To beat snoring, stopping drinking in the evening may work better than fashionable ‘life hacks’.
As research shows people try everything from thyme oil to compression socks to keep their snoring under control, ear nose and throat consultant Jonathan Hobson has advised that the easiest and cheapest methods work best.
People keeping their partners awake might want to try propping themselves up with extra pillows, having a hot shower or bath before bed, or losing some weight to make their airways less constricted.
Unfortunately for those who enjoy a late-night tipple, snorers are also advised to avoid drinking beyond 6pm, as it relaxes the throat muscles before bed.
People keeping their partners awake might want to try propping themselves up with extra pillows, having a hot shower or bath before bed, or losing some weight to make their airways less constricted
Mr Hobson, a consultant at Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust, says people should not part with their money for expensive snoring rings, oils and acupuncture, which have no scientific evidence behind them.
It comes after Mute, a firm which makes a snoring device, published a list of 30 ‘hacks’ people use to stop snoring.
These included putting thyme oil on their feet, sipping honey and lemon before bed and wearing an eye mask or compression socks, which do not work according to experts.
Mr Hobson said: ‘People can be desperate to stop snoring, especially divorced people in middle-age who are worried it might prevent them finding a new relationship.
‘People may think some fashionable tactics work, but it is probably a placebo effect – where they believe they are snoring less simply because they expect something to work.
TOP FIVE TIPS TO REDUCE SNORING
Ear nose and throat consultant Jonathan Hobson shared his top tips for reducing snoring.
1. Reduce alcohol intake – Alcohol is a prime risk factor for snoring: it relaxes the muscles in the upper airways, causing them to collapse through the night and amplify snoring.
2. Sleep on your side – By sleeping on your back, you exacerbate snoring – however, sleeping on your side, or at the very least, having your face on the side, this reduces it.
3. Ensure you are at a healthy weight – Weight reduction for those carrying excess weight can improve snoring – so much so that in some cases, symptoms can be eliminated.
4. Have a hot shower or bath – This can help to clear the airways, as may a humidifier in the bedroom.
5. Propping up with extra pillows – A more upright position means less pressure on the airway from flesh in the neck, compared to lying flat.
‘The best advice is to try things like extra pillows or sleeping on your side first, then things like losing weight and – although people won’t want to hear it – not drinking after 6pm.’
Snoring, which a survey of 2,000 people by Mute suggests affects 56 per cent of couples where one partner snores, is caused by an obstruction as air passes through the back of the mouth into the windpipe.
It tends to be worse in people who are overweight, as they have more tissue pressing down and blocking their upper airway.
A blocked nose from conditions like hayfever can exacerbate long-term snoring, and alcohol can make the muscles in the airway more floppy, so that they are more likely to vibrate which causes the noise of snoring.
However only nine per cent of snorers surveyed by Mute were prepared not to drink alcohol before bed.
The good news is that the eight per cent who did not drink at all to avoid snoring may not need to do this, with Mr Hobson advising it is not necessary to avoid booze before 6pm.
The survey found 44 per cent of those who snore or live with a snorer are so fed up with the noise, they would do anything do stop it.
People were found to spend an average of £33.20 a year trying to silence the nocturnal noise, but would be willing to spend up to £288 if it meant their snoring would be dealt with forever.
Some of the life hacks identified as having been tried by people may work quite well.
These include using extra pillows, as a more upright position means less pressure on the airway from flesh in the neck, compared to lying flat.
Nasal strips and dilators, or a special mouthguard called a mandibular advancement device may work to get more air in and prevent snoring, as can a saline spray up the nose – with the water clearing the nose and the saline making it sting less.
However decongestants, used as a spray, don’t work long-term, while those smeared on the chest create the illusion of breathing more freely without actually clearing the airways, according to Mr Hobson.
He advises against people taping their mouth or putting a peg on their nose, as potentially dangerous.
Exercise before bed will apparently make no difference,
But a hot bath or shower before bed may help to clear the airways, as may a humidifier in the bedroom.
There is some evidence that throat and singing exercises may strengthen the muscles in the throat to reduce the likelihood of snoring.
TOP HACKS PEOPLE HAVE TRIED TO STOP SNORING
A survey by Mute of more than 2,000 people found 44 per cent of those who snore or live with a snorer are so fed up with the noise, they would do anything do stop it.
The top hacks people have tried to stop snoring include:
1. Using extra pillows
2. Drinking more water
3. Nasal strips/ dilator
4. Nasal spray before bed
5. Avoiding alcohol before bed
6. Avoiding alcohol completely (i.e. not just before bed)
7. Rubbing decongestant onto your chest before bed
8. Hot shower or bath before bed
9. Sleeping sitting up
10. Sleeping the other way round e.g. head at the end of the bed
11. Buying anti-snore pillows
12. Using a mouthguard
13. Saline rinses/ sprays
14. Exercise before bed
15. Eating mints before bed
16. Sipping warm honey and lemon before bed
17. Throat exercises
18. Snoring exercises
19. Wearing an eye mask
20. Drinking alcohol before bed
21. Having a humidifier on
22. Buy a snoring ring that’s meant to stop you snoring
23. Rubbing Vaseline or similar on the tip of your nose
24. Put a tennis ball in your PJs to stop you lying on your back
25. Taping your mouth
26. Putting a peg on your nose
27. Humming/ singing
29. Wearing compression socks
30. Thyme oil on your feet
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