Snoring with an Open Mouth

Causes, Solutions

Snoring with an Open Mouth

Mouth breathing is one of the most common causes of snoring.

If you snore and frequently wake up with a dry mouth and sore throat, it’s likely that mouth breathing was the cause.

 

How mouth breathing can cause snoring

Plenty of snorers have weak jaw muscles or excess weight on their chins that pulls the mouth open whilst they sleep. This causes a troublesome switch to mouth breathing.

Studies have shown that your airway is narrower and more elongated when you breathe through your mouth, making vibrations more likely.

Sleeping with your mouth open aggravates snoring in numerous ways [1]:

The airway is narrowed. An open mouth causes your throat to compress as your tongue falls further back into your airway and the open space behind your tongue and soft palate is reduced.

Inhaled air becomes turbulent. Directly inhaled air vibrates the soft tissues at the back of your mouth

The airway dries out. This is because mouth breathing doesn’t humidify incoming air like nasal breathing does.

You are more susceptible to breathing in harmful things. Unlike nasal breathing, mouth breathing doesn’t trap allergens and bugs which can in turn worsen your snoring.

In addition to snoring, mouth breathing brings other problems that impact upon sleep quality, your breath, oral health, respiratory health and even face shape [2].

Why nasal breathing is important

Whilst mouth breathing is a primary cause for snoring, nasal breathing not only lowers your snoring risk, but has other benefits too.

Snoring reduction

Nasal breathing warms and humidifies incoming air, helping to prevent your airways drying out. It also channels air over your snoring noise-makers in a far less turbulent way than mouth breathing does.

More comfortable sleep

By treating the air, your nose prevents the frequent awakenings you may experience from having a dry mouth.

Enhanced filtration

The mucus and many folds within your nasal cavities do a great job of trapping potentially harmful invaders such as allergens and viruses/bacteria. These, in addition to making you feel terrible, can worsen your snoring.

Proper ventilation

Nasal breathing reduces the chance of hyperventilation – over-breathing with frequent, shallow breaths. Proper ventilation leads to optimum oxygen/carbon dioxide balance, allowing for improved blood oxygen saturation [2].

Enhanced nitric oxide inhalation

Nitric oxide (NO) has often been termed “the mighty molecule” [3]. Produced in the nose and sinuses, nasal breathing helps push this molecule into the lungs where it can exert its benefits. Here, it expands your blood vessels to reduce blood pressure and the associated risks [4]

Solutions if you CAN breathe through your nose

If you can breathe clearly through your nose but aren’t taking advantage of it, there are plenty of ways to keep your mouth closed to stop snoring …

SomniFix Mouth Strips

This innovative snoring solution uses a gentle adhesive to hold your lips together whilst you sleep. SomniFix strips are hypoallergenic, can be painlessly removed without leaving a sticky residue, and have a small mesh vent to allow limited mouth breathing if necessary.

This inexpensive, simple yet sophisticated product has shown to have massive benefits for mouth breathing snorers.

SnoreLab’s full review of SomniFix

Read

Mouth shields

Shields fit behind your lips but in front of your teeth to prevent mouth breathing. Products such as the SnoreLab recommended Somnipax Shield can also be custom molded and have small holes to allow a little mouth breathing if necessary.

Chin straps

Chin straps are another effective, if a little cumbersome, way to keep your mouth closed at night. They are usually worn under your chin and around the top of your head.

Mouthpieces

Mouthpieces can be particularly effective if your snoring is has multiple causes. If mouth breathing plays a role but isn’t the sole cause, mouthpieces not only promote healthier nasal breathing but also bring jaw forward to tighten the slack airway tissue responsible for snoring.

SnoreLab’s full guide to anti-snoring mouthpieces

Read

Tongue retainers

Similar to other anti-snoring mouthpieces, tongue retainers effectively block the mouth breathing route. In addition to this, they also work by holding your tongue forward to prevent it blocking your airway. We recommend the Good Morning Snore Solution for open mouth snorers whose tongues block their airway.

Solutions if you CAN’T breathe through your nose

If you can’t breathe clearly through your nose, for obvious reasons, there is no benefit to blocking the mouth breathing route. Instead, try …

Adequate hydration

Being dehydrated and having a dried airway contributes to thickened mucus which makes the walls of your airway more likely to stick together and make noise. Whilst we don’t recommend drinking loads before bed, make sure you drink plenty throughout the day and avoid salty foods before bed.

Humidifiers

When you are forced into mouth breathing by a blocked nose, humidifiers can provide relief and reduce snoring. They do the job of your nose by adding moisture to the air you breathe. Be sure to have a look at our guide to humidifiers and check out our recommended product.

Nasal treatments

If you are mouth breathing and snoring because your nose is blocked, have a look at our insights into nasal congestion and snoring. There are multiple causes of a blocked nose and many different ways to treat it.

Snoring Due to a Blocked Nose?

Causes, Science

Snoring Due to a Blocked Nose?

A blocked, congested or stuffy nose is one of the leading causes of snoring.

Many snorers will notice that they cannot breathe well through their nose and instead have to breathe via their mouths.

Unblocking your nose can drastically reduce snoring, but which way is best? Nasal obstruction has many causes so there are several different solutions.

Here, we explore the different causes of a blocked nose that could be the root of your snoring:

What could be blocking your nose?

Just as there is no single cause of snoring, many things can cause a blocked nose. Multiple factors can often working in sync with each other to aggravate snoring.

Check to see if you fit the profile for any of these …

1. A cold/illness

The common cold is brought on by a range of viruses that attack the upper respiratory tract. This invasion coupled with your body’s own defense mechanisms cause your nose to swell and become blocked.

Remedy your cold-induced snoring with:

2. Allergy

A leading cause of nasal obstruction and indeed snoring is allergies – particularly dust allergies or the pollen allergy better known as hay fever. This is where your body launches into infection-fighting mode in reaction to harmless things.

As allergens get into the body mainly through the nose, this is the area that is most affected. Heightened blood flow and release of inflammatory molecules make your nose become stuffy.

Snoring related to allergies can be effectively managed using:

  • Neti pots. These use salt water to flush out allergens and soothe inflamed tissue.
  • Air purifiers remove allergens from the air before they get to your nose.
  • Nasal sprays can be medicated or non-medicated. Both aim to reduce inflammation. Mast cell inhibitor sprays are a good preventative measure for hay fever sufferers.
  • Anti-histamines are a type of anti-inflammatory medication commonly used by allergy sufferers.

Read the story of SnoreLab user Jenny, who effectively banished her snoring after treating her dust allergies.

… I recorded my snoring and scored 199 with 70% of my snoring at the epic level. We cleaned, vacuumed and aired the room. I had some allergy medication from the doctor, settled down and WOW! I didn’t snore! …

3. Environmental factors

Fumes from noxious chemicals, smoke (tobacco or otherwise), perfumes and even changes in temperature are some causes of non-allergic rhinitis (rhin = nose, itis = inflammation).

This type of nasal blockage can be chronic, meaning it lingers for a long time and persistently recurs.

If you are exposed to these irritants on a daily basis, you may have lived with a stuffy nose for so long that you don’t even realize it anymore. Perhaps you don’t even factor it in as a cause of your snoring. Think about your day to day life and the things you are exposed to, as certain occupations carry more risk of exposure to these harmful irritants.

The natural environment can also influence snoring. Use SnoreLab to make notes on any stark changes in the weather, as this can certainly play a role in nasal blockage and snoring

Snoring caused by breathing bad air can be improved with the use of:

4. Hormones

Hormones are the body’s chemical messengers. Because they travel in the blood they are capable of reaching everywhere in the body, including the nose.

Hormonal fluctuations are particularly prominent during the menopause, menstruation and pregnancy.

There’s no shortage of changes that take place in the body during pregnancy, and though it may be low on your list of priorities, changes do take place in the nose. With increased blood supply to many parts of the body, up to 42% of pregnant women in their third trimester experience nasal blockage and as many as 49% snore (as opposed to 20% of the general female population) [1].

If hormonal fluctuations are responsible for your blocked nose and snoring, consider using:

5. Alcohol

An alcoholic drink before bed isn’t a great idea for restful or quiet sleep. Snoring is the result of over-relaxed muscles obstructing the airway. As a depressant, alcohol only makes this worse. Additionally, the breakdown of alcohol in the blood produces some transitional chemicals that, before being expelled as waste, can cause nasal congestion [2].

6. Nasal sprays

Using nasal decongestant sprays has proven effective in reducing nasal blockage and in turn, snoring. Whilst some types of nasal spray recommend daily use, the decongestant type (which works by constricting nasal blood vessels) can start to have the opposite effect if overused causing a “rebound effect” [3].

If you are using a nasal spray to treat your allergies, always check what type it is and read the instructions.

7. Medication

A blocked nose can also be triggered by prescription drugs that you may be taking regularly to treat other conditions.

Medication for high blood pressure (ACE inhibitors), heart conditions (beta blockers) and simple over-the-counter pain relief (NSAIDs) can all contribute to stuffing you up.

Have a check in your medicine cupboard if you suspect that your nose is worsening your snoring. This can often be remedied with a non-medicated approach such as a nasal dilator.

8. Physical abnormalities

If inflammation in the nose persists, the nasal folds become damaged and cause a blockage in their own right. Small, benign tissue growths called nasal polyps can develop alongside long-standing allergies, recurring infection or bad reactions to drugs such as aspirin.

The structure of your nose is also important. People with a deviated septum are likely to suffer from nasal blockage. This is where the cartilage separating your nasal cavities is asymmetric, meaning one cavity is larger than the other, with the smaller chamber having the propensity to become blocked.

A deviated septum is often due to facial trauma, though is also associated with certain genetic disorders of connective tissue and birth defects.

Sometimes, a simple nasal dilator can be very effective at relieving snoring caused by nasal tissue abnormalities. See which ones are most suitable for you with our guide to nasal dilators.

The science bit – how does nasal obstruction cause snoring?

Your nose is great, and when it’s working correctly you are unlikely to appreciate the important work it does. Whilst adding warmth and moisture to incoming air, it also uses mucus to trap harmful invaders and channels air through your upper airway efficiently and silently.

Snoring with a partially blocked nose

Trying to breathe through a blocked nose is uncomfortable. If you can just about manage it, the whistling or popping noise you get, whilst not the textbook definition of a snore, is still incredibly bothersome and would benefit from some attention.

A typical snore is still possible with a closed mouth. If you breathe through partially blocked nose, greater suction forces are created that can cause your throat to collapse and bring on snoring where your uvula and soft palate start to flap [4].

Snoring with a fully blocked nose

Usually, with a stuffy nose you simply aren’t getting enough air into your lungs through this narrowed space. This is when you need to go to breathing plan B, through the mouth.

Unfortunately, mouth breathing is a leading cause of snoring.

Opening your mouth whilst you sleep results in some changes to the shape of your airways, particularly the soft tissue “noise makers” that are responsible for snoring. Sleeping with your mouth dangling open is known to aggravate snoring for numerous reasons [5]:

  • An open mouth causes your throat to compress
  • Your tongue falls further back into your mouth
  • The open space behind your tongue and soft palate is reduced
  • Directly inhaled air vibrates the soft tissues at the back of your mouth
  • Your throat dries out from breathing in non-humidified air
  • Mouth breathing doesn’t filter allergens and bugs.

Conclusion

For some, a blocked nose is the sole cause of snoring, for others, the picture is bigger. Understanding what role your nose has in snoring and identifying the cause can set you well on your way to tailoring the correct remedies to your snoring and achieving quieter nights.

For more information about the best snoring remedies for a blocked nose, read our full article.

SomniFix Mouth Strips Review

Product Reviews, Solutions

SomniFix Mouth Strips Review

SomniFix Mouth Strips are an innovative new product for promoting healthy and quiet nasal breathing to stop your snoring.

Breathing through your mouth is one of the most common causes of snoring. If you’re snoring and find yourself waking up with a dry mouth and sore throat, it’s likely that mouth breathing was the cause. Breathing correctly sounds simple, but many of us are getting it wrong and snoring as a result.

This simple sleep therapy discourages noisy mouth breathing, giving you a quieter and more peaceful night’s sleep.

What are SomniFix Mouth Strips?

SomniFix Mouth Strips are single-use adhesive strips worn on your lips during sleep. By holding your lips together and gently supporting your jaw, air is channeled through the nose, reducing the likelihood of airway blockage and snoring.

These strips have some useful features that we believe can make them a key-player in the anti-snoring market:

  • Gentle adhesive that is easily pulled apart if necessary
  • Small mesh vent allowing some mouth breathing
  • Hypoallergenic material
  • Health benefits beyond snoring reduction

Mouth taping is a known snoring prevention technique, but SomniFix have engineered a superior, next-generation product that is far more comfortable, effective and less frightening than basic taping alternatives.

SomniFix’s specifically developed adhesive is gentle enough to be painless when removed from the lips, yet strong enough to hold the mouth shut properly. The hypoallergenic, sterile material is kind to delicate skin on your lips, as well as having a small mesh vent that allows limited mouth breathing if necessary.

Why you need to shut your mouth!

Many of us have weak jaw muscles or excess weight on our chins that pulls our mouths open whilst we sleep, causing a troublesome switch to mouth breathing. Sleeping with your mouth dangling open is known to aggravate snoring for numerous reasons [1]:

  • An open mouth causes your throat to compress
  • Your tongue falls further back into your airway
  • The open space behind your tongue and soft palate is reduced
  • Directly inhaled air vibrates the soft tissues at the back of your mouth
  • Your throat dries out from breathing in non-humidified air
  • Mouth breathing doesn’t filter allergens and bugs

As well as snoring, oral breathing brings other problems that impact upon sleep quality, bad breath, oral health, respiratory health and even face shape [2].

SomniFix shuts your mouth and addresses these problems.

Benefits of using SomniFix

Inhaling through the nose is our body’s preferred way to breathe. Keeping your mouth closed with SomniFix not only helps to reduce snoring but also yields other health benefits and tops it all off with a good night’s sleep.

1. Reduced snoring

At SnoreLab, reducing your snoring is our primary concern. Open-mouth breathing’s association with snoring is stark; it is one of the main causes of noisy nocturnal breathing.

By holding your lips together, SomniFix Mouth Strips keep your airway less obstructed by stopping your jaw dropping that causes parts of your throat to narrow and become blocked.

Just look at the difference in Snore Score when using SomniFix from this Amazon review …

“SomniFix reduced my snoring significantly. My wife is very happy. On the first night I used them, she was worried that I was so quiet during the night!”

2. Less discomfort and better sleep

SomniFix Mouth Strips help you to embrace the filtration and humidifying qualities of your nose. Proper breathing can eliminate that uncomfortable dry mouth, bad breath, sore throat, stuffy nose and headache.

Having a comfortable night gives you more restful and continuous sleep. Better sleep equals better health.

3. Improved use of CPAP

A CPAP mask that fits over your nose ceases to work if your mouth falls open. That air is simply jettisoned out of your mouth instead of holding your airway open as it should.

SomniFix mouth strips keep your mouth closed and allow the nasal CPAP devices to work better, making you more likely to stick to your CPAP treatment. They are a great alternative to the cumbersome chin straps that sometimes come with CPAP devices, because with CPAP you already have enough straps to worry about.

4. Reduced chance of infection and allergies

The mucus and folds in your nose trap harmful invaders. When breathing through your mouth, you increase the chance of inhaling bugs and allergens which can trigger the vicious circle of a blocked nose and oral breathing [2].

5. Proper ventilation and gas exchange

Nasal breathing reduces the chance of hyperventilation (over-breathing with frequent, shallow breaths). Proper ventilation leads to optimum oxygen/carbon dioxide balance, allowing for improved blood oxygen saturation [2].

6. Enhanced nitric oxide inhalation

Nitric oxide (NO) has been championed as the “mighty molecule” [3]. The discovery of its benefits in the body even won the Nobel Prize!

Produced in the nose and sinuses, it helps to expand the lower airways and blood vessels. Nasal breathing helps push this mighty molecule into the lungs where it can work its magic. By acting to expand your blood vessels, high blood pressure and the associated risks are reduced [4].

Why don’t I just use normal tape?

Using standard tape can hold your mouth closed too strongly and cause panic if you awake forgetting that you’ve applied it. Whilst it may serve a purpose overnight, taking it off in the morning can be painful and leave nasty marks.

SomniFix’s hypoallergenic material has undergone extensive testing to make sure it doesn’t cause skin irritation, whilst the adhesive is gentle and leaves no residue.

SomniFix Mouth Strips also painlessly dislodge through forcibly opening your mouth and have a small breathing vent if you need to revert slightly to mouth breathing.

This small hole not only gives you peace of mind, but also mimics the benefits of nasal breathing if you do happen to start breathing through your mouth.

Are SomniFix Mouth Strips suitable for everyone?

If you find yourself persistently waking with a dry mouth or sore throat, chances are, you’re a mouth breather and snoring as a result. SomniFix Mouth Strips are likely to be beneficial in addressing this bad breathing habit.

However, they aren’t suitable for everybody; you shouldn’t use them if you have any of the following:

  • Trouble with nasal breathing
  • Obesity (BMI more than 35)
  • Badly chapped lips
  • Consumed alcohol or sedatives before bed
  • Infections or sinus problems
  • Chronic breathing issues
  • Low blood pressure

Conclusion

SomniFix Mouth Strips are a sophisticated and comfortable solution to a common cause of snoring: mouth breathing. We at SnoreLab think these strips have the potential to become one of the first-choice solutions in the anti-snoring market. Transcending the homemade hack solution of mouth taping, SomniFix Mouth Strips are an advanced snoring remedy available at an affordable price.

 

Shop for SomniFix on Amazon

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Is Snoring Genetic?

Science

Is Snoring Genetic?

Is snoring genetic? Questions in life rarely have a definitive answer, and this is no exception. Here, the answer is an unsatisfying “yes and no”. There is a genetic connection, but not a direct cause.

Your DNA can increase the risk of snoring but won’t condemn you to a certain life of nocturnal noises.

My family snores. Am I doomed?

Multiple studies have found that coming from a family of snorers confers a 3-fold increased risk of snoring yourself [1]. This is due to a number of different inherited features but there is no such thing as a “snoring gene”.

There is also some research to suggest that an increased risk of obstructive sleep apnea can be inherited [2].

But fear not – if your whole family snores, whilst you may have to work a little harder to make sure that you don’t, you are far from doomed!

What heritable traits can make you snore?

Cranio-facial features

A predisposition for snoring can come from certain structural features in your face and airways.

Physical characteristics like your eye colour, height and skin tone are inherited from your parents. The same is true of the features that can make you snore.

The usual anatomical culprits for snoring are:

  • Small nostrils
  • Receded chin (known as retrognathia)
  • Small jaw (known as micrognathia)
  • Narrow airway
  • Large tongue
  • Large soft palate

All of these factors decrease the size of your airway and disrupt airflow therefore making snoring more likely.

If your snoring can be attributed to a distinct anatomical feature, it can usually be helped with standard anti-snoring remedies. Sometimes, if the abnormality is particularly pronounced, corrective surgery could be a solution.

Weight

Obesity is a key risk factor in snoring and obstructive sleep apnea.

Basically, the heavier you are, the more likely you are to snore.

Less clear is how much your genes are to blame. In some cases, yes, being overweight does seem to run in families, but it is the subject of much debate as to whether this is the result of nature or nurture.

The likely answer is, again, probably somewhere in the middle …

Physiological factors that dictate weight can indeed be inherited genetically. Appetite is regulated by a system of hormones and signals in the body which are ultimately controlled by a series of underlying genes.

On the other hand, attitudes to food, diet and weight are learned from the behaviours and views of the people around us. This can include our family or simply the society and culture we live in.

Conclusion

There are lots of factors that influence snoring, and it would appear that your DNA is one of them. It’s important to remember that this is only an influence and not a sentence to an eternity of snoring.

So if your mum and dad compete for the best (or worst) Snore Score, you need not worry. You can’t control your genes, but you can control a lot of other factors that contribute to your snoring. Try to understand your triggers and the solutions that work for you.

If you don’t know where to start, have a look at our 7 recommended lifestyle factors that can make huge differences to your snoring.

Stop Snoring with these 7 Effective Snoring Remedies

Solutions

Seven Effective Snoring Remedies

No single snoring remedy works for everyone. This is because there are many different causes of snoring. Here are SnoreLab’s seven most effective snoring remedies that have been shown to help many of our users stop snoring …

1. Specialist pillows

A great, non-invasive snoring aid is a specially designed anti-snoring pillow. There are numerous pillow designs that combat snoring in different ways:

Pillows to encourage side sleeping – side sleeping is one of the most effective ways to reduce snoring. It’s not an easy thing to do if you are used to sleeping on your back, so pillows with ridges can be the answer. Check out our recommendation.

CPAP pillows have ergonomically designed cut-outs that accommodate the mask and hose of a CPAP device to prevent pressure on your face, accidental removal or misalignment that could cause air leakage.

Realignment pillows align your head and neck properly to prevent airway compression. The “cervical repositioning” technique can improve snoring and give better, more comfortable sleep. We really like the UTTU Bamboo Sandwich Pillow.

We highly recommend …

Foam wedge pillows are ideal if you always revert to sleeping on your back. Back sleepers are more at risk of snoring due to the weight of the tissue around your airway compressing it. Raising your head slightly, like with a wedge pillow, has shown to have dramatic benefits for so many SnoreLab users. One user – Fiona – saw instant benefits in head elevation with a specialist pillow, you can read her story here.

 

SnoreLab’s guide to anti-snoring pillows

Check out

2. Smart Nora

 

The Smart Nora system is a revolutionary, smart, non-invasive snoring solution unlike any other. It is great for the snorer who has tried everything and could well be the last snoring aid you buy.

“Several times, my scores were off the charts compared to other users, but with Smart Nora, they dropped off incredibly.”

Smart Nora manipulates your normal pillow. Simply slot the inflatable expander under your pillow and fall asleep. When the detector unit hears snoring, it remotely activates the expander to inflate which gently moves your head to bring back muscular tone to your airways and stop snoring.

Smart Nora tackles snoring unlike any other snoring aid. Smart Nora gets to the root of snoring and addresses the common denominator: your relaxed airway. Because all snorers have a relaxed airway to some extent, Smart Nora is suitable for a range of snorers:

SnoreLab has teamed up with Smart Nora to get our users $20 off their purchase with the code NOSNORE20.
Save $20 with code NOSNORE20.

 

SnoreLab’s full review of Smart Nora

Read

3. Mouthpieces

Anti-snoring mouthpieces are an effective solution for around 50% of snorers. One such type is a mandibular advancement device (MAD). This brings your lower jaw forward to tighten the tissues in your airway that are prone to slacking and making a snoring noise. MADs are a good snoring aid for:

There are many different types of MAD available so finding the right one can be a bit confusing. To get the best quality we recommend getting a mouthpiece custom fitted by a dentist, though this can be quite expensive.

You can still find great quality mouthpieces without paying loads for a custom-made one. When buying a generic mouthpiece online, we recommend adjustable mouthpieces or ones that come in different sizes; this will allow you to ease yourself into using the device and is less likely to cause discomfort.

 

SnoreLab’s full guide to anti-snoring mouthpieces

Read

There are three MADs that get our seal of approval:

ZQuiet

This mouthpiece is thin, lightweight, comes in two different sizes and crucially allows some lateral jaw movement for added comfort. Find out more or read the full review.

 

Save $10 with unique SnoreLab code

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SnoreRx

A top quality mouthpiece with custom moulding trays, one-millimeter adjustments and medical-grade materials. Find out more or read the full review.

 

Save 10% with code:

SNORELAB

VitalSleep

Adjustable, two different sizes and slimline – this mouthpiece ticks a lot of boxes. Find out more.

 

Other types of mouthpiece can also combat one of the most common causes of snoring: your tongue. These “tongue retainers” suck onto the end of your tongue to stop it falling back into your airway where it can cause obstruction.

We recommend the Good Morning Snore Solution. Unlike some MADs, it doesn’t cause any jaw discomfort and doesn’t require any special fitting. It can help snoring for:

  • People whose snoring has worsened with age
  • Nighttime mouth breathers
  • People who sleep on their back
  • Mild to moderate sleep apnea sufferers

 

More about the Good Morning Snore Solution

Read

 

4. Air purifiers and humidifiers

Breathing clean, moist air is an important step towards banishing snoring.

Air purifiers can help snoring triggered by allergies and pollution. Irritants and allergens can inflame our upper airways which leads to stuffy noses and swollen throats, increasing resistance to the air we breathe.

Air purifiers can be an ideal snoring solution for snorers who:

When purchasing an air purifier, look out for the type of filter and what size particles it can eliminate. Also pay attention to how much noise the unit makes and if it can be easily moved around the house. We like the Levoit Compact HEPA air purifier because it is portable, quiet, safe and effective, with a shape that attracts air from all angles.

“My husband snores much, much less since we started using this purifier. Very high quality and effective!”

 

SnoreLab’s full guide to anti-snoring air purifiers

Read

Humidifiers add moisture to dry air. This can be a great snoring aid for snorers who:

There are two main types of air purifier: cold mist and warm mist. Both types will suitably humidify the air in your room. At SnoreLab, we like the warm mist option because:

  • The heat kills potentially harmful bacteria that can build up in the unit.
  • The mist can be medicated with various aromatherapies.
  • Warm air simulates the properties of your nose.

 

SnoreLab’s recommended warm mist humidifier

Check out

5. SomniFix mouth strips

This simple, cheap and non-invasive remedy discourages noisy, unhealthy mouth breathing by gently holding your lips together, forcing you to breathe through your nose.

“SomniFix reduced my snoring significantly. My wife is very happy. On the first night I used them, she was worried that I was so quiet during the night!”

Breathing through your mouth is one of the most common causes of snoring; it compresses your throat, forces your tongue further back into your airway which reduces space and increases resistance.

As well showing great results for stopping snoring, encouraging nasal breathing with SomniFix also has other health benefits; giving you better sleep and reducing the chance of infection and allergies.

 

More about SomniFix mouth strips

Read

6. Neti pots

A must-have for anyone who is routinely congested and deals with snoring, neti pots are a great, natural way to clear your blocked nasal passages. With a neti pot, you pour salt water into your nostrils to flush out what is blocking your nose, soothing the aggravated tissue.

“This neti pot is awesome. My wife snores like a saw mill. Her snoring has been reduced by 80%. I now sleep very well.”

Flushing your nasal passages with a neti pot removes allergens and irritants, clears excess mucus and alleviates your inflamed nose. We highly recommend them for:

  • People who suffer from dust or pollen allergies
  • Seasonal colds
  • Snorers who live in environments with poor air quality
  • People with chronic sinus issues

 

SnoreLab’s recommended neti pot starter kit

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7. Nasal dilators

A blocked nose is the trigger for many people’s snoring. A popular, non-medicated option for treating nasal blockage-related snoring is to use a nasal dilator. They have many advantages over other anti-snoring aids:

  • They are non-medicated, meaning they don’t produce nasty side-effects, and can be used by most people.
  • Nasal dilators provide instantaneous relief.
  • Nasal dilators are non-invasive and relatively comfortable.
  • They do not become less effective with continued use.
  • Nasal dilators are very affordable.

Nasal dilators mechanically open your nasal passageways. There are two main types:

  • External nasal strips that stick on the bridge of your nose
  • Internal nasal dilators that widen your nostrils

External nasal dilators open the narrowest part of your nose, the nasal valve. The strips contain bands of rigid plastic that when bent over the nose, recoil outwards, using this “springboard effect” to pull your nasal passages open.

“Big snorer for decades. SnoreLab helped me analyze patterns and review remedies. I use a nasal dilator now … no more snoring!”

Internal nasal dilators or nasal stents come in all shapes and sizes. They reduce airflow resistance by propping open your nostrils.

Nasal dilators are only effective for about 20% of snorers but have shown great results for:

 

SnoreLab’s guide to nasal dilators

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Conclusion

Snoring is complicated; it is unlikely that there is only one cause of your snoring. Typically, one remedy alone won’t 100% cure you. The best snoring reduction method usually involves a combination of anti-snoring remedies and positive lifestyle changes.

SnoreLab user Michael has fine tuned his anti-snoring approach over time with our app, using a combination of head elevation, nasal dilation, side sleeping as well as keeping in general health. Michael is someone who understands his snoring and the best way to tackle it. You can read his story here.

 

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Stop Snoring Naturally with these 7 Effective Lifestyle Changes

Diet & Lifestyle, Solutions

Seven Lifestyle Changes to Stop Snoring Naturally

We found that more of our users prefer to help their snoring naturally with lifestyle changes as opposed to trying consumer anti-snoring remedies. But what are their techniques? What changes can you make that truly have a positive impact on your snoring? Here are SnoreLab’s seven recommendations …

1. Sleep on your side

One of the simplest ways to combat your snoring is to make sure you sleep on your side.

Sleeping on your back makes you far more likely to snore or experience sleep apnea; here, your jaw recedes, your tongue falls back, and weight on your neck compresses your upper airway. All of these disturb airflow and cause vibration [1].

There are several ways to get yourself sleeping on your side:

  • Use pillows effectively. You can buy specialist pillows that promote side sleeping or you can use normal pillows to prop yourself up to prevent you rolling onto your back.
  • Make back sleeping difficult. The well-known method amongst many back-sleeping snorers is to tape a tennis ball to the back of your pajamas so that sleeping on your back is uncomfortable and practically impossible.
  • Positional trainers. There are devices that detect when you are sleeping on your back and give a small vibration which tells your subconscious mind that it is time to turn over.

 

More about promoting side sleeping

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2. Lose weight

Weight loss is one of the most potent remedies for snoring.

If you are overweight, dropping only a few pounds can set you well on your way to stopping snoring. Studies have shown that losing 10-15% of your body weight can half your sleep apnea severity [2].

 

Lose weight using SnoreLab’s SMART strategy

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Weight has such an influence on snoring because neck fat directly compresses your upper airway. Additionally, fat on your midriff pushes your diaphragm up, shrinking your residual lung volume and making your airway more prone to collapse [3].

Losing weight needs to be sustainable. This means no drastic solutions, just sensible techniques that you can easily stick with. We recommend the following:

  • Reduce your carbohydrate intake. Monitor the amount of carbs you eat and make smart substitutions.
  • Eat little and often. Big meals make you feels sluggish and less inclined to do the necessary activity to lose weight effectively.
  • Slow down. Digestion has a natural delay where we are physically full before our brain realizes we are. This can make us overeat. Enjoy your meal more and recognize when you are full by slowing down.

 

More about snoring’s link with bodyweight

Find out

3. Clean your surroundings

Dust and pollen can get trapped everywhere in your home, triggering allergies, a blocked nose and ultimately snoring.

To stop allergies ruining you and your partner’s sleep, try the following techniques:

  • Wash your bedding. Soft materials are great at trapping allergens. When your allergies are particularly bad, hot washes can be effective at removing these snoring triggers.
  • Regularly and thoroughly vacuum. As well as cleaning those easy to reach places, remember to occasionally vacuum those places that don’t see much action as this are ideal places for pollen and dust to lurk.
  • Consider alternatives to your soft furnishings. Soft drapes/curtains and carpets are great at trapping allergens that can kick start your snoring. Hard floor and blinds are easier to clean and less likely to aggravate allergies.
  • Shower/bathe before bed and quarantine the clothes you step out of. Pollen can easily stick to your skin, hair and clothing. Showering rids your body of this as well as setting you up for a great night’s sleep.

 

More about dust allergies and snoring

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and hay fever

4. Kick the habits

Smoking, alcohol consumption and to an extent, caffeine can all influence snoring.

Smoking or living in a smoky environment can trigger snoring. This is because exposure to smoke can increase mucus production and aggravate the tissues in your nose and throat. This causes a narrowing of your airway and potential obstruction.

Alcohol is a depressant. This means it enhances the relaxation in your airways, compounding the already slack airways we all have during sleep. It also disrupts your normal sleep patterns which can make you feel more tired the next day, all having knock-on effects on your snoring.

Caffeine is a stimulant. If consumed too close to bedtime, it disturbs normal sleep patterns and increases your level of activity which can make you more susceptible to snoring.

5. Exercise your snoring muscles

Exercising the muscles in your mouth, tongue and throat can help to reduce snoring.

Weakness in these muscles is known to make your airway slacken and bring on snoring.

In a study in 2006, patients with sleep apnea swapped their CPAP at night for didgeridoo lessons in the day, giving their mouth, tongue and throat a good workout. They saw amazing results; significantly reducing their apnea severity, feeling less sleepy during the day and disturbing their partners less [4].

Many studies have since taken these principles and formulated a set of exercises for your mouth, throat and tongue. Try the following exercises once a day, 20 times for each:

  • Slide the tip of your tongue backwards along your hard palate as far back as it will go.
  • Press your tongue flat against the roof of your mouth and suck it upwards.
  • Force the back of your tongue against the floor of your mouth whilst the tip remains in contact with the lower incisors.
  • Pull your cheek out with your finger, pull your cheek back inwards against the force of your finger using the muscles in your mouth.
  • Elevate your uvula by sounding and holding “aahh”.

It might all sound a bit strange, but consider that research has shown that people who regularly perform these exercises significantly reduce their snoring frequency and intensity, cut their apneic episodes in half and report feeling less tired [5].

 

More about mouth exercises for snoring

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6. Stay hydrated

Not drinking enough water may aggravate snoring as it can irritate the tissues in your throat.

Dehydration also thickens the mucus in your airways, making the surfaces more likely to stick together causing obstruction and snoring, especially if you sleep with an open mouth.

Something as simple as keeping on top of your water intake can have benefits for your snoring.

7. Practise good sleep hygiene

Having good sleep makes you feel readier to make the changes necessary to combat snoring.

This is an indirect solution, but one that can really improve your sleep health and snoring. Try the following tips to sleep better:

  • Have regular bed times
  • Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep
  • Make sure your room is dark
  • Mentally declutter with gentle activity before bed, such as reading a book
  • Avoid napping too soon before bedtime
  • Have a cool bedroom
  • Take a shower or bath before bed
  • Don’t force sleep if it’s not forthcoming

Conclusion

Because snoring is more complicated than many of us appreciate, one thing alone might not completely cure your snoring. Often, the best anti-snoring tactic is to combine well-matched remedies with positive lifestyle changes. We’ve heard stories from our users who put this combination therapy to very good use, you can read one of these stories here.

Anti-Snoring Pillows

Solutions

Anti-Snoring Pillows

Can a pillow really stop your snoring? What types of anti-snoring pillow are available and which one is best for you?

Addressing the problems with your sleeping position is a great excuse to invest in a new pillow. There are many specialist pillows available that are designed to stop your snoring in different ways, so it’s best to do some research first.

First, ask yourself what you want the pillow to do. There are many different types with a variety of functions:

A bad sleeping position massively increases your risk of snoring. If you sleep on your back, gravity compresses your airway and sends your tongue and jaw backwards, all leading to a greater chance of obstruction and noise.

Though they are effective for many people, specialist pillows don’t work for everybody. If you have obstructive sleep apnea, pillows are only usually effective if you have the mild or moderate form.

1. Pillows to encourage side sleeping

Some pillows have ridges to encourage users to roll onto their side like the Posiform Anti-Snore pillow (pictured).

These have proven effective in clinical trials through reducing snoring and apnea events triggered by back-sleeping [1].

“[Using a head positioning pillow] both snoring severity and snoring index were found to be significantly improved in normal-weight patients.”

Many people unaccustomed to sleeping on their side find it uncomfortable. Some pillows address this and promote side sleeping with a triangular shape, or by allowing you to insert your arm into a hole built into it.

Not all pillows have to be for your head. Anti-snoring back pillows that behave like a backpack can also be very effective at preventing you from rolling onto your back.Sometimes, clever configuration of normal pillows can help you to sleep on your side. Read Michael’s story, a SnoreLab user who came up with a creative way of using a camping pillow to keep him sleeping on his side.

2. Wedge pillows


“Though experimenting with SnoreLab, I’ve found that by simply raising my head with a wedge pillow, I can cut my snoring by more than half!”
If you always revert to sleeping on your back, fear not. A foam wedge pillow allows you to sleep on your back whilst effectively reducing your snoring.

Wedge pillows prevent you from being entirely flat – the position where your airway is most prone to obstruction and snoring.

Studies have found that even slightly elevating your head can have dramatic effects on both snoring and sleep apnea, with patients showing an average 32% reduction in their AHI score [2].

Indeed, our own findings back this up. SnoreLab has found that the humble wedge pillow can yield dramatic reductions in Snore Score.

 

Read Fiona’s story, a SnoreLab user who dramatically improved her snoring after we recommended her a wedge pillow.

Many other users have also contacted us about their wedge pillows. We received this App Store review:

“When I first started using SnoreLab, my Snore Score was anywhere between 50 and 96. I started to try some of the different remedies. So I bought a wedge pillow and in one night my Snore Score went down to near zero and has stayed near zero ever since using the pillow. I had seen three doctors, two specialists, one dentist and had a sleep study conducted – they all pointed me to dental appliances which I had trouble wearing. No one had suggested a wedge pillow. Thank you SnoreLab!”

Side note: wedge pillows also help acid reflux

Reflux is where stomach acid comes back into your esophagus and throat causing irritation, disrupting sleep and sometimes influencing snoring in the case of “airway reflux”. If you suspect reflux has a part to play in your snoring, make sure you check out our four-hour-fast technique to your evening meal worsening youre snoring.

 

Shop for SnoreLab recommended

Memory Foam Wedge Pillows

3. CPAP mask pillows

CPAP pillows have cutaways in the sides allowing space for CPAP masks. These significantly improve the comfort of wearing a CPAP mask by lessening the pressure and misalignment that a standard pillow can cause.

Whilst these pillows don’t show a direct impact on apnea reduction [3], they can make wearing a CPAP mask much more comfortable.

The indirect benefits of this are massive; one of the main problems with CPAP is that people don’t stick to it. This bit of added comfort can make the difference between giving up or persisting.

 

Shop for SnoreLab recommended

CPAP pillows

4. Realignment pillows

“This pillow is amazing! Not only is it comfortable and helped my neck pain and headaches, but it has reduced the snoring too!”

Many people sleep with a pillow that puts their head either too high or too low which can cause plenty of niggling problems.

There are multiple pillows available that align the head and neck correctly to prevent airway compression. This “cervical positioning” technique can improve snoring as well as producing better sleep and reducing awakenings [4].

 

Shop for SnoreLab’s recommended

Cervical repositioning pillows

5. Smart pillows

 

“This product is amazing, it really works to cut snoring. Several times, my scores were off the charts compared to other users, but with Smart Nora, they dropped off incredibly!”

 

Smart pillows detect snoring and act to stop it. Some pillows vibrate, effectively becoming a snore alarm, whereas others move to stimulate your airways.

A revolutionary new system is the Smart Nora device.

This isn’t actually a pillow. Instead, it manipulates your current pillow. It consists of three main parts: an inflatable insert that fits underneath your ordinary pillow, a pump and a bedside unit (pebble) that listens for snoring.

When you snore, the pebble detects this sound and sends information to the insert which then inflates under your pillow. This gently moves your head, bringing back some muscular tone to your airways so they can open up, shutting down snoring. It does this all whilst keeping you and your partner undisturbed and sleeping peacefully.

 

Full review of Smart Nora

Read

Remember, you can save $20 with the code

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Conclusion

Bad breathing and the snoring it brings can be the result of bad sleeping positions. If you consider that snoring is a problem with your head and neck, it makes sense to address the thing your head and neck are resting on for one third of your life!

By using SnoreLab to gain insights into your snoring, you should have a good idea of what you want a pillow to do. Whether you want to turn onto your side, stay on your back, get better comfort from a CPAP mask or just sleep more comfortably, there are huge selection of pillows to choose from the could make a huge difference to your snoring.

The Architecture of Sleep

Science, Sleep

The Architecture of Sleep

If you have ever been suddenly woken up, deep into the night, you’ll know it’s a very disorientating experience. When you wake up naturally, you rouse gently in a less confused state. This is because in these separate instances you have woken up in different stages of sleep.

Sleep has two main states, these are crudely defined by the movement of our eyes (but actually have a lot more important qualities and differences):

  • Non-rapid eye movement (NREM)
  • Rapid eye movement (REM)

Having the correct proportions of each of these types is important to getting good and restful sleep.

The Sleep Cycle

Going from being awake to sleeping isn’t like flicking a simple on/off switch. Sleep has different stages and depths where your brain and body go through specific motions.

Within the seven to eight hours that we should be sleeping, we cycle through these NREM and REM stages in ninety-minute blocks …

  • To start, we initially plunge quickly through the stages of NREM sleep and trundle along in deep sleep.
  • After a while, we climb back into lighter NREM, eventually spending some time in REM.
  • We then drop back into deep sleep again at the start of the next ninety-minute cycle.
  • For every cycle, an increasing amount of time is dedicated to REM sleep, creating an asymmetric pattern.

But what happens during these phases, and why are they necessary?

NREM vs. REM Sleep

NREM Sleep

Stage 1 – this is light sleep, the first destination after wakefulness with tiny dream-like thoughts and easy arousal back to being awake.

Stage 2 – here, breathing slows and body temperature drops.

Stages 3 and 4 –this is deep sleep. Any sound, touch or light from the outside world is tightly controlled, with entry to the brain blocked. This is why it is hard to rouse someone from deep sleep.

This is an important stage for growing and repairing the body, increasing blood flow to various tissues, releasing important hormones and re-energizing.

The brain is reviewing the information that it has received throughout the day. Without the mental chatter of consciousness, our brain waves are long, slow and coordinated.

This pattern allows effective communication between different brain regions. Information is selected and pruned to form memories; the important memories being retained by creation of pathways in the brain, whilst needless ones are discarded from our temporary and fragile short-term storage.

REM Sleep

REM sleep is our dreaming sleep. Despite being asleep, our brain activity is very similar to when we are awake – lots of action; short, sharp and cluttered waves of electrical activity.

The exact functions of REM sleep are still not fully understood, but it is thought to be important in memory formation and learning. The memories selected in NREM sleep are now played back to us, helping us contextualize, learn and integrate them into the real world.

Despite being close to waking, our bodies are completely still, a mechanism to prevent us from turning this pseudo-consciousness into potentially risky sleep-walking or acting out dreams.

When deprived of REM sleep, both mental and physical dysfunction ensues. Indeed, when falling asleep after a period of REM deprivation, our sleep cycle patterns shift to snatch back as much of it as possible, favoring longer periods of REM sleep [1].

Side note: Extreme sleep deprivation and REM

In 1959, radio presenter Peter Tripp staged a “Wakeathon” as a publicity stunt. He stayed awake and on-air for 200 hours straight. As he became more and more sleep deprived, his brain started to enter REM sleep whilst being awake – he was dreaming with his eyes open. Tripp started to think he was an imposter of himself. During a bathroom break he opened a drawer which spat out flames, and he thought his assistants were conspirators trying to frame him for a crime he didn’t commit.

Where does snoring come into this?

There are no definitive rules as to when snoring and sleep apnea occur during the sleep cycle, but studies have found certain trends. It is thought that regular snoring occurs more during NREM sleep. This would explain why snorers don’t wake themselves up with the sound of their own snoring.

Obstructive sleep apnea is commonly associated with REM sleep [2], despite this some studies have found just as many cases of worsened apnea during NREM sleep [3].

Snoring During Pregnancy

Causes, Science

Snoring During Pregnancy

It is estimated that as many as 49% of pregnant women snore, many of them having never snored before [1].

This goes against the rule that women naturally snore less than men. In the general population, around 20% of women across all ages snore, with even fewer of child-bearing age doing so.

“At nine-months pregnant, I have been keeping my poor partner awake with my late-night nasal symphony.”

Amongst the medley of changes happening during pregnancy, your new-found snoring is probably low on your list of priorities. But if you are pregnant and have recently found yourself snoring, you may have questions and concerns: why is it happening, is it something to be worried about and what can you do to stop it? Let SnoreLab talk you through it …

Why does snoring increase during pregnancy?

It is perfectly normal to snore whilst pregnant. Swelling in your upper airway, weight gain and breathing for two all work together to make you more likely to snore …

Blood

By the third trimester, your blood plasma volume is 40-50% more than it was before you were pregnant. On average, that is another liter and a quarter [2], or roughly 2 pints!

This is necessary to meet the increased demands of growing a human. It is also to protect you from potential blood-loss in labor. In the meantime, this vast expansion in blood volume has some swelling effects on much of your body, including the areas responsible for snoring.

Your airway becomes increasingly engorged with blood which causes it to narrow. This means the air passing through has more resistance. Additionally, you may notice that your nose has become quite congested. 42% of women in their third trimester have pregnancy-rhinitis, or nasal swelling [3]. This can cause you to breathe through your mouth and snore as a result.

“I am nearly nine-months pregnant and for months I have been suffering with even more nasal congestion than usual.”

Weight

Weight gain during pregnancy changes the way you breathe. As your uterus expands, it pushes upwards as well as outwards, meaning your diaphragm is pushed up too. This creates a lower residual volume in the lungs which can predispose your throat to obstruction and snoring [1].

Breathing changes

When pregnant, not only are you eating for two, you are also breathing for two! Pregnancy induces some subtle changes in the way you breathe: increasing the respiratory drive and the amount of air you breathe in an out within a given time. This can create negative pressures which lead to snoring [1].

Should you be worried about snoring during pregnancy?

There is some research out there to suggest that pregnant snorers are at greater risk of complications compared to pregnant women who don’t snore. But don’t panic. These are links, not direct causes and can often be associated with issues other than normal pregnancy-onset snoring.

Two studies by a team of US scientists in 2012 [4] and 2013 [5] found that snoring expectant mothers were at greater risk of:

  • Pre-eclampsia – a condition characterized by high blood pressure and proteins in the urine.
  • Having labor complications that necessitated a Caesarean section.
  • Babies having a low birth weight.

The important thing to note here is that these studies talk about “chronic snorers”. This refers to women who snored a lot before they were pregnant. If you are new to the snoring game since becoming pregnant, you needn’t worry.

Pregnant women who snore shouldn’t be overly concerned about these findings. Every woman is different, and whilst these studies attempted to adjust their methods in order to look at snoring alone, other health factors are bound to have an effect.

Indeed, being obese before pregnancy, having chronic conditions of the upper airway and smoking heighten women’s risk of snoring when pregnant. If these factors are applicable to you and your snoring has got much worse since becoming pregnant, it might be advisable to seek some guidance.

If you are concerned about your snoring, experience excessive daytime tiredness or think you are having apneic events, consult your antenatal care provider.

What can you do to stop pregnancy-induced snoring?

The good news is that if you have started snoring since becoming pregnant, it is very likely that once you have given birth, the snoring will stop.

In the meantime, as you navigate though the complexity of pregnancy, to give yourself one less thing to worry about and reduce your snoring, you can try a few things …

  • Try nasal dilators – these are non-medicated so you needn’t worry about them being suitable for pregnant women. These simple devices either fit into your nostrils, or across the bridge of your nose. Here, they gently open your nasal passages and reduce snoring associated with a blocked nose.

“Pregnant ladies, these are your cure to breathing again until the baby comes!”

  • Sleep on your side – sleeping on your back is known to compress your airway and make snoring much worse. Regardless of snoring, side-sleeping is a good idea as you progress through pregnancy as it ensures adequate blood flow to your baby [6].
  • Eat properly – gaining weight during pregnancy is inevitable but it’s important to not gain weight excessively. Careful consideration of your diet during pregnancy ensures the health of your baby and can keep off the excess weight that can lead to snoring.
  • Use a humidifier – running a humidifier can reduce the congestion in your nasal passages, helping you breathe easier through your nose to reduce the likelihood of mouth breathing and snoring.

“I am pregnant and suffering from a dry nose so a humidifier has been a life-saver!”

Conclusion

The changes that happen during pregnancy can come thick and fast, and having the added annoyance of snoring seems a bit unfair. Thankfully, if you have started snoring only since being pregnant, you are extremely likely to stop once you have given birth.

Whilst there is some science to suggest an increased chance of complications, don’t be too concerned if you find yourself snoring whilst pregnant, particularly if you are new to snoring. Try a few of our tips and if your snoring still causes problems, consult your antenatal care provider.

6 Common Myths About Sleep Apnea

Science, Sleep Apnea

6 Common Myths About Sleep Apnea

1. All loud snorers have sleep apnea

Most snorers don’t have sleep apnea. But most people with sleep apnea snore.

There is a positive correlation between snoring intensity and the severity of obstructive sleep apnea; that is, the louder you snore, the more likely you are to suffer from sleep apnea [1]. However, this does not mean that if you snore loudly you definitely have sleep apnea.

An apnea episode is defined by a period of no sound whatsoever. This is the part where your breathing has stopped. Therefore, sound profile alone is not a good predictor of sleep apnea and its severity.

 

SnoreLab’s insights into screening for, diagnosing and treating obstructive sleep apnea.

Read

2. Everyone with sleep apnea snores

This is less of a myth, and more of an almost-truth: up to 95% of people with obstructive sleep apnea snore [2]. It is rare to find someone with obstructive sleep apnea who doesn’t snore, though it does happen [3].

Importantly, you needn’t be a loud snorer to suffer from sleep apnea. Remember that an apnea episode is often characterised by a lengthy period of silence. You could still be suffering from sleep apnea even if your Snore Score is low.

This SnoreLab user has found an apnea episode (notice the long period of silence). However look at the chart – they are not a loud snorer!

 

 

However, central sleep apnea is not commonly associated with snoring.

Central sleep apnea is caused by the brain’s failure to regulate proper breathing during sleep. Here, the blockage is neurological as opposed to in your airway [4].

3. Only men get sleep apnea

Men are more likely to snore and have sleep apnea, but women can still suffer from both. It is estimated that twice as many men than women have sleep apnea [5]. Despite this, eight times more men are diagnosed with the condition.

The incorrect assumption of yesteryear was that for every sixty men who had sleep apnea, only one woman did. This false statistic came from a combination of heightened social stigma associated with female snorers and the fact that sleep apnea presents differently in women.

Sleep apnea’s severity is measured by counting the number of times breathing stops or is severely reduced during sleep. Women are less likely to experience complete airway collapse therefore tend to have a lower AHI score.

However, it is important to note that women aren’t necessarily experiencing less obstruction. Instead, they show more frequent episodes of longer, partial obstruction that can still cause the fatigue, daytime sleepiness and other health issues associated with sleep apnea [6].

 

Still, in a battle of the sexes, when it comes to snoring, men come out on top. SnoreLab’s article on the snoring differences between men and women.

Read.

4. I’m not overweight so I won’t get sleep apnea

Indeed, obesity is one of the strongest risk factors for developing sleep apnea, where 41% of people with a BMI over 28 have the condition [7]. However, because there are other risk factors associated with sleep apnea, you don’t have to be overweight to suffer from it.

Sleep apnea can also be caused by your genetics; whether that be a family history of sleep apnea or the shape of your airway. Chronic nasal congestion, drinking alcohol or taking sleeping pills, and even simply entering the menopause all confer an increased risk of developing sleep apnea.

5. Children don’t get sleep apnea

Despite snoring and sleep apnea commonly being associated with older people, studies have found that up to 4% of children experience sleep apnea, with some 12% of parents reporting that their child frequently snores [8].

Similar to the profile of adults with sleep apnea, overweight children and boys are more likely to develop the condition.

An increasing amount of research suggests that 25% of attention deficit disorder cases are linked to sleep fragmentation associated with sleep apnea [9].

Childhood obstructive sleep apnea is often due to the adenoids – glands in the back of the throat that disappear in adulthood, thankfully along with the apneas. Surgical removal of both the adenoids and tonsils often resolves childhood sleep apnea.

 

More about snoring’s link with age

Read

6. I’d know if my breathing stopped in the middle of the night

Not being able to breathe is an uncomfortable experience, so you’d think you’d remember it. Plus, the pauses in breathing that characterize sleep apnea are only relieved when your body kicks into action to open your airway, briefly waking you up. This awakening however, is below the threshold of conscious recognition; commonly referred to as a microarousal.

In some very severe cases of sleep apnea, patients have as many as one-hundred breathing pauses per hour, some as long as thirty seconds at a time. Yet they perceive a night of constant sleep and wonder why they feel so tired in the morning. Susan, a SnoreLab user thought that she may have mild sleep apnea at worst, her sleep study results showed she in fact had very severe sleep apnea. You can read Susan’s story here.

Whilst you are unlikely to identify your own apnea episodes, a partner can definitely be disturbed by them. If you are concerned about potential sleep apnea, ask your partner if they’ve ever heard your breathing stop in the middle of the night.

This question is often asked in sleep apnea screening questionnaires which you can do here.

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