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Prevent snoring: These tips will help

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  • Why do people snore anyway?
  • What causes snoring?
  • How do I find out if I have sleep apnea?
  • What to do if your partner suffers from your snoring?
  • How can you prevent snoring?
  • What health risks arise from snoring?

No matter how great the love is, if you regularly wake your partner from her sleep with your snoring, you shouldn’t be surprised if she reacts with irritation and arguments break out more quickly during the day. You mean you can’t help snoring? Not quite true. Because you can do a lot about it. You can find out what here.

Why do people snore anyway?

“Snoring is caused by vibrations in the area of ​​the base of the tongue and the soft palate, as the muscles of the nasopharynx relax during sleep,” says sleep doctor Dr. Holger Hein from Reinbeck. While in women female sex hormones ensure that the mucous membranes in the palate and throat area are more elastic, in men this region is usually more hardened, which intensifies snoring noises – as does a tongue that falls backwards.

What causes snoring?

Snoring can have many causes. Obstructed nasal breathing is often the trigger, for example caused by a runny nose. Lying on your back, being more than 20 percent overweight and drinking a lot of alcohol in the evening increase the effect, says Hein.

A Scandinavian study provides a previously unknown reason for sawing at night: the risk of snoring regularly in the future increases by more than a quarter if you had contact with dogs as a baby. Diseases such as lung and middle ear infections also significantly increase the risk, according to doctors from Umeå and Uppsala universities.

In addition, the study results contradict previous findings that smoking mothers would also increase the risk factor. Only young mothers increase the likelihood that a man will snore later. For the study, the doctors surveyed 22,000 adults in Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Estonia about respiratory problems and environmental factors during childhood. Almost a fifth of them said they snored regularly and loudly. Good to know: Between 30 and 60 percent of all men snore, with the proportion of snorers increasing with age. Only after the age of 70 does the tendency to snore decrease again.

How do I find out if I have sleep apnea?

Are you one of those people who cut down entire forests at night? Then it’s important to find out whether you “just” snore or whether you also have pauses in breathing at night. Snoring can be a symptom of so-called sleep apnea, which leads to increased daytime fatigue and poor concentration due to pauses in breathing at night. This creates an increased risk of accidents, for example behind the wheel. Have your suspicion of sleep apnea clarified by a doctor: He can find out whether sleep apnea is behind your snoring in the sleep laboratory or using a measuring device that can be used on an outpatient basis. This is the case for around four percent of all middle-aged men.

What to do if your partner suffers from your snoring?

There are a number of anti-snoring products available. Not every method works equally well for everyone. Some people use nasal strips to ensure they rest at night, others get along better with a nose wire, a nose clip, a nose clip or a chin band. By wearing an upper jaw splint only at night, you can try to pull the lower jaw and tongue forward and thus reduce sawing at night. Operations on the soft palate can also relieve the annoying snoring noises. Before an operation, however, it should be ensured that there are no pauses in breathing and therefore sleep apnea.

Before you go under the knife, you should also try the following gentle measures against snoring:

  • Reduce weight: Losing weight lowers the volume. Most snorers carry a few extra pounds through life, and fat also accumulates in the soft palate and tongue area. Those who lose weight snore less often or at least more quietly.
  • Change your sleeping position: Back sleepers snore the loudest and most often. A pillow that is too large also increases the noise level at night. This is the optimal sleeping position.
  • Check medications: Sleeping pills make it easier to fall asleep, but they keep your partner awake. The pills relax the tissues in the head and neck, thereby making snoring worse. Antihistamines (anti-allergic drugs) can also have these side effects.
  • No nightcap: Alcohol hinders the coordination of the breathing muscles in the brain and causes the tongue muscle to relax. So don’t drink two to three hours before going to bed!
  • Ensure a good climate: Sleep with the window open and use a humidifier. This will help keep away dust and allergens that can cause your nose to swell. Bello and Miezi also have no place in the bedroom of snorers; their hair could irritate the respiratory tract.
  • Separate beds: If your relationship is in serious jeopardy due to a partner’s snoring, consider separate beds or, if possible, separate bedrooms. This is how partnership works in separate beds.

How can you prevent snoring?

Pacemakers for the heart or brain are known. The fact that there is also one for the tongue will be of interest to anyone who snores. Researchers at the Berlin Charité have for the first time implanted a pacemaker that stimulates the tongue muscle and thus puts a stop to snoring because the trigger for the annoying snoring noises is effectively combated.

The so-called neurostimulator, which is slightly smaller than a matchbox, is implanted below the collarbone like a pacemaker. It monitors the movements of the diaphragm and the breathing rate. When the diaphragm contracts when you breathe in, the pacemaker sends a weak electrical impulse to a nerve beneath the tongue. As a result, the tongue does not become slack, the trachea is not blocked and you can continue to sleep peacefully and, above all, noiselessly.

But it can also be done without surgery. These exercises to strengthen the palate muscles, which you should do regularly just before falling asleep, help against snoring:

  • Clamp a toothbrush between your teeth and hold it tightly for ten minutes.
  • With your mouth closed, press your tongue with all your strength against the teeth of your lower jaw for a few minutes.
  • Push your lower jaw back firmly for about a minute, trying to use your jaw muscles to withstand the pressure. You should repeat this exercise several times.

Extra tip: Learn to play didgeridoo! A Swiss study says that people who regularly blow into the traditional Australian instrument snore less. In addition, interruptions in breathing at night, the so-called obstructive sleep apnea, are less common. This is apparently due to the training of the muscles that are necessary for mastering the instrument: playing the didgeridoo probably leads to a strengthening of the muscles of the upper respiratory tract, according to researchers at Zurich’s Wald Höhenklinik.

For the study, volunteers suffering from sleep apnea had to attend didgeridoo lessons every day. Another group with the same problems did not take part in music lessons. The result: The didgeridoo players snored less often and had fewer pauses in breathing at night, the scientists report. These are the most dangerous consequences of lack of sleep.

What health risks arise from snoring?

  • Snoring increases the risk of a heart attack or stroke: In 2021, a meta-study evaluated 16 studies that examined the connection between snoring and heart attack. The result: Anyone who snores has a 46% higher risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke than the rest of the population.
    According to study results by researchers at the Universities of Budapest and Toronto, the volume of snoring is particularly important: the quieter the noise level, the lower the risk of a stroke or heart disease. For their study, the researchers examined over 12,000 patients. Many scientists have long assumed that snoring puts a lot of strain on the cardiovascular system.
  • Snoring can cause erectile dysfunction: Heavy snoring can lead to a lack of oxygen, which leads to erectile dysfunction in some men, researchers from Regensburg and Munich have found. According to them in Journal of Sexual Medicine According to a published study, 69 percent of men who suffer from sleep apnea also experienced erectile dysfunction. The risk of developing erectile dysfunction increases with age and existing illnesses such as heart problems or high blood pressure. And yet “lack of oxygen at night due to sleep apnea represents its own additional risk factor, which, taken alone, can cause erectile dysfunction,” explains research leader Stephan Budweiser in the study.

Heavy snoring has led to many a relationship dispute. Have a doctor clarify the cause of your snoring and take the recommended countermeasures. So you and your partner will soon be able to sleep through the night in peace again. There is then only noise in the bedroom for other reasons.

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