Snoring can be more than an irritation for one’s sleeping partner. And, before one person complains about their sleep partner’s snoring, they should be aware that both men and women snore. Often both partners snore at different times. Snoring can be more than annoying, it can be a symptom of a sleep disorder called sleep apnea which impairs a person’s ability to breathe properly and leads to restless sleep and constant tiredness, and other serious health issues. There are at least 9 snoring triggers.
What Causes Snoring?
We all know snoring is irritating to a sleeping partner but what causes snoring and how can snoring be stopped or at least minimized? Snoring is the harsh, hoarse sound produced by the vibration of throat tissues because of reduced airflow. The cause of snoring must be found before treatment can be effective. Some causes of snoring include:
- The way your mouth anatomy is made. Some people have a low, thick palate that narrows their airway, overweight people may have additional tissues in the back of their throats. The uvula that hangs from the top of the soft palate may be elongated. All of these conditions restrict airflow and cause vibration or snoring. Some people have long narrow airways or large tonsils or adenoids which cause obstruction. Another factor might be poor muscle tone in one’s throat or tongue causing them to be too relaxed.
- Alcohol consumption or drug consumption before bedtime causes throat muscle relaxation and airway obstruction.
- Nasal problems such as chronic congestion or a deviated nasal septum may cause snoring. Treatment can help and headpaininstitute.com has options. Treating these underlying causes can reduce snoring and improve health. Nasal polyps can also be present and cause nasal obstruction.
- Sleep deprivation or not getting enough hours of quality sleep can lead to further throat relaxation and airway obstruction.
- Your sleep position such as sleeping on one’s back can contribute to more snoring. this is because of gravity and its effect on the throat causing narrowing of the airway.
- Though both men and women snore, men are more apt to snore and suffer from sleep apnea then women are.
- Being overweight contributes to many health problems including snoring and sleep apnea. Losing weight can reduce snoring and contribute to overall better health.
- A family history of snoring and obstructive sleep apnea or heredity is another risk factor for snoring.
- Allergies, sinus infections, colds, flu, and other health problems can cause snoring.
How Can Snoring and Sleep Apnea Be Treated?
Snoring can be treated by clinics dedicated to pain management and snoring treatment. First the medical professional will review the patient’s medical history and symptoms. then they will do a thorough medical examination to further determine the causes behind the snoring. They will ask questions to determine if the snoring is a sign of sleep apnea and how serious it may be. The medical professional will ask a set of questions including.
* Is there chronic daytime tiredness?
* Does the patient awake feeling tired and not refreshed or rested?
* Does the patient wake up with a headache during the night or in the morning?
* Does the patient have episodes of not breathing, waking up gasping for breath or choking?
* Is there an excess of tossing and turning during the night?
* Does the person or their partner notice loud snoring often?
* Is there heartburn or a sour taste in the mouth such as acid reflux during the night?
* Is the patient overweight or diagnosed with high blood pressure?
Once the diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea has been made, a treatment plan can be instituted. Traditional treatment involves the use of a CPAP machine. This machine has a mask that is fitted over the patient’s mouth and nose and then air is blown into the lungs. the patient sleeps with this mask strapped to their head and the oxygen container close by.
This treatment is very effective for those people who can tolerate it. But, unfortunately, 50 to 80 % of patients can not tolerate it. These patients will face serious health problems if they do not receive effective treatment. these include high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, weight gain, acid reflux, and the possibility of accidents due to limited attention span and awareness due to lack of sleep.
There is now an alternative to CPAP machines backed by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. This is the dental sleep appliance. A dental mouthpiece is constructed to meet the patient’s need for a better bite position and separated teeth to allow the airway to be more open. This appliance must be fabricated to fit the patient comfortably and be effective. It must be adjustable for a perfect fit. This appliance works by pulling the lower jaw forward to open the airway.
Other effective treatments involve correcting structural problems with the nose by surgical procedures. Deviated septums are a good candidate for corrective surgery. Two more corrective surgeries are UPPP or uvulopalatopharyngoplasty to tighten throat tissue and Radiofrequency tissue ablation to shrink the tissue on a patient’s soft palate to reduce snoring.
Are There Natural Ways To Treat Snoring and Sleep Apnea?
There are lifestyle changes and natural snoring remedies to consider. They include losing weight if you are obese, sleeping on one’s side, elevating the head of the bed, treating chronic allergies, and limiting the use of alcohol or drugs before bedtime. Avoid taking sedatives close to bedtime, stop smoking, and allow time to get enough sleep. A person can also use stick-on nasal strips or an external nasal dilator. These external adhesive strips are placed on the bridge of the nose to open nasal passages.
A sleep or snoring clinic will offer one treatment or a combination of treatments and lifestyle changes to help a person eliminate or limit snoring and treat obstructive sleep apnea so it does not lead to serious health problems. Success often depends on a patient’s willingness to cooperate with the treatment program, CPAP machines and oral appliances take time to get used to. Sticking with the treatment program can improve the quality of the patient’s sleep and their partner’s sleep.