Dairy and snoring - there's a connection. Moo!

When we correlate dairy and snoring, scientifically speaking, we're on thin ice here, so read with a grain of salt at the ready (not to mix too many metaphors).

Basically, we'd read a few times that ingestion of dairy products can be associated either with increased production of mucus / phlegm in some people, or with thickening of the mucus, or both. Being young and reasonably healthy at the time, we paid little attention.

Later on, we encountered people who reported, anecdotally, that they had noticed such an effect, either in themselves or in their children. Not having felt severely bunged up, ourselves, we continued to drink large quantities of cow's milk and to consume other dairy products in quantity.

When snoring became a problem for us, we finally paid attention. And we made the dairy and snoring connection.

Effects of cow-squeezings on some humans

It turned out to be quite simple.

Yes, we get a bit gummier after eating/drinking dairy, especially cow's milk.

Yes, the effect lasts for a few hours.

Yes, if those few hours coincide with our sleeping period, then we do indeed snore more frequently and loudly.

We tried eliminating dairy for a while.

The result was that snoring decreased noticeably, according to bedmates, who should know. But it did not go away.


Since eliminating dairy proved to be very difficult, we looked around for an alternate solution. We found that replacing cow milk (and products made from it) with goat milk (and products made from it) reduced the problem by about 50-percent. That's a wild-assed, off-the-cuff, second-hand guesstimate. Again, it's based on reporting from our bedmates and of some siblings - once we thought we were onto something and spread the word to other family members, who then had their bedmates report if there seemed to be a dairy and snoring connection (there was).

In other words, replacing cow dairy products with goat dairy products resulted - anecdotally (therefore scientifically unsupported) in a noticeable-not-fabulous reduction in snoring and in some other discomfort related to mucous in the respiratory area.

Based on our own experience and on anecdotal evidence (therefore not worth a lot in scientific terms) from others, we think that you can reduce your snoring by:

a) reducing the amount of dairy products that you consume

b) replacing some-or-all with goat-milk derived versions

c) limiting your consumption during the second half of the day.

By the way, we don't mind goat milk - it has a bit of a gamey taste that is not present in cow milk, but is otherwise very, very similar - and it's not a problem in yogurt or cheese, but it is an acquired taste that not everybody ... um... acquires. YMMV Your mileage may vary. If you live in a metric country, then your kilometrage might vary.... not as catchy, but the sentiment is the same.

What's the big picture?

The big picture is:

  • If you are fat, that's your primary cause of snoring, and eliminating dairy will reduce, but not eliminate your snoring. Switching from cow to goat will likely have some positive effect, but even less than totally eliminating dairy would.
  • If you smoke, that's a major contributor to your snoring, so the dairy effect is a contributor but likely not the primary cause. Same idea as if you are fat. Trimming dairy will help but is not likely the cure.
  • If you drink alcohol in the hours before bedtime, that's probably having at least as much effect as any dairy you consume, so again... see above. If you drink more than a few beers or glasses of wine in a week, then that becomes a more serious contributor to your snoring. If you drink alcohol in the morning... boy, you've got a real problem - snoring is the least of it.

So we have a loosely, anecdotally supported connection between dairy and snoring. If you want to eat cheese and yogurt, and drink milk, keep it to the early hours, so most of the gummy-mucus effect is past by the time you go to bed.

There's not much more to say, except that, obviously, if you have some severe allergic or food-sensitivity reaction to milk, or have lactose intolerance, you're already a dummy for consuming dairy stuff, and again the snoring is probably not the worst of your problems. Aren't we kind? ;->

Any parting shots?

Us? Always.

It's been said, and we think there might be some wisdom to it, that even other animals don't drink their own species milk after they grow up, so adult humans really have no business drinking milk - especially from other species - once those humans are no longer children.

It's also been said that, far from being the fabulous source of calcium and magnesium that the dairy industry touts, milk (while it does contain the minerals) is not a good dietary source, because it's not absorbed well. In fact, it might prevent absorption of calcium. That is certainly true if you are lactose intolerant or have any other unfavorable intestinal reaction to the moo. When your intestines are annoyed, they don't work as well. You are better off just eating spinach and other leafy green veggies (salad, anyone?) to get your allotment of calcium and magnesium for those strong bones and teeth. Dairy and snoring, and some other reasons to cut down on your consumption of moo.

If you tolerate cheese and yogurt, go right ahead - again, if a snoring problem brought you to this site and this page, then you'll want to minimize dairy or confine it to the front half of the day. But drinking it by the quart/liter as we MHT guys did, throughout our childhoods, teen years, and young-adult years, is probably a bad idea.

Not the least of it is _why_ you would drink moo by the gallon:

- it goes really, really well with cookies, pie, cake, brownies, pancakes...

- it somehow seems to make you able to eat more cookies, pie, cake, brownies, pancakes, waffles, knishes, really-amazing-breads-from-Le-Fromontier-in-Montreal...

Some people think you shouldn't drink any liquids while eating, but we don't go along with that. Water is fine. Wine or beer is a good grown-up accompaniment to almost any meal (if you aren't currently fat, that is). But not moo. As good as it seems, going down, it's what it does after it gets to your tummy that becomes problematic.

Well, on third thought, it does go really well with a good mess of mac-and-cheese, doesn't it?

But that's not something to recommend on a page where almost none of the readership (and definitely none of the writers) should be eating mac-and-cheese OR drinking moo. So forget we said that.

Good luck with your snoring, and see our other pages for discussion of several of the more likely causes of your problem snoring. Dairy and snoring.... or more explicitly, dairy and mucus is a likely contributor, but unlikely to be the main reason that you snore... just something to try modifying as a management tool, so to speak. Help to reduce the problem - especially if you suffer apnea - while you slowly reduce your weight (or quit smoking).

If this page wasn't where you wanted to be, then from this 'dairy and snoring' page, go back to the home page.

Or, return to the snoring section intro page page where we have a table of links to all the other snoring-related pages in this section of MHT.

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