There you are, all tucked in between the covers, ready to drift off to sleep, when your partner begins snoring it rattles the walls. It looks like another sleepless night – and possibly a strained relationship. Before committing your snoring partner to multiple sleep disorders surgeries, there are some things you can do to restore sleep to your household.
What is Snoring?
Snoring is the act of producing an abrasive sound made from the vibrations of the soft palate and other tissue located in the mouth, nose, and throat.
Health Risks of Snoring
If you or your loved one is a habitual snorer, be aware as snoring can put a person at risk for other health concerns such as obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is one of many sleep disorders that is characterized by irregular gaps in one’s breathing during sleep. Sleep apnea can cause the following health risks:
• Blockage of the airway
• Enlarged tonsils and adenoids
• Frequent waking from sleep
• Heart strain resulting in high blood pressure, enlargement of the heart, and risk for stroke or a heart attack
• Sleep walking or night terrors
• Light or restless sleeping
• Partial or complete obstruction
• Poor sleep affecting daytime cognitive and physical activities
• Mouth breathing
What causes Snoring?
While snoring is common for men and women of all ages, continued snoring is more predominant in those who are overweight and aging. When air flow through the mouth and nose is obstructed, snoring occurs. This can happen for several reasons:
• An elongated soft palate or uvula (the fleshy extension at the back of the soft palate which hangs above the throat) often narrows the passageway to the throat. A vibration can rub the tissue against itself, blocking air flow.
• If a person is overweight or has large tonsils and adenoids, they are prone to thick throat tissue.
• Muscles (tongue and throat) can relax too much, causing them to fall into the airway. Aging, deep sleep, or the consumption of alcohol or sleeping pills can be the cause of this condition.
• Obstructed nasal airways due to a deviated septum, allergies, nasal polyps, a cold, or a sinus infection.
Natural Ways to Prevent Snoring
There are several home remedies that you can try to reduce chronic snoring.
• Lose weight
• Stop smoking
• Sleep on your side
• Use a body pillow
• Take a hot shower before bedtime
• Avoid alcohol 3-5 hours before bedtime
• Use a humidifier in your bedroom
• Change your linens often
• Drink plenty of water all day long
What are Sleep Disorder Treatments for Snoring?
If you have tried the home remedies and have not found the success you seek, you may need to visit your physician for a referral to a sleep specialist. This specialist will complete a comprehensive history and perform a physical examination. An overnight sleep study – otherwise known as a polysomnogram – will be used to diagnose sleep orders and a method of treatment.
There are several options for chronic snoring:
1. Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device – A mask device is worn at night, allowing the airways to stay open while maintaining adequate air pressure.
2. Provent Sleep Apnea Therapy – A discreet, disposable device that is fastened to the nostrils each night. It allows the airway to stay open, promoting natural airflow.
3. Surgeries – While there are a variety of surgeries available, these are usually the last resort for chronic snoring.
If you suffer from snoring or other sleep disorders, consult with your physician for sleep disorder treatments to better your night’s sleep and overall health.