I don’t suppose that it will surprise you that some habits in our lives might very well be contributing or causing us to snore.
I think that this is good and bad news for those of us who are looking to buy an anti snoring device.
It is good news because if it is one of these lifestyle that is causing you to snore then there may be an alternative to buying an anti snoring device.
On the other hand, it is bad news because there will be some hard work needed in order to stop most of these habits.
When The Going Gets Tough
Most of these habits are hard to change and so the question is are you tough enough?!
There are at least seven different lifestyle issues that might be making you snore. And these issues are; weight, alcohol, sleeping position, smoking, medication, age and nasal congestion.
As well as being hard to stop or to change, I would think that it would be hard to confidently identify any of these habits as being the reason that you snore.
Unlike other causes of snoring, there are no easy and quick tests that can be done for lifestyle habits. It is just a process of trial and error. Changing one habit for a few weeks and seeing if it makes a difference before moving onto the next habit.
Although there are seven different habits, I would think that for most people the main cause of snoring is just one of these…
So let’s just jump straight in and look at the first lifestyle issue that might be affecting your snoring, which is weight.
By eating too much and exercising too little, fat can build up around the neck and reduce the flow of air through our throat which might cause snoring.
This tends to be more of a problem for men rather than women because women put weight on in different areas of their body than the neck.
Unfortunately, according to the main health authority in the UK, just a few kilos over our ideal weight might be enough to trigger snoring.
Also the same authority believes that anyone with a neck circumference of 43 centimetres (or 17 inches) will snore a lot.
Another study has shown that an obese person is three times more likely to snore than a person who has an ideal weight.
Although “ideal weight” is a bit of a vague term, the link between being overweight and snoring is fairly clear.
Losing weight takes perseverance and hard work and it is not a quick fix, taking weeks if not months to see any effects.
The main way in which alcohol affects snoring is because it acts as a muscle relaxant.
The muscles in the back of your throat might become too “floppy” and restrict the airflow at the back of your throat causing you to snore.
A possible solution to this is to cut down on the amount of alcohol that you consume or have your last drink four hours before you go to bed.
Reducing or stopping consumption our consumption of alcohol is another habit that requires lots of sustained will power.
Medication acts in much the same way that alcohol does on your muscles by relaxing them.
For some individuals this causes the muscles at the back of the throat to collapse thereby restricting the flow of air and causing some people to snore.
Most people who are taking medication for genuine medical conditions in the medium or long term cannot just stop taking it. It isn’t practical or safe.
If you believe that medication is the one habit that is causing you to snore, your best course of action will be to talk to your doctor in order to weigh up the pros and cons of stopping your medication.
The overwhelming majority of snorers sleep on their back. When you sleep on your back, your tongue or chin or any fatty tissue around your neck may restrict your airway.
It is simple when you think about it because gravity is pushing everything down.
If you sleep on your side then your tongue, chin or neck tissue are not pressing against the back of your throat.
It can be very hard to change the position that you sleep in and so one way to stop yourself from sleeping on your back is to place tennis balls in “purpose built” pockets in the back of your t-shirt.
These tennis balls stop you from sleeping on your back.
Again, this is another habit that it is difficult to break because a person might have been sleeping on their back for most of their life and so to change a behaviour that is so ingrained takes guts.
Smoking irritates the nasal cavities and the lining of the throat potentially causing swelling and catarrh.
The risk of snoring increases with every cigarette that is smoked. The bad news is that passive smoking can even result in snoring.
If you have to smoke a cigarette, try to have your last one at least four hours before bedtime.
Of all the issues and habits listed on this page, this has got to be the hardest one to change and maintain.
As we hit middle age, our throats become narrower as well as our muscle tone around our throat becoming less.
One report in the UK suggests that whilst nearly half of all middle aged men snore, the onset of snoring in women seems to be later- at around sixty years of age.
And of course, there is nothing to be done about the ageing process and how it effects the shape of our throat.
If this is the main reason why you are snoring then you might want to look at other options.
Nasal congestion can be caused by allergies, an infection, sinusitis, or even a deviated septum.
It is normal for a person to breathe through their nose at night.
When because of a blockage, a person instead breathes through their mouth, it creates more pressure behind the soft palate meaning that snoring is more likely.
If you are suffering from known allergies or simple infections then applying a menthol rub on your chest might help and having a hot shower before bed can help because the steam can clear the nasal passages.
Yet other allergies, sinusitis and deviated septum’s are much more complicated to overcome and might involve surgery.
If you are certain that your snoring is caused by nasal congestion as a result of having sinusitis or a deviated septum then you should consider going to see a doctor for more advice and support.
So there you have it. Seven habits or influences that might be causing you to snore.
If you are fairly confident that none of these issues are causing you to snore, you might want to check out my snore assessment that might help you identify other reasons for your snoring.