Source: L’express Style de vie
While snoring may be a symptom of something more serious, the first victim is usually not the snorer themselves, but the person who shares their bed. How many women, overwhelmed and exhausted by sleepless nights next to a diesel engine (84 dB) in their pajamas, have ended up giving their beloved an ultimatum? Ladies, like this article if you recognize yourself…
Me, my nose was quite destroyed by a bicycle accident when I was little, then by the practice of martial arts. I am well under 50 years old and yet I sometimes snore too. I am not (yet) reaching the stage of the jet plane, maybe only that of a single-engine propeller (which is already not bad), but the subject has bored me enough, and I am put enough pillow blows during the night, for me to find out a little about the why and how. And I found answers about the origin of evil.
The noise caused by snoring comes from the vibration of the tissues of the throat. These tissues vibrate because the passage of air at the back of the throat, instead of being laminar, becomes turbulent. The two main causes of snoring are being overweight, which thickens the tissues of the throat and makes it harder (more turbulent) for air to pass, and nasal congestion (stuffy nose), whether from a deviated nasal septum, sinusitis or a simple cold. In fact, anything that can disrupt the passage of air through the nose can play a direct or indirect role in snoring.
Two other factors are likely to act on snoring:
- Sleeping on your back, as this favors the soft tissues of the throat collapsing by gravity, and, there too, the appearance of a turbulent air flow.
- Consuming alcohol in the evening, since alcohol acts as a muscle relaxant which will “soften” the muscles and tissues of the throat (therefore complicate the passage of air).
How to less – or no longer – snore?
Here we come to the heart of the matter. A thousand and one websites are devoted to the subject, some suggesting solutions that are closer to voodoo than science or common sense. Here, we will favor common sense, logical and simple solutions. As we saw above, snoring is due to the vibration of the tissues of the throat. To stop snoring, it is therefore necessary to facilitate the circulation of air throughout the respiratory system to prevent this vibration from starting as much as possible. Here are 3 easy, logical and effective techniques, two of which already save me a lot of pillow blows during the night:
1. Lose weight (even just three or four kilos). If you are overweight, this will be a radical and very often sufficient solution. I’m not saying it’s the easiest solution, but if you’re overweight, sleeping on your side won’t change anything. On the other hand, by losing a few pounds, the tissues of the throat become less thick (less “fat”) and the air simply circulates better. It’s logic.
2. Unclog your nose. This will allow inspired air to meet less resistance. For my part, with my damaged nose since childhood (deviated nasal septum and chronic sinusitis), this is what helped me a lot to stop snoring. I had been told about surgery, but two reputable specialists contradicted each other about me, so I preferred to avoid it. So, I have to thank my ENT, since he made me try a technological novelty that I did not know: a nasal dilator. It looks rather ugly with it, but since it’s made to be worn at night, in the end it doesn’t bother you, and, for me anyway, it works very well.
3. Sleep on your side. This will prevent the soft tissues of the throat from collapsing and “closing” the air passage. For more comfort, fold your pillow in half (if it’s thin, otherwise it’s not worth it) to keep your head straight, in line with the spine (this way you won’t have neck pain wake). It’s stupid, but it’s by folding my pillow that I really slept better in this position. About sleeping on one side or another, I heard that sleeping on the right side allows the heart to be less “compressed” than when sleeping on the left side. After some research, I did find this 2003 study from the American College of Cardiology, reported by the New York Times, which seems to confirm that it is better to sleep on the right side, especially with heart problems.
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