About one in three people snore in their sleep, not only disturbing their partner's night's rest but also reducing the quality of their own sleep. This is often followed by less restful sleep, difficulty sleeping through the night, headaches and daytime tiredness. Find out here how these annoying noises occur at night and which simple tips help to reduce annoying snoring and to sleep more restfully.
Table of contents
- Snoring during sleep
- How snoring develops
- The simplest tips against snoring
- Please do not wake up
Snoring during sleep
Basically, snoring (med. rhonchopathy) describes the obstruction of the upper respiratory and airways, which manifests itself in noisy and strained breathing during sleep. This makes it difficult to sleep through the night and disturbs the important deep sleep phases in which the body regenerates, which can result in daytime tiredness, headaches or concentration problems.
Almost one in three Germans snores during sleep, with men (approx. 60%) being affected slightly more often than women (40%). Simple snoring, without health-endangering breathing pauses, is considered harmless in principle, but has numerous negative effects on one's own sleep and the night's rest of one's partner. And good sleep, in turn, is crucial for our health and well-being during the day.
How snoring develops
Disturbing snoring sounds occur mainly in the upper respiratory tract when the air meets resistance during breathing and we have to exhale and inhale more forcefully. The air then flows through the throat with increased pressure, causing the soft tissue (such as the tongue, soft palate or uvula) to vibrate audibly - we snore.
Especially during sleep, our entire body musculature relaxes, which already fundamentally constricts the throat. Various factors then represent an additional blockage of the airways and promote snoring. For example, colds, hay fever, smoking, adenoids, a large tongue or enlarged tonsils, but also the wrong sleeping posture or swelling of the pharyngeal mucosa have a negative effect on breathing and increase the risk of snoring.
Here you will find simple & helpful tips against snoring, so that your airways remain clear and you can find a restful sleep.
The simplest tips against snoring
#1 Choose the right sleeping position
The supine position is known to trigger or increase nighttime snoring. In this sleeping position, the lower jaw folds down slightly due to gravity and the tongue slides backwards into the throat, constricting the airway. Switching to the side position can therefore quickly help to ease breathing and stop snoring. In order to breathe more easily, it can also be helpful to raise the upper part of the body, e.g. with the help of a firm pillow. You can read more about the advantages and disadvantages of different sleeping positions here.
#2 Keep your airways and nose clear
A blocked nose causes us to breathe in and out with increased pressure, or to stop breathing through the nose altogether and breathe through the mouth. This leaves the mouth open and the tongue more easily drawn into the throat. Especially during a cold, hay fever or a dry indoor climate, the mucous membranes of the nose become very irritated, swell up and constrict the airways. Therefore, try to clean your nose thoroughly on a regular basis and keep the mucous membranes moist.
#3 Watch your diet before going to bed
To sleep soundly, you should tend to eat light foods in the evening, because a very full stomach pushes up the diaphragm and lungs and obstructs airflow in the body. And certain foods and nutrients can also influence sleep patterns or help improve breathing and prevent heavy snoring. For example, peppermint or olive oil, honey or cardamom have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects on the mucous membranes, helping to decongest them and keep the airway clear.
#4 Avoid alcohol and nicotine
Alcohol has a negative effect on sleep and snoring and should be off limits 2-3 hours before sleep. It relaxes the muscles, thus encouraging the tongue to fall back into the throat and disturbs the quality of sleep due to the decomposition products produced. Smoking should also be avoided, as inhaling the harmful substances irritates the mucous membranes and makes them swell, so that breathing is impaired.
#5 Remember good sleep hygiene
Good sleep hygiene and a regular sleep-wake cycle are crucial for restful sleep. Make sure that your bedroom is kept at a cool temperature (16-18 degrees) and that the room is adequately ventilated to avoid dry air and irritation of the mucous membranes in the respiratory tract.
#5 Maintain a healthy lifestyle
A healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet and regular exercise supports calm and restful sleep in addition to general health. Obesity, on the other hand, is a common trigger for night snoring because it causes the diaphragm to be elevated and prevents the lungs from expanding, thus weakening breathing and promoting snoring.
Do not wake
Even if it provides a brief moment of peace, you should refrain from waking a snoring person at night. Those who snore do so primarily in the lull and light sleep phases, while the breathing difficulties decrease again in the deep sleep phases. So, if we are repeatedly roused from sleep, we find it difficult to reach the deep sleep phases that are so important for our recovery, and we fall back into a light sleep again and again. In this way, not only is the quality of sleep significantly reduced, but snoring is actually encouraged.
Snoring disturbs sleep and regeneration and has numerous side effects such as sleep disturbance, daytime sleepiness or headaches.
Snoring sounds occur when the airways are constricted and the air pressure causes the relaxed throat tissue to vibrate.
The best sleeping position for snorers is the side position, optionally with the upper body elevated for easier breathing.
Clean or flush your nose regularly to prevent mouth breathing and keep airways clear.
Make sure you eat light, balanced meals in the evening and use anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial foods such as olive oil, honey or cardamom to soothe the mucous membranes of your throat.
Refrain from alcohol and nicotine at least 2 to 3 hours before bedtime.
Remember good sleep hygiene and make sure you have a well-ventilated, rather cool sleeping environment.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle. Obesity is one of the most common causes of snoring and is also bad for your health.
Do not wake up snorers, otherwise you will disturb their sleep and, on the contrary, further encourage snoring.
Best wishes and see you soon!