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Help to stop snoring

Unmade bed with white sheets and grey blankets
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We all need sleep, it helps you stay focused during the day and is another way to look after your health. But getting a good night’s sleep isn’t always easy, especially if you or your partner snores.

Why do you snore?

Snoring happens when air can’t flow freely through the nose or mouth when you’re asleep. The snoring noise is caused by vibrations that pass when air flows through those relaxed muscles. Snoring is very common in the UK, it is thought 41.5% of the adult population snore, affecting 30 million people. In fact, you might not even be aware that you do snore until someone tells you.

Reasons you may snore

According to the NHS you’re more likely to snore if you:

  • Are overweight
  • You're a smoker
  • Drink too much alcohol
  • Sleep on your back

Tips to stop snoring

Trying to reduce or stop snoring entirely isn’t easy, and it can be difficult to know which options are available for you. Medical intervention could be needed so make sure to talk to your GP as well as consider changing aspects of your lifestyle.

Here are five small changes, from the NHS, you can make to help you stop snoring:

  1. Try to stay at a healthy weight. Additional weight can lead to a constriction of the airways and cause snoring. If you think you would to begin losing weight read our healthy weight loss guide.
  2. Try not to drink alcohol close to bedtime. Alcohol acts as a relaxant which when paired with sleep can cause your muscles to relax more than normal, and if your throat is relaxing it could cause snoring.
  3. Avoid sleeping on your back. This can make you more likely to snore as your tongue, chin and the fatty tissue under your chin relaxes. This can apply excess pressure on your airways which will cause you to snore.
  4. Decrease the amount you smoke or cut down. Smokers are more likely to snore due to irritation and swelling in your nose and throat caused by smoking. If you need help our Stop Smoking Service is a great place to start.
  5. Keep a clear passage in your nose. You can help reduce snoring as it allows you to breathe through your nose rather than your mouth. If you experience allergies such as hay fever, read our article on hay fever treatments.

What else can I try to stop snoring?

Alongside the above lifestyle changes you could consider an adjustable bed. Adjustable beds are great as they support your body in different ways, whether you are living with a medical condition or not. 

Over-the-counter treatments for snoring

Many stop-snoring aids are available over-the-counter, including nasal strips, which help open nasal passages, and throat sprays. If you would like more advice on different treatments for snoring, visit your local LloydsPharmacy and talk to one of our pharmacists.

Can snoring be a problem?

Snoring is not usually a problem, but it might be helpful to speak to your GP if:

  • You have tried lifestyle changes such as losing weight if overweight, cutting back on alcohol and changing your sleeping position, and these changes are not helping
  • If you find that it is having an impact on your or your partner's life
  • You feel tired during the day or you make gasping or choking noises while you sleep, this could be sleep apnoea

Snoring and sleep apnoea

Snoring that is especially loud and erratic can sometimes be a sign of an underlying health condition called sleep apnoea.

What is sleep apnoea? (sleep apnea)

Sleep apnoea is when your breathing stops and starts repeatedly as you sleep. According to the NHS, the symptoms may include:

  • Your breathing is interrupted during sleep
  • You make gasping, snorting or choking noises
  • You may wake up a lot
  • Loud snoring

As these symptoms happen when you’re asleep it might be quite hard to tell if you have it, why not ask someone to stay with you while you sleep to check if you have any symptoms?

You could also experience the following symptoms sleep apnoea of during the day:

  • Feeling very tired
  • Finding it hard to concentrate
  • Having mood swings
  • Having a headache when you wake up

Speak to your GP if you do have the night-time or daytime symptoms and they may refer you to a sleep specialist at a sleep clinic. The sleep clinic may perform some tests by asking you to wear a device overnight that checks your breathing and heartbeat as you sleep.

If you’re diagnosed with mild sleep apnoea you may not need treatment, but some people will be given a CPAP machine. You wear it during the night, and it improves your breathing while you sleep. Without treatment sleep apnoea can lead to high blood pressure, changes in mood, tiredness and difficulty concentrating so it’s important to speak to your GP if you recognise the above symptoms.

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More sleep support

If you’re looking for temporary help to sleep, explore our range of sleep support products, including pillow sprays and ear plugs. Check out our sleep advice article for helpful tips on getting a good night’s sleep as well as our sleep advice for diabetics.