Q. My husband’s snoring is becoming a real problem– we are both tired from disrupted sleep. Is there anything you can suggest to help?
A. You are not alone! Snoring is extremely common and your husband is one of over 15 million other snorers in the UK. Snoring can be very frustrating for both parties as well as leading to poor concentration and memory, poor work performance and headaches, nausea and lowered libido.
Snoring is caused when the air through the nose and throat is unable to move freely, which causes the surrounding tissue to vibrate, creating the classic snoring sound.
A visit to the GP is advisable to check for any physical problems such as jaw alignment and to establish if the more serious issue of sleep apnoea or breath holding is the cause. His GP can also check to see if low thyroid function or diabetes are involved.
Once these have been ruled out other contributory factors can begin to be addressed.
Excess mucous from allergies or intolerances can inhibit the airways. An easy pin prick blood test to identify problematic foods can be helpful. Some foods are thought to be mucous forming regardless of intolerance – dairy products can be a big offender so try cutting these out of his diet for several weeks to see if this improves things. Proteolytic enzymes, which break down proteins, may help tackle excess mucous so it may be useful to try specialised products that include protease enzymes and bromelain, which is also thought to aid mucous breakdown. Salt pipes containing salt from the Transylvanian Priad salt mines might also be beneficial, helping cleanse the respiratory tract in general.
Being overweight can trigger snoring, as the extra weight around the neck area can constrict the throat area inhibiting air flow, so supporting in losing those extra pounds is a good idea.
Drinking alcohol often worsens snoring, causing the muscles in the throat to relax and further inhibit air flow, so keeping his alcohol to a minimum might be helpful for a more peaceful night. Smoking also contributes to snoring as nasal and throat passages are irritated, increasing mucous production, so if your husband is a smoker try and support him to give up.