Snoring is characterized by loud breathing when a person is sleeping. It is a common ailment that may strike anybody at any time. Statistics show that overweight males and women are more likely to be affected. In addition, snoring is a condition that frequently becomes worse with age.
The occasional bout of snoring is not normally seen as a significant problem in most cases. This is because it causes the most trouble for the person you share a bed with. But if you have a habit of snoring for a long time, you not only affect the sleeping patterns of others close to you but also reduce your sleep quality.
Snoring might indicate a more serious underlying health issue, such as obstructive sleep apnea. You should make an appointment with your primary care physician if you find that you are excessively tired during the day, snore frequently or very loudly, or your spouse observes that you occasionally stop breathing entirely.
You and the people closest to you may require medical assistance in order to have a restful night’s sleep.
If you know the fundamentals of snoring, such as what causes it, when it can be dangerous, how to cure it, and how to deal with it, you can improve your health and remove a common source of sleep problems. Read on to learn all about snoring.
Cause of Snoring
An obstruction in the air passage causes snoring via the mouth and nose during sleep. Airflow can be impeded by a variety of factors, including the following:
1. Blocked Passages in The Nasal Airways
To breathe through a congested nose, you have to work harder. The floppy throat tissues are pulled together by the resulting heightened vacuum in the throat. Snoring may occasionally be restricted to allergy season, the flu, or sinus infections. Snoring and OSA can also be brought on by nasal or nasal septal abnormalities, such as a deviated septum.
2. Weak Muscle Tone in The Throat And The Tongue
If the muscles are allowed to become unduly relaxed, either the tongue will slip back into the airway, or the throat muscles will pull in from the sides into the airway. Both of these scenarios are undesirable. Both of these circumstances might make it challenging to take deep breaths.
3. Bulky Throat Tissue
Snoring is common in young people who have big tonsils and adenoids. People who are overweight are more likely to have additional soft tissue in the neck, which can contribute to a constriction of the airway.
Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea are both more likely to occur in individuals who have tongues that are abnormally large in size. In addition, cysts or tumors can occasionally cause the constriction of airways.
4. Long Uvula And/or Palate
The opening that leads from your nose to your throat might be made more constricted if you have a long soft palate or a long uvula. This forces them to vibrate and rub up against one another, which ultimately results in your airway becoming obstructed.
5. Abuse of Alcohol And Drugs
Consuming alcohol, particularly in the hours leading up to bedtime, is associated with an increased likelihood of snoring. According to the findings of several studies, alcohol has a role in the further relaxation of muscular tone that takes place while one is sleeping. Snoring and sleep apnea are the consequences of the increased blockage in the airway that this impact causes.
Since alcohol also slows response time, it will take longer for your body to react to and recover from restricted breathing and snoring while drinking.
6. Sleep Position
Those who sleep on their backs are more prone to snoring. Because of the pull of gravity, your tongue and soft palate will naturally find their way to the base of your throat when you sleep on your back. This can cause issues with swallowing. In addition, this stance restricts the movement of air precisely, leading to the audible noises associated with snoring.
According to research, snoring is more common in people who sleep on their backs than people who sleep on their sides or in a lateral posture. Therefore, snoring can be alleviated to some degree by sleeping on one’s side rather than the back by using a pillow.
7. Sleep Deprivation
The throat muscles may relax to the point of being too loose if you don’t get enough sleep.
You could be using sleeping pills or antihistamines, both of which can cause drowsiness and snoring, but everyone responds differently to drugs.
The muscle in your jaw and neck may relax more than normal if you take a drug from this class. Snoring can be caused by an obstruction created by the tissue as you sleep. Dry lips and tongue from medication can also contribute to snoring by making the throat’s soft tissues too sticky and prone to collapse, which can prevent normal airflow.
Symptoms of Snoring
You snore when your airway is obstructed while you’re sleeping. The signs of snoring are your body’s reaction to the decreased airflow that causes it. The most widely recognized symptoms of snoring are:
- Exhaustion during the day
- Lack of restful sleep
- Morning headaches
- Personality shift characterized by increased irritation and moodiness
- Waking up with a sore throat
- Ambiguity when waking up at night
- Weight increase for no apparent reason
- Issues with memory, focus, and attention span
- Pauses in breathing
- Sleep disruption caused by choking, gasping, etc.
Treatment Options For Snoring
People who snore loudly and consistently in any position or who have a detrimental influence on their bed partner’s sleep should consult a doctor to rule out the possibility of having a sleep disorder known as sleep apnea.
An ENT (ear, nose, and throat) expert, also known as an otolaryngologist, will comprehensively examine the patient’s nasal passages, throat, mouth, palate, and neck, most of the time with the assistance of a fiberoptic scope.
An examination can determine if an allergy brings on snoring in the nasal passages, an infection, a blockage in the nasal passages, or an expansion of the tonsils and adenoids. If you want to find out if your snoring is caused by obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), you might need to have a sleep study done at a clinic or even at home.
The most common method for treating OSA is using a device that applies a slight amount of positive pressure to the airway in order to prop it open. For example, a device worn while sleeping and delivering pressure on the nose or mouth effectively treats sleep apnea.
This technique is known as continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP for short, and it is now the treatment of choice for people who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). However, it is difficult to treat obstructive sleep apnea because the blockage can happen at various levels of the airway.
The Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy stabilizes pressure at all sections of the upper airway and has the potential to be highly helpful. However, some users are unable to tolerate CPAP and must look into other treatment choices.
In certain cases, people who snore or have sleep apnea may also benefit from having an oral appliance that is custom-made for them and which brings the lower jaw forward.
An ENT expert, dentist, or oral surgeon who specializes in sleep dentistry should do the fitting for this device. In addition, snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can be improved in some people by achieving considerable weight loss.
There are a variety of surgical treatments available for snoring and OSA, including the following:
To open the airway, uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, often known as UPPP, is a type of plastic surgery performed on the throat that involves the repositioning of tissue or the removal of extra soft tissue.
In addition, when the injured tissue heals, the remaining tissue becomes more rigid, which helps to reduce tissue vibration. A tonsillectomy is another treatment option for enlarging the airway.
2. Thermal Ablation
The nasal turbinates, the base of the tongue, and/or the soft palate can all reduce their tissue mass using thermal ablation techniques. However, both snoring and OSA can be treated with these techniques, and many treatments may be necessary.
3. Palatal Implants
Hardening rods can be inserted into the soft palate to stiffen it, or the soft palate can be made stiffer by injecting an irritating chemical near the uvula.
4. Hypoglossal Nerve Stimulator
The device known as a “hypoglossal nerve stimulator” implants a tongue pacemaker, which causes the tongue to become rigid and move forward while the patient is sleeping. In addition to these treatments, others can be used to surgically target the tongue muscles or the midface’s skeletal structure.
Changes in Lifestyle
When it comes to snoring, a change in lifestyle habits can be effective enough to eliminate the need for more invasive therapy methods. Modifying one’s way of life is often advised even when other therapies are provided. Some of these alterations include:
- Keeping a healthy weight is vital since being overweight or obese increases the likelihood of snoring and sleep apnea.
- Avoiding or reducing alcohol and sedative usage is important because both are known snoring promoters.
- Changing the way you sleep since lying on your back increases the risk of snoring and other sleep-related breathing problems. Adjusting to a new role may be challenging, but it can ultimately prove beneficial. There are specialized aids for this problem, and some experts even advise stitching a tennis ball into your shirt’s back to prevent you from rolling over and sleeping on your back.
- An adjustable bed frame, bed risers, or a wedge cushion can be used to raise the head of the bed, which may help minimize snoring. For this to work, you need to elevate the entire mattress, not just the head of the bed.
- Congestion in the nose is a common cause of snoring, so eliminating allergy triggers and other sources of congestion can help. Over-the-nose breathing strips or an internal nasal expander may be useful for maintaining nasal airflow while you sleep.
The Bottom Line
Snoring is characterized by a loud and continuous sound that occurs concurrently with the inhalation and exhalation of breath. It takes place when swelling or another physical ailment causes your airways to become constricted or clogged.
Even if snoring on its own does not pose a direct danger to one’s health, it can severely impair one’s ability to get quality rest. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, you won’t be able to think properly or make decisions that are in your best interest. You also put yourself at a greater risk of developing high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and a variety of other health problems.
Snoring is one of the symptoms that can be associated with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a sleep disease that, if left untreated, can lead to serious medical and mental complications. Treatment for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) allows you to safeguard your health.
It is vital to tackle the underlying reasons for snoring in order to successfully treat it. For example, altering your sleeping posture to one on your side or dropping a few pounds are two straightforward treatments for this condition.
If your condition is more severe or connected to OSA, your doctor may recommend using a CPAP machine or an oral device when you sleep. In certain cases, surgical intervention is the only way to correct a physical issue.
If your snoring is brought on by obstructive sleep apnea or another illness, living with it might jeopardize your health. Sharing a bed or a house with other people can be humiliating, and this is true even if your snoring isn’t caused by a medical condition or other physical issues. Snoring can also prevent a person from getting the quality sleep they need, which can negatively affect their health.
Get in touch with your healthcare practitioner if you snore or if you have signs of snoring to determine whether or not you require therapy. It may take a few attempts to get the answer you’re looking for, but it will be worth it in the end.