Top tips to prevent snoring

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Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Sleeping in the spare room again? It’s time to put snoring to bed once and for all, says GP Dr Alison Gardiner

A staggering 75 per cent of couples are being driven to sleep apart as a result of snoring, according to the British Snoring and Sleep Apnoea Association. But couples don’t need to be heading off to separate rooms, instead they should seek help to get to the root of this anti-social problem.

Defined as a coarse noise made by vibrations of the soft tissue at the back of the mouth, nose or throat, snoring is caused by a partial blockage of the airway located anywhere from the tip of the nose to the vocal chords. While you’re asleep, your muscles relax and partial obstruction can occur, hence causing snoring.

The main causes of snoring include:

• Obesity

• Larger neck circumference (fatty deposits around the neck)

• Lifestyle factors, for example, smoking or alcohol consumption

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• Head and facial shape

• Sedatives and some types of antidepressants

• Nasal congestion

• Multi-factorial snoring – a result of a combination of the above

But what can be done to stop the snoring? While there isn’t a complete cure, snoring can sometimes be controlled successfully and treatment can help to improve it in certain instances.

The main objective in the prevention of snoring is to keep your nasal passages clear and breathe through your nose rather than your mouth. Begin by making small changes to your lifestyle. Losing weight and maintaining a healthy diet can reduce the fatty tissue around the neck, helping the air to flow freely in and out of your airway.

Change your position from sleeping on your back to your side to prevent your tongue relaxing back to partially block your airway. If you are affected by allergies, antihistamine tablets or a nasal spray may help to clear your airways. Smokers should consider quitting as cigarette smoke is an irritant to the lining of the nose and throat, causing congestion which again restricts the airflow.

Avoiding alcohol before bedtime can also help prevent snoring. Alcohol causes the muscle tone to relax while you sleep even more than usual, partially closing the airway. Certain types of antidepressants have a similar effect to alcohol on muscle tone, which a visit to your GP should resolve.

In addition there are many anti-snoring devices available from mouth guards to nasal strips, all can work, but with varying success to help combat snoring.


About Dr Alison Gardiner

Dr Alison Gardiner has worked as a general practitioner for more than 20 years and started the private GP practice at Nuffield Health Bournemouth 17 years ago with her colleague Dr Steven Kidman. She has vast experience as a GP which hugely benefits her ability to quickly and accurately diagnose and refer patients.

Those interested in booking a private consultation should call the Nuffield Health Customer Services team on 01202 702830 or visit***


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