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Snoring: Causes, Remedies and Treatment Options

  • Synopsis: Last Revised/Updated: 2017-12-02 - Information regarding snoring including why people snore and various ways and methods used to help stop snoring.
Snoring

Snoring is defined as the sound you make when your breathing is blocked while you are asleep. The sound is caused by tissues at the top of your airway that strike each other and vibrate. Snoring is common, especially among older people and people who are overweight. Snoring can also be a sign of a serious sleep disorder called sleep apnea. You should see your health care provider if you are often tired during the day, don't feel that you sleep well, or wake up gasping. Researchers say that snoring is can be a factor of sleep deprivation.

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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 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:

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.

Being Overweight:

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.

Snoring Awareness

  • 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.

Quick Facts: Ways to Stop Snoring

Statistics: Snoring

Latest Snoring Publications
1 - Why Children Snore - It Could be Childhood Sleep Apnea - clarityallergycenter.com.
2 - Snoring: Reasons People Snore and How to Prevent It - Disabled World.
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