THE KNACK Cut out smoking and drinking, or wear a cannon ball, says Dr Derek Lipman; Some people will need medical treatment - antibiotics for sinus infections or surgical treatment for removing big tonsils Illustration by Joe Magee
"Snoring is a sound produced by the vibration of the tissues in the back of the throat during sleep. Anything that intrudes on the air passage to the nose or throat, puts us into a deep level of sleep or overly relaxes the tissues at the back of the throat and will aggravate snoring. So, stop smoking and cut down on alcohol. Weight-gain causes narrowing of the air passages. Treat nasal congestion: I try not to endorse any commercial products but there are a number that help. Some people will need medical treatment - antibiotics for sinus infections or surgical treatment for removing big tonsils. The latest thing is laser surgery to remove tissues that vibrate at the back of the throat. Lying flat opens up the air passages, so sleep without a pillow on a firm mattress. `Positional' snorers - who only snore on their backs - could try a modern version of the snore ball used in American War of Independence. When a Revolutionary soldier was snoring badly, the regimental tailor sewed a cannon ball into a pocket in the back of his uniform. If the soldier rolled on his back, the ball pressed on the shoulder blades made him roll on to his side. In 1986, Melvyn Switzer, who lives in England, won the World Snoring Championships with a snore score of 87.5 decibels - that's the equivalent of putting your ear up to the exhaust pipe of a large truck in high gear! Apparently, Mrs Switzer is deaf in one ear!"

Dr Derek Lipman is an ear nose and throat specialist and the author of `Snoring from A-ZZZZ' which is published by Robson Books, price pounds 8.99

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