Definition: Defining the Meaning of Snoring
Snoring is defined as the vibration of respiratory structures and the resulting sound due to obstructed air movement during breathing while sleeping. In some cases, the sound may be soft, but in other cases, it can be loud and unpleasant. Snoring during sleep may be a sign, or first alarm, of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Researchers say that snoring is a factor of sleep deprivation.
Snoring occurs when air flows past relaxed tissues in your throat, causing the tissues to vibrate as you breathe, creating hoarse or harsh sounds. Frequently, people who do not regularly snore will report snoring after a viral illness, after drinking alcohol, or when taking some medications.
Snoring is the vibration of respiratory structures and the resulting sound, due to obstructed air movement during breathing while sleeping.
In some cases the sound may be soft, but in other cases, it can be rather loud and quite unpleasant. The structures are usually the uvula and soft palate.
Snoring is known to cause sleep deprivation to snorers and those around them, as well as daytime drowsiness, irritability, lack of focus and decreased libido. It has also been suggested that it can cause significant psychological and social damage to sufferers.
Snoring is caused by a blockage and usually due to one of the following:
- Throat weakness, causing the throat to close during sleep
- Mispositioned jaw, often caused by tension in the muscles
- Fat gathering in and around the throat
- Obstruction in the nasal passageway
Besides the 'noise' of snoring, more complex conditions such as sleep apnea can be consistent with the symptom of snoring. This means you stop breathing for periods of more than 10 seconds at a time while you sleep. Sleep apnea is serious, but there are treatments that can help. Children can also have sleep apnea. If your child snores frequently, have your health care provider check for sleep apnea.
Almost all treatments for snoring revolve around clearing the blockage in the breathing passage. This is the reason snorers are advised to lose weight (to stop fat from pressing on the throat), stop smoking (smoking weakens and clogs the throat) and sleep on their side (to prevent the tongue from blocking the throat). Surgery is also available as a method of correcting social snoring. Some procedures, such as uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, attempt to widen the airway by removing tissues in the back of the throat, including the uvula and pharynx.
Devices such as nose clips can dilate the nostrils and other devices can alter jaw mechanics to keep the jaw in an optimum position. Different aids and practices may work for different people.
Some of the more common causes along with simple ways to cure them are listed below.
Medical Problems - There are a number of medical conditions that can cause snoring. Allergies for instance can cause swelling or inflammation of the air passage. Adenoids and tonsils are also cause of snoring especially if they are large. Many time a cold or sinus condition will block your nose causing you to breathe through you mouth which can cause you to snore.
Overweight - Its well known that many people are overweight due to not exercising enough, eating too much or a combination of both. Its common knowledge that that overweight people are more apt to snore than ones that are slimmer. The primary cause of their snoring is because their throats are fleshier and therefore have more blockages that can narrow the air passages. The simple way for an overweight person to cut down on their excessive snoring is to lose some weight.
Smoking - There are many reasons not to smoke and among them are the modification to your throat. Over time mucous will build up in the throat to ease the smoke and nicotine passing through it and reduce inflammation. A larger than normal amount of mucous can be released which will cause the small blood vessels in the lungs to swell along with the throat. When this happens the air ways are again being blocked causing the increased snoring. Sleep apnea is also a problem caused by these blockages and can cause breathing interruptions. These interruptions are caused by irregular breathing patterns. This results to snoring and poor sleep.
Alcohol - Drinking alcohol relaxes the throat muscles which as we learned will be the immediate problem of excessive snoring. By eliminating any alcoholic beverages just before bedtime you can avoid many of the problems associated with the snoring.
Sleeping Positions - Due to gravity pulling on their tongue and throat muscles, people who sleep on their backs usually have more problems with snoring than ones who sleep on their sides. Along with the gravity the throat is in a more restful position, which causes parts of the throat and tongue to drop down and restrict the air flow cause a person to snore. By sleeping in an elevated position there will be some relief. The recommended amount is about 30 degrees. With this elevation your diaphragm is relaxed and the tongue won't restrict the air flow through the throat area.
Sleep Patterns - Going to bed at the same time and getting 7 or 8 hours of sleep will help keep your snoring in check. When your sleep pattern is interrupted your breathing will become unbalanced which can cause snoring. Noises from your bed partner or other things will also cause unbalanced breathing and snoring. Try to make your sleeping area as quiet as possible. Sometimes soothing sounds or white noises from a recording will help mask other disturbing sounds.
U.S. - In an effort to increase awareness about snoring and sleep disorders associated with dangerous snoring, American Sleep Association launched the first annual Stop Snoring Day on March 24th.
U.K. - National Stop Snoring Week is an annual event promoting general awareness that nobody need suffer as a result of snoring: it is a condition that can be treated. The dates for 2015 are 20th April to the 25th April.
Quick Facts: Stop Snoring Remedies &
- If you're overweight, lose weight.
- Herbal pills are now available that are aimed at reducing snoring.
- Use Breathe right strips - These strips are supposed to open your nostrils from the outside..
- Keep bedroom air moist with a humidifier. Dry air can irritate membranes in the nose and throat.
- Avoid caffeine and heavy meals within two hours of going to bed, especially dairy products and soymilk.
- Reposition. Elevating your head four inches may ease breathing and encourage your tongue and jaw to move forward.
- Clear nasal passages. Having a stuffy nose makes inhalation difficult and creates a vacuum in your throat, which in turn leads to snoring.
- A mandibular repositioning splint (MRS), or mandibular advancement device (MAD), pushes the jaw and tongue forward to help prevent snoring.
- Sleep on your side. Avoid sleeping on your back, as gravity makes it more likely for your tongue and soft tissues to drop and obstruct your airway.
Statistics on snoring are often contradictory, but at least 30% of adults and perhaps as many as 50% of people in some demographics snore.
One survey of 5,713 American residents identified habitual snoring in 24% of men and 13.8% of women, rising to 60% of men and 40% of women aged 60 to 65 years; this suggests an increased susceptibility to snoring as age increases.