Could avoiding salt-laden takeaways and crisps be the answer to curing your snoring?
That's what a new study by Brazilian researchers is attempting to find out. The team, based at the Hospital de Clinicas de Porto Alegre, is trying to uncover any sort of connection between salt and the more extreme version of sleep disorders - sleep apnoea.
One in 20 people in Britain currently suffer from sleep apnoea, which is the disorder where a person temporarily stops breathing because their throat closes repeatedly. It can lead to heavy snoring and tiredness during the day and often people aren't aware they have it until a partner who points it out.
"The diuretic pill and low-salt diet will both reduce the patient's salt levels. It's thought excessive salt intake leads to a build up of fluid in the body - when the patient is lying down, this fluid shifts into the neck during sleep, leading to a narrowing of the upper airways, and sleep apnoea."
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For standard snoring, the NHS advises losing weight if you are overweight, not drinking alcohol a few hours before you go to bed and giving up smoking.
For sleep apnoea, being overweight is one of the key problems, and it is not unreasonable to assume that a diet high in salt is also likely to be high in fat. Junk food, for instance, tends to have high quantities of both.
It is also a condition associated with hypertension (high blood pressure), which high salt diets are associated with. Recently, a study revealed that people with sleep apnoea are far more likely to develop cardiovascular disease.
A study by the British Lung Foundation revealed that sleep apnoea is treated differently across the country, and that it is increasing because obesity is on the rise.
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