Is snor­ing mak­ing your life hell? Here’s why it’s bad for your re­la­tion­ship and your health – and what you can do about it

DRUM - - Health -

SNOR­ING is a com­mon prob­lem that can have dev­as­tat­ing ef­fects. It can cause ir­ri­tabil­ity and fa­tigue, and the col­lapse of mar­riages and se­ri­ous health prob­lems. It can even be life-threat­en­ing. In this ex­tract from Stop Snor­ing . . . the Easy Way and the Real Rea­sons You Need To, Dr Mike Dilkes and Alexan­der Adams ex­plore the risk fac­tors as­so­ci­ated with snor­ing and of­fer a blue­print for good sleep hy­giene and a work­out to help you have a peace­ful night. So lim­ber up your jaw and tongue and get ready to tackle the prob­lem once and for all.

ACOMMON as­sump­tion is that snor­ing is the pas­time of men, and while they ac­count for the ma­jor­ity of snor­ers world­wide, a whop­ping 20% of women are also se­vere snor­ers. The stigma at­tached is in gen­eral far worse for women. So snor­ing can be a sen­si­tive topic and in many so­cial sit­u­a­tions is out of bounds when it comes to pok­ing fun.

Snor­ing, by its med­i­cal def­i­ni­tion, is called ster­tor. This means noisy breath­ing and it hap­pens while we’re asleep be­cause that’s when the air­way col­lapses and be­comes par­tially blocked.

The noise is pro­duced by a re­duc­tion in mus­cle tone caus­ing struc­tures in the throat to start to flap – like a sail or flag flap­ping when the wind reaches a cer­tain speed.

Even mild snor­ing can re­sult in a pro­longed noc­tur­nal breath­ing dis­or­der, which has sig­nif­i­cant ef­fects on both body and mind.

While surgery and ven­ti­la­tion aids have a real place in the treat­ment of snor­ing, they are ex­treme steps, espe­cially if sim­ple but ef­fec­tive mea­sures haven’t been tried.


On av­er­age the part­ner of a snorer loses 90 min­utes of sleep per night. If you’re the one snor­ing you’re los­ing restora­tive sleep, which is in­cred­i­bly dan­ger­ous.

Plus, you’re build­ing a con­tin­u­ous back­log of sleep debt which be­comes im­pos­si­ble to re­pay, blindly pass­ing through days on end with­out get­ting suf­fi­cient rest.

The raw facts are that peo­ple will get less done, less ef­fec­tively and need more time to do it if they are ex­hausted.


Obe­sity, de­fined by a BMI (body mass in­dex) greater than 30, can be part of the prob­lem. It’s im­por­tant to re­alise the dual ef­fect of be­ing over­weight and be­ing an acute snorer. Given the statis­tics, adult men and women are very likely to al­ready be snor­ers be­fore their BMI reaches a dan­ger­ous point. High blood pres­sure

will most likely al­ready be a prob­lem.

Heavy snor­ing, or ap­noea, cou­pled with obe­sity es­sen­tially sets the way for a per­fect storm.


Per­haps the most widely doc­u­mented side ef­fect of snor­ing is the bear­ing it has on oth­ers – in par­tic­u­lar your part­ner.

One Aus­tralian study showed just how ex­treme it can be – 30 of the 500 women who par­tic­i­pated in the study said snor­ing was the sole cause for the break­down of their mar­riages.


It’s not hard to imag­ine the tra­jec­tory cou­ples fol­low when both par­ties are tired and ir­ri­tated due to a lack of rest­ful sleep.

The most com­mon so­lu­tion to this is sleep­ing in sep­a­rate bed­rooms. At face value it’s en­cour­ag­ing that a cou­ple would take this mea­sure to main­tain a happy re­la­tion­ship.

How­ever, many stud­ies into sleep psy­chol­ogy paint a dif­fer­ent pic­ture, as lack of sleep can lead to ma­jor re­sent­ments and even de­pres­sion.

The re­al­ity is snor­ing is a habit, which means nat­u­ral mea­sures to stem and even stop snor­ing should be adopted long be­fore sleep­ing apart is ever con­sid­ered.


Even be­fore get­ting to the point where they’re not sleep­ing to­gether, 21% of women whose part­ners were mild snor­ers said it caused a ma­jor loss of in­ti­macy in their re­la­tion­ship.

Men and women who are de­prived of sleep re­port lower li­bidos and less in­ter­est in sex due to de­pleted en­ergy, sleepi­ness and in­creased ten­sion.

Men es­pe­cially are alarmed to learn that snor­ing can have a di­rect ef­fect on their abil­ity to main­tain an erec­tion. The sci­ence is sim­ple: Snor­ing and ap­noea cause high blood pres­sure

High pres­sure in the ar­ter­ies causes in­ter­nal dam­age, mak­ing them thicker

Thicker ar­ter­ies re­strict blood flow around the body, in­clud­ing to the pe­nis, caus­ing erec­tile dys­func­tion or im­po­tence.


Don’t eat high-kilo­joule meals close to bed­time and be aware of what’s in your snacks and evening treats – for ex­am­ple, choco­late con­tains caf­feine.

Cut out stim­u­lants such as tea and cof­fee 2-3 hours prior to go­ing to bed.

Avoid stren­u­ous ex­er­cise in the eve­ning. Rather do it in the morn­ing or af­ter­noon.

Get out­side dur­ing the day. Max­imis­ing your ex­po­sure to nat­u­ral light helps reg­u­late your in­ter­nal body clock and with the form­ing of a day-and-night regime.

Don’t nap in the day even if you’re tired. Get the regime right and you’ll see a rise in your en­ergy lev­els so mid­day nap­ping be­comes a thing of the past.

Turn off all lap­tops, TVs, ra­dios and close your book at least one hour be­fore sleep.

Men­tal stim­u­la­tion prevents you from en­ter­ing restora­tive sleep.

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