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Snoring: What causes it and how to get a quiet night's sleep

The Independent logo The Independent 10/01/2019 Sarah Young
a man lying on a bed © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited

Snoring is a common problem that many of us experience, but it’s not usually something to worry about.

However, if you regularly snore at night, it can disrupt the quality of our sleep leading to extreme fatigue, irritability and increased health problems.

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Woman sleeping  © Getty Woman sleeping  And, if your snoring keeps your partner awake, it can also put a huge strain on your relationship.

In 2017, a Bupa survey looking into the sleeping habits of 2,000 UK adults found that a third of people who struggled to sleep said their partner was to blame.

What’s more, nearly 73 per cent of them said this down to their partner snoring.

Luckily, sleeping in separate rooms isn’t the only solution. Here, we take a look at everything you need to know about snoring from what causes it to potential treatment options.

What is snoring?

Woman sleeping  © Getty Woman sleeping  The explanation of snoring is rather simple: whenever air can’t flow through your airways when you sleep, it happens.

As air struggles to pass through your airways, it rattles against the tissues in your nose and throat, resulting in a snoring sound.

What causes it?

Snoring occurs whenever your airways are obstructed but this can happen for a number of reasons.

According to the NHS, you’re more likely to snore if you are overweight, smoke, drink too much alcohol or sleep on your back.

It can also be caused by a condition called sleep apnoea, which is where the walls of the throat relax and narrow during sleep, interrupting normal breathing.

How can you stop?

Depending on what causes your snoring, there are a number of different strategies you can use to stop or at least lower the volume.

In many cases, snoring is linked to lifestyle and there are simple changes you can make to help including maintaining a healthy weight, sleeping on your side, avoiding alcohol before bed, quitting smoking and keeping your nose clear.

If self-help doesn’t work and your snoring continues to impact on your or your partners life it might be worth booking an appointment with your GP to discuss the best treatment option for you.

The type of treatment will depend on the cause and, in extreme cases, surgery is sometimes used. However, it’s not widely available on the NHS and doesn’t always work.

Gallery: 15 Bedtime Rituals for Better Sleep [The Daily Meal]

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