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Does alcohol make snoring worse? Of course it can, as it relaxes the muscles in the throat, leading to increased obstruction of the airway during sleep. Snoring is a common problem, but one we associated more with older men. Many a young person (especially young women) has been embarrassed to hear that they snored loudly all night, after a visit to the pub!

Causes of snoring

There are 4 main causes of snoring:

  • Hereditary: anatomical characteristics of the mouth, nose, and upper airway
  • Nasal problems: such as nasal polyps, deviated septum, allergies, and respiratory tract infections
  • Sleep related: sleep disorders and breathing disorders such as obstructive sleep apnea

Things that make snoring worse

There are 2 main culprits:

  • Sleep position: sleeping on your back is known to make snoring worse and some people only snore when they sleep flat on their backs with their mouths open.
  • ALCOHOL makes snoring worse!

Why alcohol makes snoring worse

Alcohol makes snoring worse – in both men and women, of all ages!

Even young people who don’t normally snore at all, and who have no other anatomical or other issues that cause snoring, can snore loudly after heavy drinking, or drinking just before bedtime.

To understand why alcohol promotes snoring, it’s necessary to understand what snoring is: snoring is the sound we hear when air flows past relaxed tissues in the throat, the roof of your mouth and tongue. The passage of air makes these tissues vibrate. The more relaxed these tissues, the more they vibrate. If the mouth is open (due to nasal breathing issues, apnea and sleep position), the throat tissues will be more relaxed, and the snoring will be louder.

Alcohol does two things that make snoring more likely and louder:

  • Alcohol relaxes the throat and mouth tissues more than normal
  • Alcohol exacerbates existing causes of snoring – turning a soft snore into a loud snore

Snoring is often unavoidable. Unless it is very bad and disruptive, it’s not too much of a problem. But knowing that you snore after drinking alcohol can help you avoid it. Sleep on your side, or better yet – don’t drink to excess or before bed.

What is snoring?

Don’t feel embarrassed to say that you snore; it’s far more common than you think. It has been recorded that approximately 45 to 60% of adults snore occasionally with 25% of these being ceaseless snorers. Men tend to be the worst snorers with overweight people coming in second; we also understand that age plays a large roll in snoring. Snoring does not only affect the sleeper but the partner as well and can lead to daytime drowsiness without knowing the cause. We actually believe that we had a good night’s rest, simply not knowing what we do in our sleep. Do you ever wonder how many times you knock your partner to roll over in your sleep and do not realise it.

So let’s understand what snoring is:
The loud noises you hear are actually vibrations that come from the back of the throat. If you inspect your mouth you will see the uvula, soft palate and possibly tonsils if you have not had them removed. As you lie down and start to sleep, the muscle tone and tongue start to relax with your tongue easing to the back of your throat. An obstruction is created which causes the lack of free flowing air at the back of the mouth and nose and the vibrating begins.

Snoring is not limited to any one of the four stages of sleep and is different for each person. However incessant snoring should be looked at by a doctor as you may have Sleep Apnea which is a medical condition that can be helped.

Those prone to snoring but are not limited to:

  • Larger throat tissue which creates poor muscle tone in the tongue and throat
  • Illness such as tonsillitis, adenoids, cysts and tumours can cause snoring in adults and children
  • Being overweight can create excess soft tissue in the neck that can lead to airway narrowing.
  • Season changes can cause sinus, colds or hay fever which exasperates snoring.
  • Nasal deviations can cause obstructions.
  • Medication, ALCOHOL or narcotics can cause irregular snoring.

Allow your partner to observe you as you sleep and make notes. If you feel that your sleep pattern and snoring are disturbing your waking hours, make an appointment with a clinical Neurophysiologist in your area. If you are diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep apnea or just a “normal” snorer, you mind will at least be at ease.

What is snoring and Snoring solutions so you can sleep well at night

Snoring Solutions to Help You Sleep Better

While snoring is not uncommon, it can be uncomfortable and even painful if you snore regularly. Habitual snoring can cause disruptive sleep for you or your partner, but it can also be connected to serious sleep disorders like sleep apnea. If you are struggling , there are several treatment options. Here are six solutions that can help you sleep better:

  • Elevate your head: By sleeping with an extra pillow, you can help open up your airways and prevent snoring.
  • Nasal strips: Nasal strips are plaster-like strips that are placed on the bridge of the nose at night. These strips help open up your nasal passageways and prevent snoring.
  • Address health problems: If you suffer from chronic allergies or are overweight, both of these conditions can cause snoring.
  • Change your diet: There are several foods and beverages that increase phlegm production and inflammation, which makes it much worse. One of the simplest solutions is to change your diet. Before bed, avoid drinking alcohol or coffee and eating wheat, sugar, dairy, and fruit.
  • CPAP machine: CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. A CPAP machine is used for those who suffer with sleep apnea. The machine is used throughout the night and helps to increase air pressure in the throat to prevent snoring.
  • Sleep study: If you snore constantly, you should consider taking part in a sleep study. Sleep studies are conducted by sleep experts who can help pinpoint the cause of your snoring, while also providing you with several solutions.

Don’t be embarrassed if you struggle with snoring. If you only snore on occasion, such as when you are sleep deprived or sick, don’t worry. This is completely normal and shouldn’t cause any health problems. However, if you snore regularly, you should consult a sleep specialist. In the meantime, try some of these snoring solutions listed above.