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NHS Choices Condition

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Stephanie Chewter says her snoring is so loud she wakes up herself, her partner and their two children.

It has become a lot worse in the past year, which she blames on her weight gain.

"I've put on a lot of weight in the last year," says Stephanie, 35, from Weston-super-Mare. "I've gone from 14 to 20 stone."

Living with her partner and two teenage boys means her snoring isn't affecting just her own quality of life. "My snoring drives everyone mad," she says. "I've got two kids and it wakes them up as well."

There are around 15 million people in the UK who snore and it's a condition which can ruin friendships, marriages and lives.

Stephanie is studying archaeology and says her disruptive nights can leave her feeling flat during the day, which in turn affects her concentration.

Her GP explained to her that snoring was caused by the narrowing of the airway during sleep. The noise associated with snoring is caused by parts of the nose and throat, in particular the soft palate, vibrating as you breathe in and out.

At night, muscles that help keep your airway open become relaxed, the airway narrows and vibrate more, making snoring more likely.

Anything which makes your airway relax will make the snoring worse, including alcohol and sleeping tablets.

Other factors, such as smoking and a blocked nose due to a cold, allergies and nasal polyps, can also increase the likelihood of snoring.

Being overweight by just a few kilograms can also cause snoring. The build-up of fatty tissue around the neck squeezes the airway and prevents air from flowing in and out freely thus causing vibration.

Stephanie has tried sleeping aids such as nasal strips and nasal sprays, but neither have had any noticeable effect.

She finds sleeping head-to-toe with her partner causes less disruption. "It's probably because my snoring doesn't seem as loud to him," she says.

But when the decibels rise too much, Stephanie is forced to find alternative sleeping arrangements. "I have to sleep downstairs on a two-seater settee and then the only person I wake up is myself."

Stephanie says she is either going to have to invest in a larger sofa or find a cure for her snoring because sleeping on the settee has given her back pain.

She knows her snoring will diminish if she loses weight. "I will lose weight eventually but I'm not ready," she says. "I just haven't got the willpower at the moment."

view information about Snoring on www.nhs.co.uk »

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