Snoring occurs when you can't move air freely through your nose and mouth during sleep creating the sound of snoring.
Common Causes of Snoring
- Age. As you reach middle age and beyond, your throat becomes narrower, and the muscle tone in your throat decreases.
- The way you're built. Men have narrower air passages than women and are more likely to snore. A narrow throat, a cleft palate, enlarged adenoids, and other physical attributes that contribute to snoring are often hereditary.
- Nasal and sinus problems. Blocked airways make inhalation difficult and create a vacuum in the throat, leading to snoring.
- Being overweight or out of shape. Fatty tissue and poor muscle tone contribute to snoring.
- Alcohol, smoking, and medications. Alcohol intake, smoking, and certain medications can increase muscle relaxation leading to more snoring.
- Sleep posture. Sleeping flat on your back causes the flesh of your throat to relax and block the airway.
Snoring could indicate sleep apnoea, a potentially life-threatening condition that requires medical attention. Sleep apnoea, is a breathing obstruction, causing the sleeper to keep waking up to begin breathing again. This brief awakening is enough to open the throat passage. The person starts breathing again and then returns quickly to sleep. In people with sleep apnoea, the cycle of throat narrowing followed by apnoea followed by wakening can be repeated dozens, or even hundreds, of times a night. The number of cycles depends on how severe the sleep apnoea is. This may lead to disturbed sleep. Normal snoring doesn't interfere with the quality of your sleep as much as sleep apnoea, so if you're suffering from extreme fatigue and sleepiness during the day, your problem may be more than just snoring. Sleep apnoea may increase risk of blood pressure, stroke and diabetes.
Lifestyle Changes to Stop Snoring
- Weight Loss: can reduce fatty tissue in the back of the throat and decrease snoring.
- Exercise: regular exercise can also tone the muscles in your throat, which in turn can lead to less snoring.
- Quit smoking: Smoking causes airways to be blocked by irritating the membranes in the nose and throat.
- Avoid: alcohol, sleeping pills, and dairy products especially before bedtime, because they relax the muscles in the throat and interfere with breathing. Talk to your doctor about any prescription medications you’re taking, as some encourage a deeper level of sleep which can make snoring worse.
- Routine: Create a bedtime routine which can help you sleep better and reduce 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.
Treatment for Snoring
There are several treatment options available to treat snoring including
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP): To keep your airway open during sleep, a machine at your bedside blows pressurized air into a mask that you wear over your nose or face.
- Surgery: increases the size of your airway by surgically removing tissues or correcting abnormalities.
Dental appliances: At Renmore Dental we provide appliances to be worn in the mouth at night. These open your airway by bringing your lower jaw or your tongue forward during sleep. This helps open the airway, allowing regular breathing without snoring. These appliances can help reduce or even eliminate snoring, allowing you to have the decent night's sleep you deserve. Ask your dentist for further information.
If your own efforts to stop snoring do not help, consult your GP or consider an ENT referral.