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Myths and facts about snoring revealed

Whether you are on the receiving end or the person in charge, snoring is the cause of poor sleep, exhaustion the next day and arguing with your partner who also feels irritable and blurred in the eyes after a disturbed night.

Snoring is such an uncomfortable condition that a deep dive into the internet will reveal countless strange and miraculous cures, but there is so much misinformation out there about what can ease your snoring or make it worse.

Some of the science-approved solutions aren’t even what you’d expect.

A new study has found that sleep apnea, of which snoring is a symptom, is more common in postmenopausal women because they have lower levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

The same study raised hopes that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) could reduce snoring.

Here, FEMAIL reveals five surprising true facts about snoring treatments and debunks four myths.

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Experts have revealed the snoring remedies that actually work, and some may surprise you — from singing to tongue exercises


1. HRT CAN Reduce Snoring

Snoring affects women just like men, and the problem can get worse after women have gone through menopause.

About one in 20 postmenopausal women suffers from obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that causes the airways to collapse, cause loud snoring and wake someone up to 40 times a night.

Now scientists at the University of Bergenin Norway, have found that sleep apnea is more common in postmenopausal women because they have lower levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

These are the hormones that are replaced when women take HRT, raising hopes that it may help with snoring and sleep apnea.

The study found that snoring and other symptoms of sleep apnea decreased when the hormones were replenished to pre-menopausal levels.


Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when the walls of a person’s throat relax and narrow during sleep, blocking their airways.

This interrupts normal breathing, with symptoms such as loud snoring, noisy and labored breathing, and repeated episodes when breathing is interrupted by gasping and snorting.

OSA affects between four and ten percent of people in the UK. About 22 million are affected in the US.

During an episode, the lack of oxygen triggers a patient’s brain to wake them from deep sleep so that their airways reopen.

These repeated sleep interruptions can make the person very tired, often unaware of what the problem is.

Risks for OSA include:

  • Overweight – excess body fat increases most of the soft tissues in the neck
  • to be masculine
  • be 40 years or older
  • having a big neck
  • Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol
  • Being in Menopause – Hormonal Changes Cause Throat Muscles to Relax

Treatment includes lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, if necessary, and avoiding alcohol.

In addition, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices prevent airway closure by delivering a continuous supply of compressed air through a mask.

A mandibular advance device (MAD) may also be used, which resembles a gum shield that holds the jaw and tongue forward to increase the space at the back of the throat.

Left untreated, OSA increases a person’s risk of high blood pressure, stroke, heart attacks, and type 2 diabetes.

Source: NHS


Researchers revealed in a 2013 study that a simple set of exercises can drastically reduce snoring in patients.

The 39 patients in the study were randomized to three months of treatment with nasal dilator strips plus breathing exercises (control) or daily exercises (therapy).

The study, published in the journal CHEST, found that in patients with primary or mild OSA, oropharyngeal, or mouth and tongue snoring, exercise significantly reduced the frequency of snoring by 36 percent and the total power of snoring by 59 percent.

“This study demonstrates a promising, non-invasive treatment for large populations of snorers, the snorers and their bed partners, that are largely left out of research and treatment,” Barbara Phillips, the medical director of the sleep lab at the University of Kentucky College or Medicine, then said.

“Frankly, this will change the advice I give to my patients who snore,” she added.

Such exercises include pushing the tip of the tongue against the hard pallte and sliding the tongue back 20 times.

Another quick exercise suggests that you do the back of the tongue against the floor of the mouth while the tip of the tongue remains in contact with the inferior tooth 20 times.

Another way to strengthen the tongue is by sucking the tongue up against the roof of the mouth, pressing the entire tongue against the roof of the mouth 20 times.

It is also good training to chew and swallow on both sides of the mouth without contracting the tongue.


Ever heard of singing to your dinner? How about singing for your sleep?

An investigation conducted by the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital found that singing can be used to reduce the risk of snoring.

This is because it is believed that a lack of tone in the throat muscles may be a major cause of the condition.

Singers strengthen the same muscles that are in the soft palate and upper throat and can lead to snoring if they get too weak.

Malcolm Hilton, a consultant otolaryngologist with the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust and subdean of the University of Exeter Medical School, tested 120 people, half of whom were chronic snorers and the other half were living with moderate sleep apnea.

For three months, half of each group sang the exercises, and the other half did nothing.

At the end of the trial, the group that performed the exercises reported better sleep quality and less snoring.


Several studies have shown that men who snore have more difficulty getting an erection.

A study published by the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that 69 percent of male participants diagnosed with sleep apnea also had erectile dysfunction.

Another study, this time published in 2016, also found that 63 percent of study participants with sleep apnea suffered from erectile dysfunction.

While the scientists couldn’t find a clear reason why snoring could lead to erectile dysfunction, they suggested that sleep apnea could cause a drop in testosterone levels in men, as well as decrease their oxygen levels, both of which are necessary to achieve erections. †


As people with hay fever will know, this allergic reaction to pollen can cause an itchy throat, mouth, nose and ears and sneezing.

For this reason, hay fever tends to aggravate people’s snoring.

People who suffer from allergies also often suffer from a stuffy or runny nose and may need to switch to mouth breathing for sleep, meaning they are ready to breathe even louder than before.

This is because breathing through the mouth while you sleep can cause your tongue to fall further back, cause compressions on your throat from the lowered jaw, and a dry throat.

Air inhaled directly through the mouth also causes the soft tissues in the back of the throat to vibrate, leading to snoring.

And snoring can even occur when you sleep through the nose, because the sound is produced by the air entering your sinus through openings that are smaller than they should be.



Many people think that a nightcap can help you fall asleep easily.

However, there is no evidence that a drink before bed helps with snoring. In fact, it probably has the opposite effect.

Alcohol has muscle relaxant properties and drinking alcohol four to five hours before bedtime can make things worse as it reduces the resting tone of the muscles in the back of the throat.

This affects everyone, and even people who normally don’t snore can develop the condition after a night of heavy drinking.

Drinking can also cause dehydration, which is likely to worsen your snoring as well.

When you’re dehydrated, the mucus in the mouth and throat can thicken, causing surfaces to stick together and cause snoring.


Sleeping pills can help you fall asleep faster, but they won’t do anything to curb your snoring.

Like alcohol, these sleep aids tend to relax the body, which in turn can weaken the muscles at the back of the throat and cause snoring.

Not only do these pills make you snore faster, but it is also believed that they can exacerbate the underlying condition behind the snoring, sleep apnea, and make it a common occurrence.

The more often you have sleep apnea, the more you snore, meaning sleeping pills can drag you down a slippery slope.

In addition to snoring, sleeping pills are thought to trigger the more serious sides of sleep apnea, including: exhaustion during the day, impaired memory, depression, high blood pressure and diabetes.


Sleeping on your back has been linked to some health benefits, but it’s unlikely to help reduce your snoring.

Sleeping on your back is believed to help with the spine, but it also means your tongue is more likely to fall back into your mouth and block your airways, likely causing sleep apnea.

a 1985 study even found that people who switched from sleeping on their backs to sleeping on their side breathed better at night and snored less.

Erica Carleton, an assistant professor of human resources and organizational behavior at the University of Saskatchewan, told the New York Times in February that sleeping on your back is actually one of the worst things you can do when you have sleep apnea.

“When you sleep on your back, that actually compresses your respiratory system more, and it makes you more likely to get those gasping sounds or snore,” she said.


In some cases, surgery may be necessary to successfully treat sleep apnea.

However, this only applies to specific cases, such as a child whose airways are blocked by their large tonsils.

Some adults can surgically remove or tighten tissues in their throat, mouth, or nose that make the problem worse, but it may not be indicated for everyone.

A GP will also likely prescribe a series of lifestyle changes before recommending surgery, as sleep apnea and snoring can also be caused by hygiene, a posture problem, or gravity.

Meanwhile, another successful form of treatment is CPAR – a continuous positive airway pressure machine.

This device steadily blows air into your airways and the airflow can be adjusted. It is the most common treatment for patients with severe obstructive sleep apnea.

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