In basic terms, snoring is the noise which is made by some sleepers as they breathe. This is due to blockages in the nasal passage and upper airways which vibrate as you breathe in an out.

Causes Of Snoring

Snoring is caused by slack muscles inside the throat, which vibrate against the soft palate as you breathe.
As we get older, our throat muscles get weaker, making snoring more likely.

Being overweight is also a trigger, as fat affects the smooth functions of all muscles including those in the throat.

A blocked nose from a cold or allergy can cause temporary snoring, while heavy drinking, smoking and sleeping on you back can also contribute.

Snoring may also be a sign of sleep apnea - brief episodes of interrupted breathing, lasting between 10 and 60 seconds.

There is a theory suggests that prehistoric man learned to snore as a way of scaring off predatory animals while he slept!

Here are some suggestions to stop snoring...

How To Stop Snoring

- Avoid sleeping on your back. Put a walnut, cork or even a tennis ball into a sock and pin it to the back of your pyjamas (use a safe nappy pin). This will encourage you to sleep sideways rather than on your back.

- Lose weight if you need to.

- Don't smoke and avoid alcohol within five hours of bedtime as both interfere with breathing.

- Tilt the head of your bed up 10 cm (4 inches) by putting bricks under the legs to lessen the effect of gravity on the throat muscles. Do not use a thick, hard pillow; this will kink your neck and make the problem worse.

- Try sleeping in a whiplash foam collar, to stop the neck kinking.

- Think of taking up singing. Professional singers rarely snore and it is thought this could be because singing exercise the throat muscles.

- Nostril dilators encourage nasal breathing and help to prevent mouth breathing.

- Trash the tranquillisers and sleeping pills: Both drugs slow down the central nervous system, which can leave your tongue floppy and throat muscles loose.

- Keep your room humid. Lack of humidity dries out the mucous membranes in the nose and throat. Hanging a damp cloth over your bedroom radiator should keep the air from getting too dry.

- See your doctor if the problem persists as you could have sleep apnea, which can be treated.

There is no shortage of ‘cures’, for snoring (over 300 anti-snoring devices have been registered at the USA patent office alone), but in many cases self-help is effective.

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