Snoring is one problem people have always made fun of. And that’s a fact because more than the person who suffers from the problem, the people who sleep with them are the real sufferers. Jokes apart, snoring can be a serious problem and could also indicate a potentially life-threatening condition like OSA (obstructive sleep apnea). But, to know what can make you stop snoring first you need to understand what snoring is, what causes it and how it could actually be life threatening.
is a condition that occurs when the flow of air is obstructed while you’re sleeping. Basically, the back of your mouth and nose is covered with soft tissues. The soft palate at the back of your throat is the main culprit for your snore. It is present where you can see the uvula, fleshy mass hanging from the roof of your mouth, like a punching bag. With every incoming breath, the palate vibrates thereby obstructing the airflow, causing snoring.
Here are top 6 reasons men (and women) snore.
Not everyone is blessed with enough space in their nose and throats to have a soundless sleep. There are a lot of people who snore because they have narrow airways (permanently or temporarily):
- Some of you might suddenly start snoring when you suffer from flu, blocked sinuses or allergies. It happens because your nose gets blocked and you start breathing through your mouth. When you breathe through your mouth here’s what exactly happens: Your tongue is pushed a bit backwards, the dangling uvula bends towards the roof and the soft palate starts vibrating which creates the sound.
- People who have throat infection or tonsillitis have a bit swelling in their throat which can obstruct the airways. Such type of snoring is not serious and goes away once you fully recover.
- Nasal polyps (soft outgrowth on the linings of the nasal passage) can also cause snoring
- People who have a deviated septum also have obstructed airways.
- Snoring is also found to be genetic. So if the above reasons are not relevant to you, it’s possible that you snore because your parents do.
There are both surgical and non-surgical treatments available for treatment of snoring. Mostly, the procedures used for the treatment of snoring focus on minimizing flapping or movement of the soft palate.
Surgical treatment options include:
- Septum surgery: People having a deviated septum can choose a nasal surgery to improve breathing.
- Uvulvectomy: this procedure involves surgical removal of the uvula
- Laser assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP): It involves the use of Laser to used to trim the soft tissues of the palate.
Other than these people who have nasal polyps can improve breathing getting them surgically removed. People having a narrow nasal passage can get a nasal surgery done to widen it.
Non-surgical treatment options include:
- Dental devices or mouthpieces: These devices are designed such that the lower jaw is held forward which prevents the tongue from moving behind. They have shown to improve snoring in about 70% to 90% of cases.
- Nasal medications: Certain nasal spray and medications can improve breathing by clearing nasal blockages
- Nasal devices: Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a nasal device used for treating snoring in people with OSA. It has two components: the nasal mask and a pump that controls air pressure. This pump provides a constant air pressure which prevents airway narrowing during inhalation and exhalation.
Regular snorers are at a risk of serious problems like obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). A person suffering from sleep apnea may have to face partial or complete blockage of airways. Air flow can be blocked for period of 10 seconds or more. Because the breathing is stopped, the oxygen levels in your blood drops. Low levels of oxygen can affect all systems in your body and actually kill you. Prolonged OSA is also linked to hypertension and heart disease like heart attack and stroke.
Also, if you have most of the signs of OSA like drowsiness during the daytime, low oxygen levels etc, then you may also suffer from upper airway resistance syndrome (UARS). This condition is similar to OSA but people having this condition have a tendency to breathe heavily to overcome the resistance of obstructed airways
Here are some tips to prevent snoring:
- If snoring is an occasional problem for you when you’re down due to flu, natural remedies like ginger and honey can help you soothe inflammation and widen your airways
- Regular snorers should try sleeping sideways rather than sleeping on the back. Sleeping on the back forces you tongue behind to obstruct airflow
- Avoid using a large pillow that causes your head to push forward and constrict your throat.
- If you’re overweight then you’re most likely to snore. Apart from a heavy body which itself can cause breathing problems, obese individuals also have a flabby neck (double chin) which can cause snoring.
- Stop smoking because cigarette smoke irritates the throat linings and obstruct airflow.