Do you snore? Well, this question should better be asked to your bed partner. They are the ones who deal with it and experience inconvenience. Many a time, we don’t even know that we snore, but the one who sleeps with us does. Snoring once in a while is natural, as it could happen due to reasons like bad sleeping posture, cold and cough, etc. However, regular snoring can be a problem. Here in this article, we are going to discuss things about snoring, including its causes, snoring treatment and when you should seek medical help to get rid of it.
What Causes Snoring?
Snoring is the sound created by the blocked airflow in our mouth, nose or throat. Several things are responsible for obstructing the normal airflow, such as the blocked nasal airways. The most common reason responsible for blocking our nasal airway is the sinus infection or cold and flu. Then there is deviated septum or nasal polyp obstructing the airflow.
If muscle tone in your tongue and throat is poor, it could also be a reason for your snoring. Due to the poor muscle tone, the throat and tongue muscles get relaxed a bit too much and start getting into your airway. Likewise, bulky throat tissue makes people snore. Those with larger adenoids and tonsils have a snoring problem. Some sleeping positions, such as sleeping on the back, tend to obstruct the airflow and cause snoring. Alcohol and drug abuse are also culprits here.
How to Treat or Cure Snoring?
Unless snoring becomes regular and starts bringing other complications into your life, treatment of snoring can be all about the following home remedies and lifestyle changes –
Lose Weight– Overweight people are any day more susceptible to developing the problem of snoring. This is because obese people have extra tissues in their throat, which narrow down the air passage and cause snoring. Losing a few extra pounds can help control this night problem.
Elevate– One of the simplest yet effective ways to control snoring is sleeping with your head elevated. You can either use fluffy pillows or elevate the head of your bed to a god level
Relieve Nasal Obstruction– Inflammation in the throat and nose are the main reasons for nasal congestion, which can be relieved with the use of some medicines and other techniques. You can use nasal strips, sprays and a room humidifier to keep nasal inflammation and congestion at bay.
Change Sleeping Position– When we sleep on our back, our tongue falls back into the throat and we tend to snore. You can avoid sleeping in this position and start sleeping more on the sides.
Throat Exercise– Weak throat muscles are a major cause of snoring, so you can strengthen them for getting rid of the problem. You can try doing throat exercises to make the muscles strong so that they don’t cause any kind of restriction in the airflow.
Good Sleep Practice– If inadequate sleep is the reason behind your snoring, then you must try inculcating good sleep practices into your routine as a treatment for snoring. You should ensure your bed is comfortable and the room is dark and quiet. You should avoid eating heavy meals and drinking fluids just before sleeping, as well as avoid screen time. Don’t have caffeine and nicotine, as they can interfere with your sound sleep.
Avoid Smoking and Drinking– Smoking can cause tissue inflammation in your throat, which further can cause a blocked airway. Alcohol consumption, on the other hand, relaxes throat muscles and makes you snore.
When to Seek Medical Help?
Snoring that happens at intervals is nothing to worry about but if it starts happening regularly and becomes intense, then it requires medical intervention. If you or your partner experiences severe snoring along with other symptoms, it is time that you seek medical help. If your snoring has started disrupting your sleep pattern, is giving you daytime sleepiness or you have started feeling frustrated and angry most of the time, you must consult a medical professional immediately. Such individuals have a greater risk of high blood pressure, behaviour problems, learning problems, lack of concentration, etc.
Medical Treatment for Snoring
Your doctor would review your symptoms and perform appropriate tests for diagnosing your problem. Besides a thorough physical examination, your doctor would ask several questions to your bed partner regarding your sleeping patterns and snoring. X-ray or MRI can also be done to check the structure of your airway and detect any problems like a deviated septum. Besides lifestyle changes, your doctor can recommend you the following treatment for snoring–
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)– This treatment involves wearing a mask while you sleep. It covers the nose and mouth and directs pressurized air to your airway for keeping it open throughout your sleep. This is an effective way to eliminate snoring, but people find it difficult to get used to the feel and noise of the machine.
Oral Appliances– These dental mouthpieces help position your jaw, tongue and soft palate. Your dental specialist would make them for you so that they suit your mouth perfectly. If these start helping your snoring problem well, you would have to visit your dentist now and then to get these mouthpieces checked for their fit. If they don’t fit well, they can cause various side effects, including facial discomfort, jaw pain, dry mouth or excessive salivation.
Upper Airway Surgery– This surgery is done to open the upper airway that has started creating an obstruction is in the air passage. Surgeons reduce the excess throat tissues and give your throat a facelift. Another type of surgery is Maxillomandibular Advancement (MMA), which is all about moving the jaws forward and broadening the airway.
Snoring isn’t always a big problem, but an annoying occurrence that disturbs the sleep quality of the bed partner. However, snoring going intense and regular with time becomes a problem. It starts interfering with the life quality of a person and requires ideal medical treatment, along with home remedies and lifestyle changes.
Also Read- Snoring: Everything You Need to Know