4 tips to help stop snoring

By naturopath Margaret Jasinska

Snoring can cause significant sleep loss – whether you are the snorer, or you share a bed with one. Poor sleep quality can really affect your health. Snoring is usually caused by health problems, and then the compromised sleep will cause even more health problems.

Snoring is noisy breathing through the mouth or nose due to the vibration of soft tissues in a narrowed throat. The air moves more forcefully and this can create some awfully loud noises. Snoring is a lot more common among men than women, with around a quarter of males prone to snoring. Snoring can sometimes be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnoea, and this should always be ruled out. Sleep apnoea is a major risk factor for stroke and heart attacks, as well as dementia.

What causes snoring?

A number of factors raise the risk. You are more likely to snore when you have a cold, sinusitis, hay fever or other cause of a blocked nose. Sleeping on your back also heightens the risk. The typical, regular snorer is male, aged between 30 and 65 years, overweight; might have high blood pressure, and typically drinks alcohol in the evening. Snoring can wake the snorer repeatedly in the night, so they end up very sleep deprived, and suffer the ill effects of this. Here are 4 ways to reduce or eliminate snoring.

1. Avoid or reduce alcohol

Especially in the evening. Alcohol can turn a soft snorer into a loud snorer, because of the relaxing effect it has on the muscles at the back of the throat.

2. Change your sleep position

Changing your sleep position can help, but it may take some getting used to. If you move to a side lying position, your airways are more likely to stay open, and the noise can stop or be reduced. Using pillows, (particularly large body pillows), should help to keep you supported and comfortable, and stay on your side.

3. Avoid or minimise mucus-forming foods

Dairy products are notorious for causing a blocked nose, congested sinuses and throat. The combination of dairy products with sugar is even worse, foods such as ice-cream and sweet yoghurt. Gluten and wheat can cause mucus congestion for a lot of people. Any food you have a sensitivity to can block you up and restrict breathing at night. If being blocked up is a problem for you, the herbs in BactoClear capsules have antimicrobial properties. Thyme, clove and oregano essential oils are excellent for helping to keep the sinuses clear.

4. Make sure you are not insulin resistant

Insulin resistance is also known as syndrome X, metabolic syndrome and pre-diabetes. It means the hormone insulin isn’t as effective as it should be, so your body compensates by producing higher levels of insulin. That’s a problem because high insulin promotes weight gain around the torso and upper body. People, especially men who carry excess weight on their chest and neck almost always have some degree of insulin resistance, and they are traditionally the worst snorers. If your cholesterol or blood pressure are raised, you are probably insulin resistant. A low carb diet is highly effective for reversing insulin resistance. There is a very helpful eating plan in Dr Cabot’s book called I Can’t Lose Weight and I Don’t Know Why.

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