Snoring is a common condition and it is something we may all do from time to time. However, for some people snoring can become a regular issue, not only affecting their own sleep but that of their partner, too.
When you snore, you risk sleep deprivation over time, resulting in daytime fatigue, poor concentration levels, irritability and an increased risk of health problems.
Understanding why you snore is the first step to relieving the condition. Although lifestyle choices could be behind why you regularly snore, it can also be due to an underlying health issue such as obstructive sleep apnea.
Reasons Why You May Snore
When the air you inhale cannot pass smoothly through the airways due to an obstruction, it causes the tissues to vibrate and generates the sounds of a snore.
There are a number of reasons why this can begin to happen, with certain groups of people more vulnerable. You are at an increased risk of being a snorer as you get older. This is because as we age, we lose muscle tone -- and in the throat, this leads to a narrowing of the airways. The increased obstruction to the air makes you snore.
Weight can play a role too, as excess tissue in the neck and throat can block the airways. While men have narrower airways and are more likely to snore then women, there are physical attributes which can also be a cause.
A narrow throat, enlarged adenoids, a deviated septum and nasal polyps can all increase your likelihood to snore.
Further causes include:
- Blocked airways due to a cold or allergies.
- The position you fall asleep, since sleeping on your back can lead you to snore.
- Medications which enhance muscle relaxation.
- Alcohol and smoking.
By monitoring and understanding why you snore changes can be implemented to try and alleviate the problem. However, heavy snoring can also be a symptom of a more serious health issue such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
The Link to Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
The disorder OSA involves the upper airways narrowing and becoming blocked while you are asleep. It results in breathing difficulties, causing the brain to prompt the body to wake for air. These interruptions can happen many times every night, seriously affecting your sleep pattern.
Those with OSA will experience excessive levels of fatigue as well as snore loudly. The impact of OSA on a sufferer’s sleeping is much more pronounced compared to someone who just snores.
The frequent awakenings caused by OSA might go unnoticed by the person with the disorder. It can be a partner who first spots the breathing issues you are experiencing overnight. They will undoubtedly become aware of any change to how you snore. Therefore, it is vital to seek professional advice if you are a loud snorer who is often fatigued to test for OSA, a disorder which can be managed with treatment.
Ways to Help Improve Your Sleep
There are a number of ways to try and eliminate your snore, though it may require a little trial and error to find what works best for you.
Lifestyle: Your doctor may suggest lifestyle changes if they feel this is a reason behind your sleeping problems. This could involve losing weight by implementing a more balanced and nutritional diet, or through increased physical activity. They may also advise you to quit smoking and reduce your alcohol consumption.
Sleep position: As your sleeping position can have an impact, try sleeping on your side as much as possible. This can take some adjusting to, but you could use an item like a tennis ball attached to the back of the top you wear in bed to encourage you to fall asleep on your side. By slightly raising your pillow you may also find you breathe more freely when asleep. This can also make the jaw and tongue move forward and help prevent any blocking of the airways.
Bedroom environment: Dry air can irritate the nasal passages. In this case a humidifier may help. Another aid to try are nasal strips, which are applied to the bridge of the nose and keep the nostrils open wide.
Decongestant: If you are approaching bed time when you have a heavy cold, a decongestant can help ease your breathing and improve your chance of sleeping. However, do not overuse any decongestant, consulting with your doctor before you use them more than three days in a row.
If you snore heavily, your doctor or dentist may recommend using an oral appliance. This can be similar to a mouthguard and when worn it moves the jaw and tongue in order to keep your upper airways clear. This is something which may be used to treat obstructive sleep apnea.
The primary treatment for moderate to severe OSA is continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. This involves a device to supply mild pressurized air through a mask while you are sleeping. This stops the upper airways from collapsing, preventing the frequent awakenings caused by OSA and providing improved sleeping patterns. Users should find they snore less or not at all.
There are surgical options for snorers, to help return them to good nights of consistent rest. These can involve processes such as using a laser to reduce the size of the uvula, or inserting an implant in to the soft palate to help prevent it collapsing. Your doctor may discuss the surgical options if home remedies, lifestyle changes and oral appliances have not helped improve your sleeping patterns.
If you do snore, finding the right solution will help both you and your partner receive better rest, with all the benefits to overall health this brings.
For those with a disorder such as OSA, diagnosis and treatment can not only help eliminate your snore but reduce the risk of serious health complications such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.
Talking with a sleep specialist is the first step to help you enjoy a more restful sleep. Contact us at SleepQuest now to start the journey. No-one’s ever regretted getting a good night’s sleep.
Either call us: 1-844-477-6398 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org