Read the full video transcript below
Hello, and welcome to my video blog. And today on A.Vogel Talks Menopause, I'm going to be asking, "Does the menopause cause snoring?" And this is something I do get asked on quite a regular basis.
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Why have I started snoring during menopause?
Now, back to snoring. Yes, the menopause can cause snoring, but it tends to be a combination of factors rather than just sort of blaming the menopause itself.
By the time we get to menopause, it can be age-related, and what happens is that especially in the throat area, the muscle tone can decrease slightly and that then allows the throat to relax a lot more which will be part and parcel of the snoring.
Hormones & weight gain
It can be the hormones because loss of oestrogen can affect muscle tone as well and very often, in the menopause, we end up putting on a little bit of weight and if you put weight on round the throat, that can start to slightly constrict the airways.
So as you can see, it can be a combination of factors that all then lead to these specific symptoms.
What can help you to stop snoring?
So what can you do to help yourself?
Your sleep position
First of all, you could do things like propping yourself up a little bit more, just maybe an extra pillow, just so that your head and shoulders are more upright rather than sort of horizontal in the bed.
Try not to sleep on your back as well, especially if you have a flat pillow, because that then allows the throat muscles to get even more relaxed, and that can make the symptoms worse.
Stop snoring aids
You can look at aids. There are specific aids that you can get. There are nasal strips that help to open up the nose and the airways, and you can also get mouthguards as well. Again, that helps to open up the whole throat area.
Stop smoking if you can
If you smoke, smoking can be a contributory factor, so obviously that's something to think about is maybe trying to decrease or cut out the cigarettes.
Avoid foods that make you snore
Watch what you eat before bed because if you eat very late, if you also eat a really heavy meal and foods with dairy - dairy foods especially can be really bad.
They can produce a lot of mucus and that can affect the breathing as well. And watch out for spicy foods, too, especially on those late Saturday night takeaways because that could be a big factor as well.
Watch your alcohol intake before bedtime
Avoid alcohol. Unfortunately, this is one of the ones, again, it's going to relax the whole throat area.
Look at your medication
Also things like sleeping pills and sedatives. They are muscle relaxants and they can be a factor, too. Also, if you are on other medication, check the patient information leaflet that will be in the box of the tablets for whatever medication you're taking. That gives you a list of side effects and snoring is a side effect of some medication, so double-check with that.
If that is the case, then this is one of the times when you do need to go back to your doctor and just let them know that you're experiencing this as what you think might be a side effect of your medication.
Get a check up
Also check with the doctor, too, because there can be other issues involved. You could be suffering from allergies, things like post-nasal drips, especially in the summer. For those of you that get a lot of hayfever, you might find that you snore for the first time or you snore a lot at that particular time of the year, just because of all the other factors that are going on here. It could be sinus problems if you get a lot of blocked sinuses, and again, this tends to be a winter one.
So for those of you that maybe you're being told that you snore in the winter but not in the summer, then maybe look to see whether you have any sinus problems that could be improved. There can be other things like nasal polyps, so these are in the tubes behind the nose. They're little growths, again, that can affect the breathing, so that could be another issue as well.
Is loud snoring bad?
Now, the one thing here is if you are being told by your nearest and dearest that your snoring is very, very loud, if you tend to find that the snoring is punctuated by maybe a few seconds or a minute or two of silence, and then you're snorting, or even gasping, then this is something that needs medical attention.
These symptoms can be caused by something called sleep apnea, so this is not something just to ignore. Please go and get this checked out by your doctor if this is what's going on with you here.
My partner snores and I can't sleep
What about in the menopause when it's your partner's snoring that's affecting your sleep? This can be a big problem, too.
Remember, when we go through the menopause, our sleep becomes much shallower, so we become much more aware of all the noises that are going on around us and we will get woken up much more easily. And if you're already suffering from things like night sweats, or you're having to get up to go to the toilet, or you're getting anxiety which can very often wake you up in the middle of the night, you just can't get back to sleep.
And if you're having to spend the night listening to your partner snoring, then you're not going to get a good night's sleep and you're going to wake up very, very irritated and possibly annoyed as well, just the fact that you haven't had a good night's sleep. In this instance, obviously, you do need to be diplomatic.
And because a lot of women become much more irritable, short-tempered, and argumentative during the menopause, this is one where you need to pick your timing just to maybe point out that your sleep is being really affected and that might be contributing to your overall menopause symptoms on a daily basis.
How do I get my partner to stop snoring?
Now, you can look at things especially for yourself or your partner to help if there's anxiety involved, then you can look at sage for hot flushes and night sweats, anxiety, you could look at our lovely Passiflora.
We've got Dormeasan for sleep which can help sort of create a better night's sleep as well.
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But the problem here is that if your partner is snoring, then do maybe just show them this video as well and get them to maybe try some of the tips that I've mentioned above.
Again, if they're getting the really loud snoring, stopping, and starting, then just maybe suggest that they go and see their doctor as well.
So hopefully this has given you a little bit of a tip, it's quite a complex one because there's lots of little things involved here that can all come together to cause the snoring.
So if any of you out there have had problems and you've resolved them, please do let me know. We would love to hear these stories. And until then, I'll see you next week for another edition of A.Vogel Talks Menopause.