Although many diseases can cause snoring, this is mainly due to the fact that air can not flow freely through the mouth or nose. And this is where the suppressive quality of alcohol comes into play: “Alcohol relaxes the upper airway, including the muscles in the neck,” says Wendy Troxel, PhD, a senior behavioral scientist at public research firm RAND of Sharing the covers: A guide for every couple for better sleep.
“Alcohol relaxes the upper airway, including the neck muscles.” —Wendy Troxel, PhD, specialist in hypnotherapy
Because the neck muscles are already a little loose at night, the extra relaxation caused by alcohol can really restrict airflow. The air you breathe must pass forcefully through these diskette muscle tissues, which vibrate with each other at the characteristic snoring hums. This effect is also cumulative: “The more you drink, the more these muscles will relax, leading to more and stronger snoring,” says Dr. Troxel.
And this is not the only relationship between alcohol and snoring, according to sleep expert Shelby Harris, PsyD, author of The guide for women to deal with insomnia“Because alcohol can cause the tissue in the nose to swell, it can cause some people to become more congested, creating a greater need to breathe through the mouth.” This tendency to breathe through the mouth at night can also worsen the intensity of snoring, as can dehydration, which can also be caused by alcohol, adds Dr. Troxel.
What you need to know if alcohol causes you to snore (or snore louder than usual)
Snoring can seem quite harmless (though annoying to any roommate or roommate). But because it can disturb your sleep, cause breathing gaps or even wake you up in the event of a particularly strong vibration, it can lead to poor sleep quality over time.
Since snoring is also a major symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) – a respiratory disorder that causes shortness of breath during the night – both doctors recommend that you get a sleep apnea test if you experience snoring. alcohol is particularly intense. or if you wake up feeling upset, even after sleeping for several hours after drinking. (Ultimately, sleep apnea goes undiagnosed very often and can lead to heart health problems if left untreated.)
How to mitigate the effects of alcohol on snoring
Unsurprisingly, the number one way to reduce snoring after drinking is to drink less. And it is worth noting that this could have other benefits for the quality of your sleep, as alcohol is also known to disrupt sleep and specifically disrupt rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, which is a critical stage “Sleep-related learning, memory consolidation and emotional processing,” says Dr. Troxel.
In addition to drinking less, however, you can also try to stop drinking alcohol no later than three to four hours before bedtime, says Dr. Harris, as this may reduce the effects of snoring. It is also advisable to alternate each alcoholic beverage with a glass of water to avoid dehydration (which is, as mentioned above, another way in which alcohol can cause snoring) and watch out for medications you are taking that may have a similar sedative effect. . result like alcohol, like many anti-anxiety drugs and antihistamines. “These drugs may already make snoring worse in some people, but if you combine them with alcohol, snoring and possible sleep apnea can be even worse,” says Dr. Harris.
One last precaution? Pay attention to your sleeping posture every time you fall into bed after a drink. “Snoring is usually worse when you are on your back, so if you can, try sleeping on your side if you have been drinking,” says Dr. Harris. And if you find it difficult to do this, there is a trick: Find a pocket t-shirt, sew a tennis ball in your pocket and wear it back so that you do not turn on your back during sleep.
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