Last week I looked at the common causes of snoring and this week I thought I’d revisit the topic. Today I plan to cover the bit you’ve all been waiting for – how to control and manage snoring.
Hopefully, with this advice, you might be able to enjoy a snore-free night.
The British Snoring and Sleep Apnoea Association recommend that the first step to control snoring is to identify the exact physical cause.
There are different tests available to identify what your main problem might be.
· Nose test – stand in front of a mirror and close one nostril by pressing the side of it with your finger.
Close your mouth and breathe in through the other nostril.
If the nostril collapses, restricting your breathing, try to prop it open with the end of a cotton bud.
If this helps the breathing then consider the use of nasal dilators such as nose strips to try and overcome the snoring.
· Mouth test – this test will identify whether the snore is due to your mouth. Open your mouth and make a purposeful snoring noise. Then try this again with your mouth closed.
If you are unable to make a sound with your mouth closed this suggests you primarily breathe through your mouth.
Devices that prop your chin up to help keep your mouth closed can be good to encourage breathing through your nose and hence eliminate or reduce the problem.
· Tongue test – this test will ascertain whether you are a tongue-based breather. Stick out your tongue as far as it will go.
Then close your mouth so you are gripping your tongue between your teeth.
Now attempt to make a snoring sound. If the sound is reduced with your tongue in this position, then you are probably a tongue-based breather.
A Mandibular Advancement Device may be able to help you.
They work by holding the lower jaw and the tongue forward, creating a larger breathing space.
· Alternative test – if none of the above tests have identified the main problem it could be that the soft palate of your mouth is vibrating and causing a flutter.
To combat this, products are available to soften the soft palate.
Using in conjunction with the chin-up strips to help keep the mouth closed can also help.
If none of the above solves the mystery of what makes you snore, the best thing to do is see your GP.
They will be able to refer you to a specialist consultant who may want to undertake a sleep study.
This is a more in depth approach to ascertain what the cause is.
Sleep apnoea could be a cause and is often distinguished from physical or structure-related snoring by the lethargy caused.
Some people may even fall asleep uncontrollably several times per day in any environment.
If the consultant thinks sleep apnoea is a contributory factor to your snoring then they will undertake a detailed over night study that will measure the heart rate and blood oxygen levels.
However, as with any NHS service, there is a bit of a wait.
There is an option to have this study done privately at a cost of approximately £200 – £300.
This tends to be more in depth and will measure blood oxygen levels, heart and breathing rates, oral and nasal airflow, body movements and positions and the times of any significant events.
However if you have struggled with snoring your whole life, perhaps an NHS waiting list doesn’t add too much more onto the time.
So the real question now is how much is your snoring affecting you?