Sleep Disorders

Updated 11 August 2014

Snoring

Millions of guys snore, and millions of partners spend their nights telling them to turn over, kicking them, going to sleep in another room and – in some cases – divorcing them.

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Millions of guys snore and millions of partners spend their nights telling them to turn over, pinching their noses, kicking them, going to sleep in another room and – in some instances – divorcing them.

There’s a simple biological explanation: when you’re awake the muscles in your throat that keep it open are taut. They relax when you sleep, constricting the space for the air to pass through. The airflow is interrupted and the uvula, that tonsil-like, dangly bit in your throat, vibrates and voila, thunder in the darkness.

What can you do? Lots, actually:

  • Lose weight if you’re overweight. In some cases this is enough;
  • Avoid alcohol within four hours of going to sleep;
  • Try tilting the head of your bed upwards by about 10cm;
  • Use a soft, low pillow;
  • Try sewing a ping-pong ball into the back of your pajamas. This will prevent you from sleeping on your back, which is the position in which most blokes snore. Once you’re used to sleeping on your side you can lose the ball;
  • Speak to your doctor about some of the mechanical devices and throat sprays now available. Beware of gimmicks sold on infomercials.
  • (William Smook, Health24, updated January 2009)

     

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Sleep disorders expert

Neera Bhikha is a Neurophysiologist at SandtonMedi Clinic in Johannesburg. She specialises in Neurodiagnostic testing which includes EEG (routine and long term monitoring sleep studies), Polysomnograms, Nerve conduction studies/EMG studies.

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