Snoring occurs when the muscles of the airways relax too much during sleep and vibrate when the breathe passes in and out. This can lead to interrupted sleep which no doubt affects our health and the ability to function throughout the day.
The most appropriate treatment varies from person to person, however from clinical experience the best place to start is with things we can control.
Lets embark on some lifestyle solutions and take responsibility for our health today.
1.Alcohol/sleeping pills and sedatives
Alcohol leads to relaxed muscles in the throat which narrows your airways and leads to snoring. Avoiding alcohol is a simple place to start.
Sleeping pills and sedatives can have a similar affect to alcohol. Why not try some natural solutions like magnesium, chamomile tea or herbal tonics from your naturopath .
When you smoke the mucous in your throat becomes irritated. This makes the airways swell and narrow. So if you smoke the chances of snoring are high
Exercise can improve snoring by toning the muscles in your neck and throat.
4.Water-/coffee/tea/cola and caffeinated drinks/milk
Stay well hydrated as dehydration can make the secretions of your nose and palate stickier reducing airway size and creating more snoring.
Don’t drink milk as it leaves mucous in your mouth. This will narrow your airways drastically and make it a great deal more difficult to breathe.
Avoid foods that contain caffeine as this stimulates the adrenal glands and increases breathing thereby causing snoring or making the problem worse.
Go to bed before you are exhausted. Its more likely that you will snore if you are tired..as everything including your tongue will “flop”. Ideally go to bed around 9 pm and wake at 6 am.
Sleep on your side because when you sleep on your back gravity makes it more likely for your tongue to obstruct breathing and muscles of jaw relax when you are on your side.
6.Colds and allergies
Mucous and nasal drip can affect the size of air passages.
Many people find that a steam bowl just before sleep can help to clear the throat to avoid snoring particularly if its caused by cold or flu.
Steam bowls are easy to make by boiling water.
Boil water and put it into a bowl. Place your face just above the bowl with a towel over your heat and breathe in the steam. I like to add tea tree oil. The steam will help to soften and clear mucous and open up airways.
You can also keep air moist in your room by using a humidifier. This will help to keep your mucous membranes from drying out.
Changing your pillow is also important. Dust mites can cause allergic reactions and irritations just as animal dander left behind. So wash and dry your pillows regularly and keep animals out of the room. If you find your nose is affected at night this might be the problem.
Food sensitivities can also cause problems with nasal drip. I have found in the clinic that when patients remove foods that are potential allergens their nose clears up thus reducing snoring. Food sensitivity tests take 5 minutes and we can test for 96 foods.
7.Food-Weight-Eating Behaviours/Diabetes type 2
It is important that you start to listen to your body and eat only when you are hungry. Overeating leads to obesity. Extra weight requires extra effort to carry your body around and ofcourse more likely to snore at night and feel less energetic.
Weight loss will generally decrease the severity of snoring and weight gain has been seen to make the problem worse. Losing weight can reduce fatty tissue at the back of your throat and neck and decrease snoring. It may not cure it but it will reduce the load even to the point where other treatments may not be required.
Eat at least 3 hours before bed to reduce stress and pressure up high in the heart. If you are still digesting when you go to bed this can reduce the breathing volume and therefore you are more likely to snore. Sit and eat so that you digest your food properly.
In Modern Society unfortunately we have moved way from eating fresh whole natural plant and animal foods towards man made foods lacking in nutrition and filled with additives, preservatives and genetically modified.
This leads to nutrient deficiencies which effects our overall bodily functions creating stress in the body Stress effects our breathing thus can make snoring worse.
Avoid high sugary foods ..when sugar spikes breathing increases therefore increasing breathing and making snoring worse.
Foods that can help:
Honey and peppermint tea before bed- relaxes the throat and is antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. It helps reduce congestion and plemg. The vapours from the peppermint can halp to soothe irritated nasal passages and thin mucous and nasal drainage that can be causing obstructions.
Tumeric- 1stp of turmeric mixed in water and taken every day act s a natural anti-inflammatory and can reduce snoring
Onions/garlic- Also have anti-inflammatory properties. Use them in your cooking
Reduce red meat as the fats are believed to cause inflammation in the nasal passages.
There’s so much that we can do ourselves to help with snoring. It’s time to implement some lifestyle changes and embrace a healthier version of you.