Why we snore and how to STOP IT! 😴

Did you know that almost everybody snores in their sleep now and then? However, snoring is a chronic issue that may sometimes indicate a serious underlying condition for some people. If you snore loudly at night, you become a nuisance to your partner because they do not get to enjoy a quiet and peaceful night. Luckily, people who snore frequently can make some lifestyle changes to remedy the snoring. In severe cases, one can seek medical attention. So, why do we snore? This article will delve into the causes of snoring and what you can do to stop it.

What Causes Snoring?

Snoring happens when air flows through relaxed throat tissues. The air makes the tissues vibrate as you breathe, hence the harsh or hoarse sound. For those that snore occasionally, this is not a problem. However, snoring can be a sign of an underlying problem that experts can help you resolve. Snoring is caused [1] by different factors, which we shall explore below.

Alcohol Consumption

Consuming alcohol close to your bedtime tends to relax throat muscles. The alcohol also decreases your body’s natural defenses against airway blocking, hence causing you to snore.

Mouth Anatomy

Having a low, thick, and soft palate makes your airway narrower than usual. You can also have an elongated uvula, that is, the triangular tissue that hangs from the soft palate. An elongated one constricts airflow. These two scenarios usually cause people to snore.

Nasal Problems

People with a crooked partition between the nostrils, also known as deviated nasal septum, and those who experience chronic nasal congestion are more likely to snore.

Sleep Deprivation

Not getting sufficient sleep may cause further relaxation of throat muscles and increase the chances of snoring in your sleep.

Sleep Position

Many back sleepers snore in their sleep. This sleep position increases the chances of snoring frequently and loudly because the airway narrows due to the gravity effect.

What are the Symptoms of Snoring

Many people only know that they snore in their sleep because their partner or another person tells them so. So, how do you know that you snore if you live alone? Well, there are signs and symptoms of snoring [2] that you should be aware of. These include being excessively sleepy during the daytime, difficulty concentrating, and experiencing breathing pauses during sleep. Morning headaches, restless sleep, choking or gasping at night, chest pain at night, and high blood pressure are also symptoms of snoring.

If you snore loudly, you will often have periods of silence when breathing stops or almost stops. This may make your body wake up, and you may awaken with a loud gasping or snorting sound. Usually, this is a condition known as sleep apnea, so you should seek professional help if you experience this kind of snoring.

Am I at Risk of Snoring?

Earlier in the article, we explored the causes of snoring. Some people are more likely to snore than others due to these causes. People who have a narrow airway due to a long, soft palate or large tonsils are at a higher risk of snoring. Other categories of people who are more likely to snore are people who consume alcohol, persons with a family history of obstructive apnea or snoring, and men. Being overweight and having nasal problems also increases your risk of snoring.

How to Stop Snoring

What can I do to stop snoring? This is a very tough question that many people ask themselves. Fortunately, there are certain things and lifestyle changes you can make to remedy snoring [3]. If they do not help, you should seek medical assistance from a qualified and licensed doctor.

Lose the Excess Weight

If you are overweight or obese, losing the extra weight will help reduce the amount of throat tissue that may be obstructing your airway, thus causing you to snore. You can lose weight by watching your caloric intake and choosing healthier food options. You can consult a licensed nutritionist for assistance.

Sleep on Your Side

Most snorers sleep on their back, which causes the tongue to move to the back of the throat and partially obstruct the airway. By sleeping on your side, you will allow air to flow smoothly. This will stop or reduce snoring.

Raise the Head of the Bed

By elevating your bed’s head by as little as 4 inches, you keep your airway open which in turn reduces snoring.

Avoid/ Limit Alcohol Before Bedtime

One of the easiest remedies for snoring is not consuming any alcoholic drink at least two hours before bedtime to avoid over-relaxing throat muscles, which causes snoring.

Avoid Sedatives Before Bedtime

Stopping sedative use may remedy your snoring. However, you should not skip your medication without consulting with your doctor.

Stop Smoking

Smoking worsens snoring and stopping it is one of the ways to remedy snoring. You can consult a qualified doctor to get therapies to help you quit smoking.

Get Sufficient Sleep

Sleep deprivation often causes snoring. Making sure you get at least seven hours of sleep every night will help you stop snoring.

Seek Treatment for Chronic Allergies

Allergies tend to reduce the amount of air that flows through your nose and instead force you to breathe with your mouth. Breathing through your mouth enhances the chances of snoring. To prevent this, consult a doctor and get medication that will treat your allergies.

When to See a Doctor

If you have been experiencing the symptoms of snoring discussed earlier in this article, it is time to seek medical attention. This is because these signs are linked to obstructive sleep apnea. When you visit a medical expert, make sure you explore the causes of your snoring and the best tactics you can employ to remedy it. If the snoring is too much, the doctor may ask you to get nasal or oral devices or surgery to remedy your problem. The possible interventions a doctor can recommend are discussed below.

Nasal Strips/ External Nasal Dilators

You can use nasal strips, such as the Clear Passage Nasal Strips because they assist in increasing the space in the nasal passage. There are numerous brands of nasal strips in the market, and most of them have a simple stick-on application procedure and are designed to improve your breathing as you sleep. Alternatively, you can use nasal dilators that are designed with a stiff adhesive strip. They are applied across the nostrils. Dilators reduce airflow resistance and make it easier for you to breathe.

Oral Devices

You can find dental mouthpieces, such as Zyppah, to help keep your air passage open and make it easier to breathe as you sleep. You should consult your dentist before using any oral appliance to remedy snoring.

Use CPAP

CPAP is an acronym for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure Machine. This pressurized machine is worn over the nose to keep your air passage open. This machine is mainly used to manage obstructive sleep apnea, and it should only be used on prescription by a qualified medical expert. How is CPAP different from Zyppah? Unlike CPAP that is placed over the nose, Zyppah is inserted in the mouth.

Surgical Intervention

Your doctor can also recommend surgical interventions to stop snoring. One of the most common surgical procedures is correcting deviated septums. The result of this surgical intervention is increased airflow through the nose. Another possible surgical intervention is Laser-assisted uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (LAUPPP). This procedure involves the tightening of the throat tissues, which helps to reduce snoring.

Summary

Snoring affects numerous people in American and across the world. Some people snore now and then, while others snore every time they fall asleep, which can be annoying and frustrating for their loved ones. Fortunately, you can enact simple tips and strategies, such as losing weight and reducing alcohol intake to reduce snoring. If your snoring is very loud or severe, you can also seek medical attention.

Citations

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/snoring/symptoms-causes/syc-20377694#
  2. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/snoring#
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health/snoring-remedies
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