Snoring when drunk: it’s worse than normal snoring. Have you ever noticed that? If you are reading this, I’m guessing you probably have.
I’m also guessing you probably never became aware of the situation on your own. More often than not, the partners of people who snore make the connection. They are the ones on the receiving end of all those sleep-disrupting decibels.
As with normal snoring, snoring when drunk can potentially disrupt the sleep of other people living in the house as well. The walls and doors of many modern dwellings aren’t very efficient when it comes to preventing the travel of noise.
Although alcohol can make you feel drowsy, it’s actually an enemy of sound sleep and, apart from making your snoring worse, alcohol can also interfere with your breathing. That information may surprise you, but it’s true. How do you feel about a nightcap now?
So, why is your snoring worse when you are drunk and is there anything you can do? The answers to both questions may surprise you.
What Will I Learn?
Why Snoring is Worse When You are Drunk
Alcohol is a depressant. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that means drinking will make you feel depressed. Although, for some people, it can do just that.
Depressant, or central nervous system depressants as they are sometimes known, are drugs that reduce neurotransmitter activity in the brain.
Alcohol is a Drug
If you are surprised to hear alcohol referred to as a drug, you are probably not alone. Few people tend to think of it that way. However, not only is alcohol a drug, it’s also the most widely-used and socially-accepted drug in the world.
Getting drunk alters the mood. It also changes the way you think and feel. These abilities are due to the way the drug affects your neural pathways.
That’s not to say there is anything wrong with drinking alcohol in moderation. Nevertheless, if you drink too much and get drunk, apart from making your snoring worse alcohol can be very damaging to your health.
When alcohol interferes with neurotransmitter activity, it has a sedating effect. That’s why you may start to feel drowsy after having a drink or two. It’s also why so many people use it as a nightcap but most of them probably don’t realize why alcohol affects them in this way.
The truth is, alcohol is a very poor end-of-the-day drink. Although it sedates, drinking alcohol is not conducive to deep sleep.
Alcohol Relaxes Your Muscles
One of the other things alcohol does is relax your muscles. Even the ones you use for breathing. That’s the real reason why going to bed drunk is only going to make your snoring worse.
Normal snoring happens when the muscles of the jaw, tongue, and throat relax during sleep. This results in an airway obstruction that causes the relaxed tissues to vibrate and produce that familiar rasping sound we all know and hate.
This restriction in airflow can also contribute to a potentially dangerous breathing disorder called sleep apnea. People who suffer from sleep apnea can stop breathing multiple times per hour while they are asleep.
Because it causes your muscles to relax more, alcohol makes snoring and sleep apnea worse.
Alcohol can cause your body to become dehydrated. That’s one of the main reasons drinking too much of it can give you a bad head. When you get drunk, the dehydrating effect of alcohol can also make your snoring worse.
When you are dehydrated, the tissues of your mouth and throat can dry out. Because the membranes are dryer, it can increase tissue vibration and make your snoring louder than before.
What You Can Do to Stop Snoring When Drunk
The chances are you are not going to like this answer, but the best way to prevent alcohol from turning up the volume of your snoring is not to get drunk in the first place.
Apart from reducing the volume of your snoring, resisting the temptation to get drunk will allow you to enjoy better-quality sleep. Drinking less alcohol will also benefit your health.
As with any other orally-taken drug, alcohol enters your blood when it passes through the walls of your intestines. Once it’s in the blood, it gets carried to the brain. When it gets there, it can cause havoc with your normal sleep patterns.
There are different levels of sleep. The deepest form causes rapid eye movements. It’s known by the acronym REM.
REM sleep is important. It’s necessary for good physical and mental health. The way alcohol affects the brain causes you to spend more time in lighter sleep and less time in REM.
If you’ve been drinking alcohol the night before, you are more likely to wake up earlier than you’d like to and feel less refreshed.
In all honesty, normal snoring presents these issues as well. The thing to be aware of is alcohol makes it worse.
Like it or not, if you want to stop your snoring from getting worse, you will need to drink less alcohol. Better still, drink none at all and certainly don’t drink enough to become drunk.
If you continue drinking alcohol, it will continue to up the level of decibels you emit from your throat. You’ll have to live it. So will your nearest and dearest. If you can’t do it for yourself, try to make the changes for them.
If you are unable or unwilling to stop, the next best thing is to make a compromise.
A compromise? What does this mean exactly?
It means taking steps to try and reduce the severity of your drink-related snoring—damage limitation if you like.
So, What Can You Do?
One of the things you can do is stop drinking so late at night. If you are going to drink, instead of a nightcap, have your last drink of the day at least three hours before going to bed.
Pairing you drinking with a meal is also a good idea. The presence of food in your stomach and intestines will help you to absorb the alcohol more easily. That lessens the chances of it hitting your system closer to the time you are ready for bed.
Reducing the amount of alcohol you drink is also a good idea. As is choosing a drink that has a lower ABV.
Sleeping on your side instead of your back can also be beneficial. If you are overweight, going on a diet would help too.
If you are already taking steps to lose weight, you could be looking at a win-win situation. Drinking less alcohol is a very good way to reduce calories. Did you know pure alcohol contains seven calories per gram?