By Gideon Lasco, MDDid you wake up one day with an angry tentmate telling you how loudly you snored and he wasn’t able to sleep? You are not alone. Statistics vary around the world that show that somewhere between 30-50% of adults snore at some point in their lives. Moreover, you don’t need figures to tell you that snoring is as common in campsites.
Snoring is essentially a phenomenon of airway obstruction. Imagine a water tap; normally it flows smoothly and silently but if you put your hand on it, the water becomes unruly.
Since snoring can happen to anyone and since hiking creates an environment in which it can happen more often – and with more inconvenience since there would be people around you – It would be nice to examine some of the tips to reduce the chances of it happening:
1. Avoid drinking in camp. Alcohol has the ability to relax the throat muscles, which cause a more obstructive configuration that causes snoring. Marijuana may also do the same thing.
2. Don’t lie on your back. Lying on your side allows your throat to take a less obstructed position, reducing the chance of snoring.
3. Keep your nasal passages open. If you have colds or allergies, an antihistamine might be beneficial. You can ask your doctor for advice if you have allergic rhinitis or other longstanding condition.
4. In the long term, maintaining a healthy weight is also important. Excess fat in the airways add to the obstruction, raising the chances of snoring.
5. Stop smoking. Nicotine irritates the linings of your airways and can this also lead to snoring.
6. Avoid too much food. Although it is very tempting to eat a lot at camp, most people actually end up eating more than what their bodies need. Too much food can also be a contributory factor towards snoring.
7. Maintain a healthy sleeping habit. Sleeping regularly with enough hours is an antidote to many sleeping problems, and may help prevent snoring.
Here are some additional suggestions to make life easier for you and your team:
1. Use a one-man tent. If you’re hiking in small groups in a mountain with very few other hikers, the luxury of space can make snoring not really a problem.
2. Communicate with your team. If you know you’re a ‘loud snorers’ and if you’re sleeping on a tent with others, it will do well to tell them about it. You may even tell them to feel free to nudge you, or change your position a bit, to ‘turn ff the volume’, so to speak.
Snoring is never an intentional act but as it can cause inconvenience while in camp, these tips can come in handy for people who wish to call their tents their (temporary) home.