Expert reveals snoring increases by 20% when it's cold — here's how to prevent it

Did you know this?

man snoring
(Image credit: Kampus Production / Pexels)

There's a cold spell taking place across the whole of the UK at the moment, which is rather surprising after such a mild December. You may be busy trying to avoid the damp with a dehumidifier or working out how to winter proof your home, but did you know the cold weather could also be having an effect on your sleep? 

A revelatory study by Chest has unveiled a surprising connection between the colder season and disrupted sleep. After analysing data from over 7,500 patients, the study found that winter brings about a significant uptick in sleep disturbances, especially when it comes to snoring. 

To find out more about this, I spoke to Martin Seeley, CEO and sleep expert at MattressNextDay, who shared his essential tips for preventing snoring during these chilly nights.

1. Switch to an anti-allergy pillow

Maintaining a clean pillow is key to a serene night's sleep for snoring sufferers. Did you know that a staggering 80% of household dust is comprised of dead skin? Considering the average person spends a third of their life in bed, it's only natural to produce more of it overnight.

While harmless to some, for others, it can trigger rhinitis - an inflammation of the nose which leads to snoring. If snoring plagues your nights, investing in an anti-allergy pillow is a smart move, as well as regularly washing your pillow. By reducing fine particles around your nose and mouth, it lessens the likelihood of reacting to dust, ensuring a more tranquil sleep.

Feel like you need a new one after reading that? Read our guide to the best pillows to choose your next purchase. 

2. Avoid foods with dairy 

If you're a late-night snacker and a snorer, your food choices might be amplifying the night-time noise. This is because the digestion process relaxes your throat and tongue muscles, allowing them to vibrate more as the night goes on.

If you must snack, opt for snore-friendly snacks by avoiding high-fat dairy, like ice cream or milk.  Dairy consumption before bed can lead to the production of mucus, which may contribute to snoring by causing congestion and narrowing or blocking the airways. The lactose found in dairy is known to encourage excess mucus production and make the mucus thicker and harder to loosen, which can lead to snoring. 

3. Tennis ball sleep hack 

When you sleep on your back, the tongue, neck, and chin team together to obstruct airways, causing disruptive airflow and throat vibrations. Therefore, you should sleep on your side to take the pressure off your airways.

Breaking the back-sleep habit can be tricky, so here's a practical trick: sleep with a tennis ball underneath you. if you attempt a back-roll during the night, the ball will nudge you awake, ensuring a quiet night's sleep on your side.

Read our guide on the tennis ball sleep hack to find out more!

4. Take a hot shower 

If you unwind before bed with a warm shower, did you know it can also be your secret weapon against snoring? This is because the steam from a hot shower can moisten the nasal passages, reduce nasal congestion and make breathing easier, therefore decreasing the likelihood of you snoring.

For maximum benefits, ensure the water is comfortably hot. Elevate your shower experience by hanging a bag of lavender or peppermint around the shower head, infusing essential oils into the steam for added congestion relief.

5. Ditch the booze

Alcohol can trigger snoring due to its relaxing effects on the muscles in the mouth and throat. When these muscles are relaxed, they can cause a partial blockage of the air passages, leading to vibrations and snoring sounds as air is forced through during breathing.

In addition, alcohol can lead to a decrease in the time spent in REM sleep, resulting in poor sleep quality and potentially exacerbating snoring. The sedative and depressant nature of alcohol relaxes the body, including the throat, making individuals more likely to breathe through their mouth. 

Interested in more? Check out these doctor-approved exercises for snore-free sleep!

Lizzie Wilmot
Staff Writer, Home

Lizzie is T3's Home Staff Writer, also covering style, living and wellness. She works closely with Bethan Girdler-Maslen, T3's Home Editor, ensuring all the latest news, trends and recommendations are covered. Outside of T3, Lizzie can be found mooching around Bath, attempting (or at least trying to) a new DIY project or spending time with family and friends.