Sleep Disturbance: stop snoring

The whole population know exactly how it feels when we have not had a decent night’s sleep, we feel fatigued and drained all day yearning for our beds only to be bad tempered, lack concentration, and usually irritable. Bed partners who consistently put up with snoring from the other side of the bed, must deal with this on a night to night basis!

The noise level that starts to impact sleep is about 40dB. The racket of snoring can range from around 60dB to 90+dB, that’s the equivalent of sleeping next to an active lawnmower. Research has consistently found that when exposed to noise at these levels, it can have a derogative effect on not just your sleep, but all areas of your health and wellbeing.

Noise disturbances at night have developed into a major problem, and countless people consider that a good night’s sleep is a basic human entitlement, essential for maintaining good health and being an influence on the start to the next day. Indeed, sleep is so important that the World Health Organisation (WHO) document several categories of adverse health and social effects from noise.

Sleep disturbance, hearing impairment, daytime functioning, mental health problems, cognitive issues and negative social behaviour can be symptoms of being exposed to loud noise over a period of time. Sleep deprivation can also have a damaging impact on the bodies systems: hormonal release, glucose regulation and cardiovascular function which can all lead to reduced health.

Evidence has indicated that the louder the sounds, the poorer quality of sleep. The type of noise is also an issue. Some noises can be infuriating whilst others of the same level aren’t. It is well known that the noise of snoring is one that cannot be endured for a long period without disturbed sleep.

Some bed partners who sleep with their snorer each night try to sleep through and ignore the racket they make. However, it has been shown that although you may sleep through the night, the quality of sleep will be reduced, and you will not feel as revitalised the following morning as you should. Noise tends to reduce our deep sleep to shallower sleep and will also reduce dreaming sleep. It is well documented that bed partners of snorers have been found to be at higher risk of hearing loss due to continuous noise exposure.

Other partners find themselves re-locating to the spare room in the middle of the night in order to get a few hours of undisturbed sleep. Many of them have feelings of guilt in leaving the bedroom – but they have a right to a good night’s sleep. Nevertheless, the stress of the situation can put a great strain on the health and relationship of both partners.

Ideas to help your bed partner snore less:

  • Ask them to change their sleeping position; Lying on your back makes the base of your tongue and soft palate collapse to the back wall of your throat, causing a vibrating sound during sleep. Sleeping on your side may help prevent this
  • Help and encourage them to lose weight; If you’ve gained weight and started snoring and did not snore before you gained weight, weight loss may help, having excess weight pushing down on your neck and chest could be the reason.
  • Try to help them reduce the amount of alcohol consumed; Alcohol and sedatives reduce the resting tone of the muscles in the back of your throat, making it more likely you’ll snore.
  • Introduce them to better sleeping habits; Working long hours without enough sleep, for example, means when you finally go to bed you’re overtired. You sleep hard and deep, and the muscles become more relaxed, which creates snoring.
  • Try to keep their nasal passages clear and open; If snoring starts in your nose, keeping nasal passages open may help. It allows air to move through slower.
  • Buy some new pillows; Allergens in your bedroom and in your pillow may contribute to snoring.
  • Stay hydrated; Drink plenty of fluids. Secretions in your nose and soft palate become stickier when you’re dehydrated.