefit most from products that help them maintain correct head, neck and jaw alignment while sleeping. Mouth pieces and chin straps can both be helpful, while an anti-snore or memory foam pillow can be useful if the snoring is caused by poor head or neck position in bed.
The Test: Try breathing in and out through one nostril at a time. If you find breathing harder through one or both nostrils, you might be a nasal snorer.
The Cause: Lots of different nasal conditions can cause snoring, with blocked sinuses, deviated septums and allergies being some of the main culprits.
The Treatment: People who snore due to blockages or obstructions in the nasal passage can really benefit from nose strips, which keep your airways open while you sleep. Lots of nasal conditions can also be easily fixed with medication or surgery so it’s worth visiting your doctor if breathing strips don’t help.
The Test: If you often wake yourself up snoring, gasping or choking, or your partner reports frequent lapses in breathing while you sleep, you could be suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
The Cause: OSA is caused by a drastic blockage of the airways, which can itself be the result of allergies, being overweight, tonsil or other throat conditions, thyroid problems, or pronounced overbites.
The Treatment: If you recognise any of these symptoms, a doctor’s visit is in order as sleep apnea can be a very serious condition. You may need to undergo a sleep study or use special breathing apparatus at night. Surgery can also sometimes be helpful if the OSA is caused by natural physical traits.
If your snoring isn’t that severe or you just want to try something while you wait for that doctor’s appointment, here are a few top tips that might help in the meantime.
Will you be taking part in Stop Snoring Week? Let us know how you get on via Facebook.