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10 top tips to stop snoring

By
WebMD Feature
Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks

" Snoring can cause marriage breakdown and even murder," says sleep expert Sammy Margo.

Death or divorce are extreme reactions to snoring but for the millions of people in the UK who snore, or whose partner does, it can lead to a lack of sleep, health problems or at the very least irritation and arguments.

For something so potentially disruptive it's also incredibly common. The British Snoring and Sleep Apnoea Association (BSSAA) estimates there are 15 million snorers in the UK and 30 million affected by snoring.

The problem with snoring

Snoring can be a problem for the person who snores. Your own snoring may disturb your sleep. You may feel tired and irritable in the day. You may also feel guilty about keeping your partner awake.

Severe snoring may also be a sign of a condition called obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) where breathing temporarily stops during sleep. As well as fragmented sleep this can lead to lower levels of oxygen in the blood. This increases the risk of other health problems like cardiovascular disease and heart disease.

Often snoring isn't a problem for the snorer but the person who sleeps with the snorer. It can lead to a lack of sleep and daytime fatigue.

Michael Jones has been married for 20 years. His wife is a regular snorer. "It's like a drip, drip, drip effect. She drops off to sleep in 5 minutes and I spend what feels like hours listening to her snore. I wear earplugs and have a pillow over my head most of the time. I feel intense irritation and it does affect me in the day. I know I'm just not getting enough sleep," says Michael.

What is snoring?

Snoring is the sound made by vibrations of the soft palate and other tissues in your mouth and throat as you breathe in.

"Snoring originates in the upper airway and it is the structures in the upper airway - soft palate, elongated or enlarged uvula, prominent tonsillar pillars, large tonsils, jaw shape - that are vibrating that we hear as snoring," explains Marianne Davey director of the BSSAA.

Your airways relax or get floppy when you sleep which causes the soft tissue to vibrate by sucking the sides of the airways in. It may also be caused by a partially blocked upper airway.

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