You may have heard rumors that drinking coffee can cause snoring. There is no scientific evidence to show coffee can do this or directly influence snoring in any way.
However, coffee contains caffeine. It’s a stimulant that can interfere with sleep. If you already have a problem with snoring, the last thing you want is caffeine further disrupting your sleep.
What Will I Learn?
If you are a coffee lover or drink other beverages that contain caffeine, it’s generally best to have your last (caffeinated) drink of the day at least four hours before you go to bed.
Snoring: What You Need to Know
Snoring is a noise caused when the flesh vibrates in the areas near the back of the throat. In the case of nose snorers, the vibration happens in the nasal passages.
A lot of people who snore do so due to a potentially dangerous condition known as sleep apnea, but not everyone who snores has this condition.
In the case of mouth snoring, which is far more common than nose snoring, the flesh begins to vibrate due to air turbulence. This often happens when the tongue relaxes, sinks back in the throat, and obstructs the airway.
Certain factors can make this situation more likely to occur, such as allergies, poor humidity in the bedroom, and sleeping on your back. Several other things are known to increase the potential for snoring as well but coffee is not one of them.
Has the Relationship Between Coffee and Snoring Been Studied?
Researchers don’t appear to have any interest in studying the alleged relationship between coffee and snoring.
The lack of motivation says a lot. Although things may change in the future, so far, the subject could be deemed as being unworthy of scientific study.
However, a few studies have explored the potential links between caffeine and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). The relationship between caffeine and sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) has seen a little study too.
Certain studies have included coffee but only because it’s a source of caffeine. The research included other caffeinated drinks too and there is generally a greater focus on caffeinated soda.
Some experts believe caffeine may contribute to SDB, but that not sleep apnea and it’s certainly not snoring.
Caffeine and Sleep Disordered Breathing
In 2012, researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore examined the way caffeine may affect SDB. They did this via a community-based study.
The researchers were inspired to do the investigation because the subject had not been adequately studied. The lack of study continues to this day.
Although some of the study participants drank coffee, others had tea or caffeinated soda. After examining the data, the researchers discovered caffeinated soda increased the severity of SDB, but tea and coffee did not.
Caffeine and Sleep Apnea
Despite caffeine’s ability to interfere with sleep, some research suggests caffeine be beneficial to people who have sleep apnea. However, the benefits appear to occur on a cognitive level and have nothing to do with snoring.
According to a study published in 2010, in the Neuropharmacology medical journal, a higher than average caffeine intake appears to improve the cognitive abilities of people suffering from moderate to severe sleep apnea.
Again, let’s not lose sight of the fact that the researchers were evaluating caffeine, not coffee, and snoring was not a part of the study.
An earlier study, conducted in 2008 and published in the journal Sleep and Breathing, explored the way caffeine affects the minds of people with moderately severe obstructive sleep apnea.
In this case, the data showed higher than average levels of caffeine consumption were associated with less cognitive impairment.
Coffee and Snoring Isn’t the Real Issue
Drinking coffee isn’t going to make you snore. If the prospect was high the researchers would have a greater interest in studying the phenomenon.
If anything, a cup of coffee before bed would be more likely to stop you from snoring by preventing you from going to sleep. That’s an issue that’s the same for everyone, whether they snore or not.
One of the worst things about snoring is it interrupts your sleep and prevents you from waking up refreshed.
Caffeine affects sleep quality too so even if you don’t snore it’s not a good idea to drink coffee near to your bedtime. Unless you drink the decaffeinated kind, of course.
Coffee and Snoring Summary
Despite the rumors and wild speculations that claim otherwise, drinking too much coffee does not cause snoring.
Bearing in mind the popularity of the beverage, if the claim had any truth to it, people would have made the connection decades ago. Researchers would have heard all the talk and began investigating the claims to see if they were true. As it is, it’s all quiet on the western front.
If you have a problem with snoring, are trying to find the cause and have been blaming it on caffeine, you are barking up the wrong tree.
Your snoring problem is more likely to be due to your tongue relaxing and causing an airway obstruction during sleep. This is a problem you can probably remedy by using a MAD or a TSD. Both are types of anti-snoring device that keep your airways open.
There are other anti-snoring options as well. A coffee-free lifestyle is not one of them. If you are particularly worried about your snoring or believe you may have sleep apnea or SDB, the best thing to do is visit your doctor and get some expert advice.