Snoring is the grunting and rattling sound. It’s made by the vibrations of the airway tissues at the back of the mouth, nose, and throat during sleep; it happens as we breathe in and out. So this usually happens when a person can’t move air freely through their noses and throats during sleep. Mostly, this is because of a partial blockage in the airways due to the relaxation of the muscles holding them open. People who snore too often have throat and nasal tissues or “floppy” tissues that is prone to vibration.
Snoring is very common; 45% of normal adults snore at least occasionally. It’s twice as common in men, than in women and it is known to increase with age.
Snoring is actually a serious matter.
Snoring can cause sleep disturbances for both the snorer and those around them. This will be then lead to symptoms like:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness;
- Reduced mental function;
- Difficulty to fall asleep;
- Emotional upset and;
- Relationship issues
It’s important to note, however, that snoring could also be an indication of sleep apnea. Potentially, it is a life-threatening condition that should receive medical attention. This condition is typically caused by breathing obstruction during the night which awakens the sleeper; at which point the person begins breathing again.
Normal snoring usually does not affect the quality of sleep as much as sleep apnea. If you suffer from extreme fatigue, sleepiness, and exhaustion during the day, your problem may be more than just snoring, and you should get it checked out by a doctor. Receiving help for such sleep-related breathing disorders is essential as they are linked to an increased risk of traffic accidents and cardiovascular disease.
For one, a snoring spouse often keeps the other person from a good night’s sleep, which can eventually lead to separate bedrooms. “Snoring can create real problems in a marriage,” says Daniel P. Slaughter, MD; an otolaryngologist and snoring expert at Capital Otolaryngology in Austin, Texas.
Not only is snoring a nuisance, but 75% of people who snore has obstructive sleep apnea which increases the risk of developing heart disease, Slaughter says.
What are the different types of snoring?
Yes, you read it right. There are different types of snoring. These types are often distinguished from where the snoring comes from.
Mouth based snoring – This is when a person breathes through their mouth during sleep. Rather than using the nose, they tend to utilize their mouths. A simple test to see if this is the case is when you can make the snoring noise with your mouth closed. If you can only do it when it is open then using devices to keep your mouth closed at night could help to reduce the snoring.
Tongue based snorer – This type of snoring however, is when the tongue falls into the back of the throat blocking the airway. A simple test to see if this is the case is to stick your tongue out as far as it will go and grab it between your teeth. If the snoring noise is reduced in this position, then you are probably a tongue-based snorer. Sleeping on your side or using a Mandibular Advancement Device to move your jaw and tongue forward as you sleep could be helpful.
Nasal collapse or congestion – It is when the nostrils either collapse or congest causing the airway to be blocked. Try pressing one side of your nose closed with a finger and then try to breathe in with your mouth closed. If the nostril collapses then using some form of nasal dilator can be helpful. If you simply can’t breathe due to congestion then it could be worth checking for allergies.
Palatal Flutter – If none of the above tests work, then the vibration of the soft tissue in your throat could cause you to snore. Following some of the advice below or seeking professional help would be advised if this is the case in your situation.
So, what causes snoring?
Well technically, it’s not just caused by a bad night’s sleep. Moreover, snoring can be branching from a lot of things. The different causes of snoring could be:
If you’re either obese or out of shape, this can aggravate the problem of snoring; since overeating and/or lack of exercise can lead to an increase in fat around the throat. This extra fat can cause the airway to be narrower and affect normal breathing by creating an obstruction in the oropharynx during sleep.
In this case, snoring can be even more pronounced. This particular cause is notably higher in men than women because men tend to put on weight in their neck more than women.
When you lay on your back, the fatty tissue adds pressure onto the airway, blocking it off. Maybe this is why rolling over can sometimes help. The good news is exercising, losing weight and treating obesity can be all it takes to end your snoring, and that will create better overall health too.
This maybe the last thing all women want to hear; it is yet another problem. Oftentimes, the menopausal symptoms includes this, but as women get older. It’s common that their muscle tone diminishes, causing them to put on some weight. By the time women have reached the age of approximately 70, they’re just as likely to be snorers as men of the same age. This is just one more reason why staying fit and healthy, is the way to go.
As you reach mid-age, typically 45–64, your throat becomes narrower and the muscle tone in your throat decreases. Of course, growing older is part of life, but there are things you can do to make a difference in your snore patterns or possibly eliminate snoring altogether,. Thins such as positive lifestyle changes, bedtime routines and, believe it or not, throat exercises.
Nasal and Sinus problems
Blocked airways or a stuffy nose make inhalation difficult and create a vacuum in the throat, leading to snoring. Keeping a clean house, free of dust, and a healthy body can help eliminate the snoring as well as the nasal and sinus problems.
Studies revealed that sleep positioning plays an important role in snoring and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Subjects were given directions and therapy using a head-positioning pillow to see if snoring sounds were reduced. In this study published by Scientific Reports, most patients, significantly improved. In addition, it was shown that overweight or normal weight had the same results with the use of this pillow. As noted above, lying on the back may cause more throat obstruction, so a special pillow may be something to stop the snoring for some.
If this is the case, what are the common treatments to help stop snoring?
Lose Weight and Exercise – Being overweight or having a large neck circumference, usually more than 16”, increases the risk of fat pushing down on the throat and worsening snoring. Starting a weight loss and exercise program can significantly reduce snoring for many individuals.
Change Sleep Position, Side Sleeping – Sleeping on your side can prevent the tongue from falling back, blocking the throat during sleep. You can use body pillows to prevent individuals from rolling back onto their backs during the night.
Avoid or Limit A*****l – Drinking a*****l relaxes the airway muscles even more than normal causing further airway collapse; thus, worsens the snore. Limit a*****l consumption (for weight loss) and avoid drinking it at least 4hrs before going to bed.
Prevent nasal collapse – If you know that you suffer from nasal collapse, then using some form of adhesive nasal dilator strip can help to keep the airways open – reducing snoring. Place the strip overhead your nose for a great and perfect position.
Peppermint Oil and Goldenseal – If your snoring occurs because of nasal or chest congestion, pure peppermint oil can relieve the congestion. It’s been shown to be an essential oil sore throat reliever and congestion in the nasal passageways; which in turn could be how to stop snoring for congestion issues.
Goldenseal – Another supplement you can use to help relieve congestion in your chest and nasal passages is typically found in powder, liquid, or capsule form. You can even have a cup of herbal tea that contains peppermint or goldenseal. Just make sure you don’t have tea with caffeine, as that can greatly interrupt your sleep.
Prevent mouth opening – If you know that you snore with your mouth open, then it can be helpful to just close it during sleep. You can either use specifically designed adhesive tape or mouth guards.
Stop smoking – Smoking causes nasal congestion and inflammation. This leads to a worsening of snoring. Quitting smoking can help to reduce snoring and improve your overall health.
Take Vitamin C – The sinuses can obstruct the airways, causing the mouth to open and the uvula, the fleshy extension at the back of the soft palate that hangs above the throat, to vibrate and create the annoy of an all-night snore. Vitamin C may help prevent this because we know it helps promote a healthy immune system. That healthy immune system can clear the sinuses. Papaya, pineapple, which also contains sinus-fighting bromelain, broccoli, and red bell pepper, to name a few, are the some of the best Vitamin C foods.
Check for allergies – Nasal congestion and inflammation caused by allergies is a common cause of snoring. Allergy testing can therefore help you identify and reduce potential allergens in your sleeping environment; (e.g. types of bedding, dust mites, pet hair, and dairy or wheat intolerance) and lessen snoring.
Consider Getting a Humidifier – Dry air can contribute to your snoring problem because it dries out the throat and nasal membranes, creating congestion. Congestion can restrict the natural breathing pattern and cause the tissues to vibrate. A humidifier could help by eliminating the dry air and creating more comfort for the body, ultimately allowing for more natural breathing. You can even add essential oils to the humidifier.
Use sedatives – Certain medications such as sleeping pills and anti histamines are designed to have a relaxing effect and can therefore worsen snoring. Speak with your doctor before making any changes to your medication; they might be able to provide non-sedative alternatives.
Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD) – If you know that you are a tongue-based snorer then using a MAD can help to move your jaw forward and prevent your tongue from blocking the back of your throat during sleep.
Surgery – If none of the standard methods mentioned above work to reduce the snoring, then speaking with an Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist about the possibility of surgery can be considered as a last resort.
Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
- Also consider having good and proper sleeping hygiene.
Change Your Pillows
- As mentioned earlier, better pillow lead to better sleeping results; try changing your pillows.
Stay Well Hydrated
- Make sure that you have at least drank enough water for before going to bed.
Avoid Dairy Products and Big Meals Late at Night – Drinking milk or other dairy products can make snoring worse because it leaves a layer of mucus in your mouth/throat. This mucus adds to the blockage of the airways. Also, try to avoid eating a big meal just before bedtime. When your stomach is full, it can push up against your diaphragm, affecting your rhythmic breathing.
Snoring prevents you from getting the healthy sleep you need most. Therefore, regardless of what is specifically causing you to snore, consider it a sign that something might not be right. Use caution before you self-treat and always consider checking with your doctor the best way to do.