For the percentage of the population tortured by the nocturnal rumblings of a partner, snoring is no joke but their whistling, clicking, rolling thunder can tell you a great deal about a person’s health and it may also point the way to a silent night.
Attila Juhasz, Ear, Nose and Throat Consultant at Emersons Green NHS Treatment Centre, said: “The level where noise starts to have an effect on sleep is around 40dB but snoring can range from about 50dB to 90+dB. To put these numbers into perspective, normal talking is about 60dB loud, a vacuum cleaner would create 70dB, while a lawnmower 90dB noise. I have come across patients in my practice whose neighbours complained about their snoring as it was audible outside their home.”
“The key to relieving a snore is to establish what type of snorer you are. Snoring is generated by the vibrations of the tissue lining the airway and this could happen at various levels – from the nasal cavity through the throat down to the level of the voice box. Once the reason for the snoring is known, treatment options for that particular problem can be looked at.”
Attila’s actions to reduce snoring
- Stop smoking. A study at Johns Hopkins University, in America, found that a quarter of smokers regularly experience disrupted sleep compared to just five per cent of non-smokers.
- Cut back on alcohol, especially before bed, as this may encourage the back of your throat to collapse as you breathe, which causes snoring.
- Keep at a healthy weight. Fatty tissue around your neck squeezes the airway and prevents air flowing in and out freely.
- Talk to your pharmacist for advice on sprays to clear your nose or to fight allergies. You should talk to your GP if you're affected by an allergy which affects your nose or breathing.
- Try singing, it can help to strengthen the muscles in the throat. These may slacken with age, which is why snoring is reported more in the over 50s.
- Sleeping on your side can be the most simple and effective answer.
- Visit the website of the British Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Association for more information and an interactive test to diagnose your snoring.