National Stop Snoring Week

19 - 24 April 2010

"It's not me it's the house that's causing my snoring"


Supported by a grant from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK)

National Stop Snoring Week


Aerosol sprays and other chemicals found in the home

Kitchen Zap!

Chemical allergy has many adverse health effects. Chemicals enter the body by ingestion, by being inhaled, injected or absorbed through the skin. There are many chemicals within the domestic environment that can trigger an allergic reaction. Many people will be prone to developing headache when exposed to perfumes, or nausea from paint fumes. The most common form of allergy usually affects the eyes, nose, chest and skin, and results in asthma, rhinitis and various 'aches and pains'. Individuals who are prone to chemical allergy often have a tendency to be allergic to other allergens such as house dust mite, pet hair and mould. Some studies have found neurocognitive impairment, brain dysfunction and poor quality of life in individuals who are exposed to many chemicals found in the home. Try to isolate the offending substance and avoid it. You can also try Rhynil, nasal dilators, Sterimar nasal hygiene spray.


Alcohol has an adverse effect on sleep, especially those who suffer sleep disordered breathing problems such as snoring. It affects the structures in the airway that are responsible for cardio-pulmonary regulation and inhibits the nerve activity of structures such as the tongue base, soft palate and uvula. Alcohol ingestion also leads to swelling of the airway and reduces oropharyngeal muscle tone. There has also been some speculation that alcohol taken before bed inhibits neurons located in the brain cortex. All of these factors have an effect on both snorers and non-snorers. For snorers this can lead to an increased risk of apnoea events and for non-snorers it can lead to snoring.

One study which compared alcohol ingestion of snorers and non-snorers found that snorers who ingested alcohol before bed had an increased AHI (Apnoea Hypopnoea Index), lower oxygen saturation and higher heart rate than non-snorers. In both groups alcohol led to a significant increase in heart rate and sleep disordered breathing. It is known that frequent changes in heart rate occur in obstructive sleep apnoea and this is known to have an effect on blood pressure.

Fewer than 10% of women report having one or more alcoholic drinks per day, and therefore it can be concluded that they are not so affected by the consumption of alcohol before bed as men. However, women may also be more resistant to the effect of alcohol, as they tend to have greater airway stability and greater hormonally mediated increased ventilatory drive.

One study examined the association of beer, wine and spirits on sleep disordered breathing. It was found that beer, but not wine or spirits was significantly associated with mild and moderate sleep apnoea. It was also found that beer accounted for 61% of drinking in men and 32% in women. Those who consumed beer, tended to consume more drinks per day/week than consumers of wine or spirits. The study concluded that greater alcohol consumption is associated with a high risk of developing sleep apnoea.

Try to avoid drinking alcohol immediately before bed. Alcohol will act as a sedative and although you will drop off to sleep quite quickly, you will find that your sleep pattern is disrupted due to the effects of the alcohol. This will result in a poor night's sleep. You may wish to try a Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD) that will help to keep your tongue from relaxing back into your airway causing snoring.

Dairy products

Certain foods are considered to be mucus-forming, leading to catarrh. Dairy products are most commonly considered mucus forming, but so are refined carbohydrates, such as wheat flour products and sugars. Catarrhal conditions are associated with sinus problems and are characterised by congestion, excess mucus, headaches, runny nose, rhinitis, sore throat and ear problems. Chronic catarrh often leads to mouth breathing at night, that in turn will cause snoring. Foods to avoid; milk, butter, cheese, cream, ice cream, yoghurt and milk chocolate. Try: Chin-Up strips to keep your mouth closed at night and also nasal dilators for better nasal breathing.

Feather bedding, carpets and curtains

Down or feather fillings in pillows and bedding encourage dust mite proliferation and cause symptoms for individuals with dust mite allergy. A recent study has shown that more than 60% of dust mite exposure occurs in bed. It is generally assumed that feather pillows have higher concentrations of mites than synthetic pillows. However, a population survey in the UK suggested that synthetic pillows had a greater risk of sleep disordered breathing than feathers. They demonstrated that synthetic pillows had up to 5 times more mite allergen than feather pillows. They concluded that the most probable explanation for this was that feather pillows are covered with better quality, tighter woven fabrics that prevent the feathers from coming out but also prevent mites getting into the pillow. Other studies comparing feather, foam and synthetic fibre pillows found either no difference in the amount of mites and allergy symptoms or found body position to have more impact on mite allergy regardless of the nature of the bedding.

Control measures: Use anti-allergy and barrier bedding on all mattresses, duvets and pillows. When washing bedding, wash at 600 or above to kill mites this can help prevent allergy, asthma and snoring. House dust mites live in carpets and curtains as well as bedding. Wash curtains and carpets every 3 months or consider using venetian or roller blinds and wooden floors. Most vacuum cleaners cannot remove live mites, use a high filtration vacuum cleaner with filters that retain a high proportion of small particles.


All plants produce pollen therefore individuals who are allergic to pollen will suffer greatly in the garden. Grass pollen is the most frequent cause of hayfever but other types also cause allergy including pollen from trees and weeds. Mould that is found in rotting logs, hay, mulches, commercial peat moss, compost piles and leaf litter are all know to cause allergy. For blocked nose try Rhynil and nasal dilators for better breathing.

House dust mite

House dust mite can cause and trigger chronic rhinitis. Continued contact may result in permanent rhinitis or stuffy and 'bunged up' nose. Sometimes even the sense of smell diminishes. Chronic rhinitis is clinically recognised as a risk factor for the development of asthma. Individuals with asthma are more at risk of snoring due to wheezing and obstructed airway. Having a stuffy or 'bunged up' nose at night restricts nasal breathing and because of this sufferers tend to breathe through their mouth. Mouth breathing is a major cause of snoring and also gives rise to dry mouth and smelly breath in the morning. Try Rhynil, decongestants, antihistamines, nasal corticosteroid sprays.


Sleeping Pills

All medications have side effects but for most people they are minor and of no consequence. People taking several drugs at a time may experience 'drug interaction' which means you may suffer certain symptoms but they are not truly allergic. However, some people are allergic to drugs such as penicillin, some anaesthetics, vaccines and other drugs used in X-ray procedures. If you are allergic to any drugs you should tell your GP but if you have an adverse reaction to any medication you should notify your GP immediately.


Mould spores can be found almost anywhere within the house. There are moulds that form on window frames caused by condensation, moulds in the refrigerator, and on decaying food. It is predicted that about 5% of the population have allergic symptoms associated with indoor mould exposure. Mould fungi produce large numbers of spores that when airborne can be inhaled, some small enough to be inspired into the airways. As we spend 80-90% of our time indoors any interaction with mould may have an adverse effect on health. Exposure to indoor moulds is a risk factor for allergic rhinitis, respiratory symptoms and asthma. All of these symptoms can affect sleep quality and can lead to breathing difficulties and snoring. Try: antihistamines, decongestants, nasal sprays, Rhynil, nasal dilators. For mouth breathing you can also try Chin-Up strips.

Paint & glue

Chemical sensitivity often develops in people who are prone to other types of allergy. They may have a history of asthma, eczema or hayfever in the past, or even a close family members who suffers allergy. Some will have been prone to headaches from perfumes, or nausea from paint smells, for many years and this gradually develops into more serious chemical sensitivity. The most common immediate symptoms from paint fumes include eye and throat irritation, headache, dizziness, and trouble breathing. More long-term exposure to paint fumes can lead to neurological problems such as chronic headaches, breathing problems such as asthma and allergic rhinitis. These symptoms all contribute to disturbed sleep and often contribute to snoring. If you have difficulty breathing at night you can try Rhynil, nasal dilators or decongestants from your pharmacy.

Perfumes and body sprays

It is estimated that the average adult uses in excess of seven skin care products every day so it is not surprising that allergic reactions to these products is common. Epidemiological studies have found that around 40% of the population experience some sort of adverse reaction to personal care products over the course of a year. Deodorants, perfumes, skin care products, hair care products and nail cosmetics contain many fragrance and preservative chemicals that cause allergy. Exposure to such chemicals can cause respiratory symptoms that can be severe.

Pet allergy

Exposure to pet hair or dander, is one of the commonest triggers for allergy within the home. About 20% of people find they have an allergic reaction to these minute particles of dander found on pets. Some animals also produce these allergens in urine and saliva. The particles are so small they are inhaled and cause allergic symptoms. Research has found that children living with a dog suffer more respiratory infections and are likely to snore later in life. Pet dander can remain on floors, walls and ceilings for years even after the pet has left the house. Tips to avoid pet allergy: never let the pet into the bedroom, wash your hands thoroughly after having contact with your pet, intensive vacuum clean furniture, carpets and floors. Regularly clean all parts of the home where the pet goes to eliminate bacteria. For blocked nose use Rhynil.


Flower Pollen

In Britain about 90% of hay fever sufferers are allergic to grass pollen and 25% are allergic to birch pollen. Pollen allergy causes the small blood vessels in the nose to dilate. Fluid escapes through these expanded vessel walls and cause the nasal passages to swell. The result of this is nasal congestion. Some people with pollen allergy develop asthma or other respiratory conditions. Coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath due to narrowing of the bronchial passages can lead to disturbed sleep and snoring. Nasal dilators, Rhynil, steam inhalation or antihistamines and decongestants from your pharmacist.

Smoking and passive smoking

Being a smoker, someone who used to smoke or simply being in a smoke filled environment (passive smoking) are all risk factors for snoring. It is not wholly clear why smoking causes snoring but it is has been suggested that it eminates from irritation and inflammation in the upper airways. However, nicotine withdrawl during sleep in those who smoke might lead to airway instability which in turn predisposes to airway obstruction and snoring. It has been found that women who smoke have a higher risk of snoring than men who smoke. Passive smoking and snoring association is present in childhood, and maternal smoking influences airway development. Research has shown that there is a dose dependency between smoking and snoring and the possibility of irreversible damage to the upper airways. It was found that smokers and ex-smokers snored more than never smokers.

Exposure to secondhand smoke is a known risk factor for snoring and repeated upper respiratory tract infections in children. Interestingly, one study found that household cigarette smoking was identified as a risk factor for both initial onset of snoring and its continued presence over time.

Try to have your last cigarette at least 4 hours before bed to enable your nose and airway to recover from the irritation and swelling caused by the smoke. Rhynil and nasal dilators may help you breathe easier at night. If you sleep with your mouth open you may also like to try Chin-Up strips to keep your mouth closed at night.

National Stop Snoring Week 2010 is supported by

Breathe Right Nasal StripsKleenex Brand TissuesCuraproxAllergy and Gluten Free Show