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5 Lifestyle Fixes That Can Help You Snore Less

5 Lifestyle Fixes That Can Help You Snore Less

Snoring is an issue which can often keep partners and loved ones awake, but it can also be a problem for the snorers themselves.

People who snore lightly or infrequently, referred to as grade one snorers, are not as likely to encounter related health risk, but those who snore on a habitual basis (grade two and three snorers) will often find that their daytime function is affected, and their snoring may be indicative of a more serious issue.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition where a person’s airways become blocked while they are asleep. After about 10 seconds, the brain, deprived of oxygen, will force the body awake or into a lighter stage of sleep in order to recover the breathing rhythm it needs.

For a person with severe OSA, this process can occur once every couple of minutes, with the nightly number of episodes even reaching the triple digits. While the excessive daytime sleepiness caused by OSA-related sleep disruption is an obvious safety risk for those working with dangerous equipment or getting behind the wheel, it can also lead to raised blood pressure levels and heart problems.

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OSA will require medical attention from a doctor, and usually treatment in the form of a device to assist nighttime breathing. Heavy snorers who don’t have OSA can sometimes benefit from oral devices too, but there are other lifestyle measures they can take to help them snore less.

Here are five healthy changes a snorer can make to give themselves and those around them a better night’s sleep.

Drink Alcohol Responsibly

It’s a long-held misconception that alcohol helps you sleep. It doesn’t. In fact, it can, and often will, make your night much less comfortable, particularly when partaken in shortly before bedtime.

The myth most likely stems from the notion that alcohol is a relaxant, and it is, but it doesn’t necessarily help you sleep better. The relaxing agents in alcohol actually loosen tissues in the palate and airways, which are the surfaces that vibrate and make noise during snoring. This narrows the air passages too, so that the body has to work harder to get the oxygen it needs.

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Alcohol also typically reduces the number of times you’ll enter periods of REM sleep during the night, so that you won’t feel anywhere near as refreshed when you wake up.

Those looking to reduce their snoring habits can stand to benefit by practising moderation. This means keeping to within recommended lower-risk limits (not more than 14 units per week) and having at least two alcohol-free days per week.

Stop Smoking

Snoring and OSA are just two items in the long list of reasons to give up smoking. Tobacco smoke can increase bronchial inflammation and swelling in the airways, making breathing during sleep harder, and in turn making snoring louder.

Several studies have linked smoking with OSA and suggested a level of co-dependence between the two. Stopping is generally viewed as the recommended course of action for those with the condition or at increased risk (just as it is for anyone else).

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Eat Healthy and Exercise

Being overweight plays perhaps the most significant role in snoring and OSA, due to the presence of fatty tissue around the neck and airway causing an obstruction.

Eating a healthy and balanced diet and getting enough exercise are key in tackling snoring and lowering the risk of related problems.

Drink Plenty of Water

Many of us have learned the lesson of not drinking too much water before bedtime the hard way, when we have to rise several times in the night to go to the toilet.

However, getting enough fluids earlier on throughout the rest of the day is essential for those who want to limit their snoring. Dehydration can cause tissues in the nasal channels and throat to become sticky and cohere to airway walls, again leading to obstruction and more noise when air passes through.

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Those looking to get snoring under control should try to meet the recommended two litres (which is about eight cups or four small bottles) of water per day.

Keep a Clean Bed

A dirty, unkempt sleeping area, aside from being a hygiene issue, can cause several health problems — snoring is one of these.

Over time, dust mites collect in duvets, pillows, and bed sheets. These can cause irritation when breathed in, particularly for those with allergic rhinitis. The more inflamed the airways become, the more likely snoring is. To prevent this, maintain a clean bed. Bed sheets should be washed once a week and pillows should be fluffed every couple of days and washed every couple of months (as should your duvet).

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Last Updated on June 13, 2019

5 Fixes For Common Sleep Issues All Couples Deal With

5 Fixes For Common Sleep Issues All Couples Deal With

Sleeping next to your partner can be a satisfying experience and is typically seen as the mark of a stable, healthy home life. However, many more people struggle to share a bed with their partner than typically let on. Sleeping beside someone can decrease your sleep quality which negatively affects your life. Maybe you are light sleepers and you wake each other up throughout the night. Maybe one has a loud snoring habit that’s keeping the other awake. Maybe one is always crawling into bed in the early hours of the morning while the other likes to go to bed at 10 p.m.

You don’t have to feel ashamed of finding it difficult to sleep with your partner and you also don’t have to give up entirely on it. Common problems can be addressed with simple solutions such as an additional pillow. Here are five fixes for common sleep issues that couples deal with.

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1. Use a bigger mattress to sleep through movement

It can be difficult to sleep through your partner’s tossing and turning all night, particularly if they have to get in and out of bed. Waking up multiple times in one night can leave you frustrated and exhausted. The solution may be a switch to a bigger mattress or a mattress that minimizes movement.

Look for a mattress that allows enough space so that your partner can move around without impacting you or consider a mattress made for two sleepers like the Sleep Number bed.[1] This bed allows each person to choose their own firmness level. It also minimizes any disturbances their partner might feel. A foam mattress like the kind featured in advertisements where someone jumps on a bed with an unspilled glass of wine will help minimize the impact of your partner’s movements.[2]

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2. Communicate about scheduling conflicts

If one of you is a night owl and the other an early riser, bedtime can become a source of conflict. It’s hard for a light sleeper to be jostled by their partner coming to bed four hours after them. Talk to your partner about negotiating some compromises. If you’re finding it difficult to agree on a bedtime, negotiate with your partner. Don’t come to bed before or after a certain time, giving the early bird a chance to fully fall asleep before the other comes in. Consider giving the night owl an eye mask to allow them to stay in bed while their partner gets up to start the day.

3. Don’t bring your technology to bed

If one partner likes bringing devices to bed and the other partner doesn’t, there’s very little compromise to be found. Science is pretty unanimous on the fact that screens can cause harm to a healthy sleeper. Both partners should agree on a time to keep technology out of the bedroom or turn screens off. This will prevent both partners from having their sleep interrupted and can help you power down after a long day.

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4. White noise and changing positions can silence snoring

A snoring partner can be one of the most difficult things to sleep through. Snoring tends to be position-specific so many doctors recommend switching positions to stop the snoring. Rather than sleeping on your back doctors recommend turning onto your side. Changing positions can cut down on noise and breathing difficulties for any snorer. Using a white noise fan, or sound machine can also help soften the impact of loud snoring and keep both partners undisturbed.

5. Use two blankets if one’s a blanket hog

If you’ve got a blanket hog in your bed don’t fight it, get another blanket. This solution fixes any issues between two partners and their comforter. There’s no rule that you have to sleep under the same blanket. Separate covers can also cut down on tossing and turning making it a multi-useful adaptation.

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Rather than giving up entirely on sharing a bed with your partner, try one of these techniques to improve your sleeping habits. Sleeping in separate beds can be a normal part of a healthy home life, but compromise can go a long way toward creating harmony in a shared bed.

Featured photo credit: Becca Tapert via unsplash.com

Reference

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