Are you affected by snoring?

According to the British Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Association (BSSAA) 30 million people in the UK are affected by snoring – that’s around 15 million snorers plus their sleeping partners.

If you’re a snorer you may feel sleepy and unable to concentrate properly during the daytime. Snoring regularly may also make you more likely to develop health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol compared with those who only snore occasionally, says the BSSAA.

And if you’re the long-suffering partner of someone who snores, you’re likely to experience sleepiness and poor concentration during the daytime too, not to mention the effect snoring can have on your relationship.

Snoring is the result of your soft palate and other tissues in your mouth, nose and upper throat vibrating, which can be caused by a partial blockage in your upper airway. Several things can cause this blockage, including nasal congestion, enlarged tonsils, a receding chin, small or collapsing nostrils and nasal polyps.

Snoring can also be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnoea – a more serious condition where your upper airways collapse while you sleep, which stops your breathing at intervals throughout the night.

There are lots of myths about snoring. One of the things you may have heard is that only men snore. But out of the estimated 15 million snorers in the UK only 10.4 million are men, which means 4.5 million snorers are women, says the BSSAA. Men, however, may be louder snorers than women.

Here are a few other things you may not realise about snoring…

Drinking makes you snore Alcohol makes the muscles around the upper part of your throat relax more than usual, making your airways too narrow, which in turn makes your soft tissues vibrate.

Being overweight makes you snore (but not always) According to the NHS you’re more likely to snore if you’re overweight. But not all snorers are overweight, so even if your weight is healthy you could still be affected. Similarly, not all overweight people snore.

Smoking makes snoring worse Smoking is a major contributor to snoring because cigarette smoke irritates the lining of the nasal cavity and throat. This leads to swelling and catarrh, which can make your airways narrower.

You don’t have to sleep on your back to snore You may well be more likely to snore if you sleep on your back, but some people who sleep on their sides are snorers too.

Snoring doesn’t mean you’re sleeping deeply It’s true that many snorers – even those who snore really loudly – aren’t woken up by the noise of their own snoring. But that doesn’t mean they’re getting good-quality sleep. In fact snoring can lead to an overall poorer sleep quality, which means you may feel exhausted the next day.

Is an app the answer?

This year, National Stop Snoring Week is from April 23 – 27. Run by the BSSAA, the theme for this year’s campaign is can new technology help the nation stop snoring? If you’re affected by snoring, here are a few smartphone apps you may like to try:

Snore Lab Tracks your snoring and helps you find ways of reducing it.

Snore Report Monitors and records snoring during the night (iPhone only).

Sleeptracker Analyses snoring and includes sounds to help you sleep.

You can also find products to help you stop snoring at your local Careway pharmacy. Your pharmacist may recommend nasal decongestants or nasal strips to help you breathe more easily while sleeping, or a mouth guard to open your airway by bringing your lower jaw or your tongue forward during sleep. And if you’re the partner of a snorer, your pharmacist can recommend a good pair of ear plugs.

Find your nearest Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder.