Studies show that about 25% of the population snore regularly and that snoring is more common among men than women.
Whilst it is the subject of much teasing, it is clearly not a laughing matter as it can place enormous strain on relationships and seriously impact a good night’s sleep.
Snoring occurs when the pressure in the throat increases so that the uvula and soft palate begin to vibrate, emitting the sound that is a snore. This can happen on both inhalation and exhalation.
Sleeping with an open mouth makes snoring more likely;
· your 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 is turbulent. Directly inhaled air vibrates the soft tissues at the back of your mouth
· Your 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 with mouth breathing. Unlike nasal breathing, mouth breathing doesn’t trap allergens and bugs which can in turn worsen your snoring. Nasal breathing not only lowers your snoring risk but has other health benefits too:
The louder the snoring sound, the narrower the airway and it is harder for air to pass in and out of the lungs which makes breathing shallower.
This, in turn will reduce the level of oxygen that reach the cells ultimately reducing the quality of sleep, and as we know, aa good sleep is vital for rest and repair of our body.
Nose breathing can help reduce snoring by improving the airflow and reducing the likelihood of airway obstructions that often contribute to snoring. When you breathe through your mouth, the tongue is more likely to fall backward, partially obstructing the airway and contributing to snoring. Nasal breathing typically leads to a slower and more controlled flow of air, which can help reduce the vibrations of the soft tissues in the throat and mouth that cause snoring.
Since breathing through the nose reduces the breath, slows it down. This raises the levels of CO2 in the body which is a bronchial dilator, effectively and naturally opening up the airways.
Breathing through the nose, as opposed to the mouth, encourages the proper alignment of your tongue and soft palate. When you breathe through your nose, your tongue is more likely to stay in its natural position against the roof of your mouth, and the soft palate at the back of your throat is less likely to collapse and obstruct the airway.
You may notice that when you have a cold, you snore more. This is because with a nose full of nasties, you need to switch to mouth breathing.
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 less turbulent way than mouth breathing does.
By treating and conditioning the incoming air when you breathe through your nose, this may prevent the frequent awakenings you may experience from having a dry mouth, achieving a more comfortable sleep.
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.
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.
Nitric oxide (NO) has often been termed “the mighty molecule” is 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, it is nature’s way of encouraging us to nose breathe.
If snoring persists despite trying these methods, it's a good idea to consult a healthcare professional or a sleep specialist to rule out any underlying medical conditions or to explore additional treatment options.
Talk to a breath coach to see what simple changes you might make to sleep better, there are many devices and techniques available such as these below.
1. SnoreLabs : A great app that will guide you through self-management of your snoring
2. Mouth taping or chin straps
3. Neti Pot, nasal cleansing