This is intended to be the first in a series of posts examining the problems that stop us from having the best possible sleep.
Study after study have shown the vital importance of getting good quality sleep, and in these posts, I will look at the major issues that can prevent us getting a good nights sleep, along with a few of the possible solutions, from the practical to the more prosaic. I do believe that at the heart of getting a good night’s sleep however is having the right bedding, and alongside a great mattress and duvet, the most important part of that is having a pillow you love to lay down with!
Episode 1 – Snoring and sleep apnea
While pretty much everyone does it to a greater or lesser degree, small children and dogs included, excessive snoring can be one of the most debilitating problems for the sufferer or of course their partner. It can directly affect the quality of sleep, and will of course lead to fatigue and irritability and potentially contribute to a host of health problems,
The actual snore is created when the throat passages narrow, causing breathing to be restricted. Soft tissue in the throat or nasal passages will then vibrate, causing the sound of the snore.
Causes of snoring are many and varied, and there are many factors which can contribute to snoring problems:
- Age – as we age, we can lose muscle tone in our throats, increasing the tendency to snore
- Men are more likely to snore than women – not much you can do about that really!
- Colds and other reasons for nasal passages to be blocked may well result in snoring
- General fitness – if you are overweight, then this can also contribute to a snoring problem.
- Intake of alcohol, smoking or other medication can lead to more relaxed throat muscles and a greater likelihood of snoring
- Sleeping position is a contributory factor, since sleeping on your back is more likely to cause snoring than other positions.
So, given the multitude of causes of snoring, then what are the possible solutions? This is intended only as a quick list of possible solutions,
- Anti-snoring pillows, such as the Snore Stop pillow from Amazon (see my review here), which aim to help keep you head in a certain position, keeping the airway open and therefore reducing snoring. Seems to be reasonably effective in cases of mild to moderate snoring.
- Earplugs – yes seriously. A quick search for snoring on Amazon shows that a set of ear plugs (Howard Leight Laser Ear Plugs) are the best selling item, and get a 5 star rating, often quoting snoring in the reviews as the reason for them. If snoring is not upsetting the snorer, but their partner, then definitely worth investigating
- Herbal snoring remedies – drinking honey, or ginger and honey before bedtime is often mentioned as a snoring remedy.
- Lifestyle – avoid alcohol and certain foods, such as dairy foods, fried foods and chocolate. Seems like a sensible place to start and see if it makes a difference.
- Physical devices – items such as the Sleepguard and anti-snore strips such as Breathe Right, generally work in the same way as the pillows, aiming to keep the airways open and therefore reducing snoring. While undoubtedly often very effective, some people may find them uncomfortable
These seem like a good start at least before investigating more serious options such surgery.
The next post in this series will be on how to tackle back pain.