In essence, snoring is heavy breathing during sleep. Snoring is a common condition that can affect anyone. However, this condition is observed to be more common among men and people who are overweight. It also has the tendency to get worse with age.
Snoring every now and then is considered harmless, although understandably, it can be a nuisance for your bed partner. However, for long-term snorers, they have to find a way how to stop snoring as it won’t only disrupt the sleep patterns of their bed partners;it will also affect the quality of their sleep.
In some cases, snoring can be a symptom of an underlying health problem as opposed to the main problem itself. Those who snore very loudly and on a consistent basis need to know how to treat snoring so it won’t affect their sleep as well as their quality of life.
Snoring occurs when the air flow through the nose and mouth is blocked. The interference of the air flow can be attributed to several causes, including:
Poor muscle tone in the tongue and throat. The muscles of the tongue and throat can be too relaxed. This causes them to collapse into the airway.
Long soft palate or uvula: A long uvula (the tissue that dangles in the back of the mouth) and a long soft palate can cause the opening from the nose to the throat to narrow down. When the individual breathes, the two can bump against each other and block the airway.
Blocked nasal airways:Some individuals snore when they have a sinus infection or during allergy season. Other problems that can also block the nasal airways include nasal polyps or a deviated septum (a condition where the wall separating the nostril from the other is off center).
Sleep position:Sleeping on the back may also result in snoring.
Alcohol and drug use:Taking muscle relaxants or drinking alcohol may also cause the throat and tongue muscles to relax too much.
Bulky throat tissue:This condition can be caused by being overweight. In some children, their adenoids and tonsils might be too large, causing them to snore.
Sleep deprivation:Not getting sufficient sleep can sometimes cause the throat muscles to relax too much.
Snoring in itself won’t have any complications. However, snoring that’s associated with sleep apnea may lead to the following issues:
Frequent waking from sleep: In some cases, patients are not even aware of it happening.
Heart strain: Long-term obstructive sleep apnea might cause the blood pressure to rise, making the heart bigger as a result. This puts the patient at a higher risk of developing strokes and heart attacks.
Light sleeping:Waking up countless times during the night can interfere with the normal sleep pattern, depriving patients of a deeper and more restorative sleep.
Poor sleep quality:Not getting enough sleep may cause patients to be sleepy during the day and can significantly affect their quality of life.
There are several treatment options available for snoring, including:
Oral appliances:Patients will wear a small plastic device in their mouth while they sleep. This will keep the airways open.
Lifestyle changes: Your doctor may advise losing the excess weight or not drinking alcohol especially before retiring for the night.
CPAP machine:A continuous positive airway pressure machine can be used to treat sleep apnea. It can also help minimise snoring by blowing air into the patient’s airways during sleep.
Surgery:Some procedures can be done to help stop snoring. When required, your doctor can shrink or remove the tissues in the throat or make the soft palate stiffer.