The lucky ones inherit mansions, sports cars, or Grannie Gertie’s fine china – or even dapper noses, dazzling smiles, and Mum’s beautiful baby blues. Then, there are less charming traits like snoring.

Researchers now know that, for some, snoring and sleep apnea are genetic and that the children of chronic snorers are three times more likely to join the chorus.

When trying to appease your sleep-starved partner or even get a good night’s shut-eye yourself, it’s worth entering the nature-nurture debate and consulting the family tree.

Obesity is a major cause of snoring – and can be both a learned lifestyle or an inherited predisposition. Like it or not, being overweight runs in families – whether it’s nurtured through shared bad eating habits or natured by a genetic predisposition.

The problem is that overweight people often have wider necks. Those with neck circumferences greater than 42cm (16.5 inches) are most likely to raise the roof as the fatty tissue around the neck condenses the airway which restricts airflow and stunts breathing.

There are also other reasons you need to know whether you resemble your Aunt Agnes. Nightly snoring, grunting and wheezing can be traced to the physical and physiological structure of the face, head, and upper airways. Anatomical features such as Uncle Wilson’s receding chin or small jaw, craniofacial abnormalities, and a large tongue all restrict the size of the upper airway, increasing the risk of snoring and sleep apnea.

Stop snoring tonight

Then there are those self-inflicted habits such as smoking and drinking – often learned from your loved ones – that can spur snoring.

The good news is that even if snoring is an unwelcome gift from the family, you can do something about it. The Snoremeds mouthpieces, which open up your airway, promise many plenties of rest for you and your nearest and dearest.