Are you or your partner guilty of snoring? Some people want to know how to stop snoring and avoid health complications, which include high blood pressure, stroke and depression. Others just want to have better sleep at night and keep their relationship intact.
Since snoring cannot be self-diagnosed, patients usually find out they suffer from the condition from their very annoyed sleeping partner.
Based on multiple studies conducted on the female partners of snorers, researchers have concluded that this sleep disorder puts strain on otherwise healthy relationships. One study has exhibited evidence that the partners of snorers would eventually develop their own sleeping problems; another has shown that the partners of snorers perceived their marriages as more stressful.
It is for these reasons that partners of snorers should be actively involved in the treatment process. Read along as we look deeper into the causes and how to stop snoring.
What is Snoring?
Snoring is defined as a raspy noise produced in the nose and throat during sleep.
Muscles relax during sleep, causing the tissues in the throat to loosen and the upper airway to narrow. As a result, when we breathe in our sleep, the air will hit the soft palate (the back part of the roof of the mouth), making it flutter and generate the noise known as snoring.
Risk Factors of Snoring
Several factors cause certain individuals to be more prone to snoring, such as:
Obese patients have larger tonsils, tongues, soft palates, etc., which can easily block the respiratory tract.
Craniofacial bony restriction
A study on Caucasian and Chinese patients shows that for Asians, their facial structure might play a bigger part than their weight in their tendency to snore.
The structure of men’s upper airway anatomy, fat distribution and hormones cause them to snore more than women. Additionally, their breathing during awakenings within their sleep pattern is also believed to contribute to men’s snoring.
Alcohol or other sedatives
Alcohol and sleeping pills loosen the mouth and throat muscles.
A study found that both active and passive smokers suffer more from snoring than those not exposed to tobacco.
Doing this frequently can make the soft palate sag backwards and covers the respiratory tract.
Snoring worsens with age because older people tend to have weaker muscle tone. In menopausal women, the prevalence of snoring is thought to be an outcome of reduced female sex hormones.
Pregnant women experience changes in the body that cause them to snore. Those changes include weight gain, elevated diaphragm and altered upper airway dimensions, among others.
Chronic nasal congestion
Characterised by a stuffy nose that lasts a long time, chronic nasal congestion can increase the possibility of snoring by three times.
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)
Not all snorers have OSA, but snoring may be a symptom of OSA. Defined as a condition where breathing stops and starts during sleep, OSA can be life-threatening. It may lead to hypoxia or a condition where your body is deprived of oxygen. This can also trigger the release of stress hormones, which in turn can induce high blood pressure-related diseases.
How to Stop Snoring
These methods are believed to be effective in stopping snoring:
- Manage a healthy weight to avoid obesity.
- Do mouth exercises to stretch and vitalise your muscles.
- Sleep sideways to prevent your respiratory tract from being pressured by your weight.
- Sleep with your head elevated.
- Avoid alcohol and sedatives before bed.
- Stop smoking.
- Treat your chronic nasal congestion.
- Use the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine that pumps air to the respiratory tract in your sleep (This is a common treatment for obstructive sleep apnea)
- Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) recommends acupuncture.
- Fix enlarged tonsils, nasal polyps and other conditions through surgery.
There are various methods on how to stop snoring, and you can help your bed partner choose the one that works best for them. If none of them help, they need to see a doctor before it worsens. Treating snoring won’t just save your relationship, it may also save your partner’s life.
This is an adaptation of an article, “Why People Snore when They Sleep”, which first appeared on the Eu Yan Sang website.
- National Center for Biotechnology Information. 2016. Two in a bed: The influence of couple sleeping and chronotypes on relationship and sleep. An overview [Accessed 23 March 2022]
- Merck Manuals. 2020. Snoring [Accessed 23 March 2022]
- Oxford Academic. 2010. Differences in Craniofacial Structures and Obesity in Caucasian and Chinese Patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnea [Accessed 23 March 2022]
- National Center for Biotechnology Information. 2008. Gender Differences in Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Treatment Implications [Accessed 23 March 2022]
- ATS Journals. 2004. The Influence of Active and Passive Smoking on Habitual Snoring [Accessed 23 March 2022]
- National Center for Biotechnology Information. 2017. The gender difference of snore distribution and increased tendency to snore in women with menopausal syndrome: a general population study [Accessed 23 March 2022]
- JAMA Network. 2001. Chronic Nasal Congestion at Night Is a Risk Factor for Snoring in a Population-Based Cohort Study [Accessed 23 March 2022]
Share this article on
Was This Article Useful to You?
Want more healthy tips?
Get All Things Health in your mailbox today!