Though snoring is not identified as a big problem, in some cases, it indicates serious health issues. Hence, it is important to be watchful of your snoring and seek treatment of the snoring worsens.
Snoring can be occasions when the person snores only on a few nights. Occasional snoring can occur due to nasal congestion, tiredness, etc. Temporary snoring due to the nose block, allergic reaction, or fatigue can be treated with the right medication and rest.
Snoring is habitual when the person snores every night.
Why Do We Snore?
When we sleep, our neck and throat muscles relax and for some people, it relaxes way too much, narrowing the pathway and leaving not enough space for the oxygen to pass. As the body needs the required oxygen during sleep too, the brain sends signals to get enough oxygen. This is when the throat tissues surrounding the opening are pressurized and it creates a vibrating sound like noise called as snoring.
The narrowing can also occur in nose, mouth or throat. The nose acts as a humidifier and even a filter for the air we breathe. Generally, the body tries to breathe through the nose and during situations where it is uncomfortable to do via the nose, the pressure is created. As we have a normal nasal cycle, when the blood vessels present in the turbinate inside the nose increases, the turbinate swells up and hence, the air flow decreases. Similarly, the vice versa happens when the turbinate becomes small. This is the process of the snoring problem.
The narrow pathway is not the only reason for the snoring problems to occur. Other reasons, which lead to snoring problems, are enlarged tonsils or tongue, obesity or excess flesh around the neck, alcohol consumption, smoking habit and even the particular structure of the nose and the jaw.
Who are at Risk of Snoring?
The people with the conditions mentioned below are more prone to snoring as compared to other people.
• Age group of 45 years: 60% snorers are the people who are around 45 years of age
• Over Weight people: The people who are overweight tend to snore more than the people with controlled weight. This happens because of the fatty neck that blocks and narrows the airways.
• Sleeping on the back: The people who sleep on their back, snore more. If you sleep in a side position, it will help in reducing the snore.
• Smoking: The people who smoke are more susceptible to snoring. Smoking causes throat and mouth inflammation. This makes the airways tissues vibrate.
• Alcohol Consumption: Alcohol is a sedative that relaxes the throat muscles, causing snoring.
• Allergies: Allergies or inflammation increases snoring.
• Medical conditions like alleviated septum, enlarged tonsils, and large tongue also cause snoring.
Stages of Snoring:
The different stages of snoring are:
Stage 0: The condition in which there is heavy snoring.
Stage 1: The condition in which there is intermittent snoring while sleeping.
Stage 2: The condition in which daytime sleepiness is severe and snoring is intermittent.
Stage 3: The condition in which there can be cardiorespiratory complications.
Try these anti-snore remedies:
Controlling weight can lessen the problem of snoring significantly. For doing an effective weight control, you must start working out and eat only healthy and diet food. Begin by checking your BMI or body mass index. This will indicate how much overweight you are. While practicing weight loss, ensure to check your weight regularly to maintain it.
Ensure you do not sleep on the back as it aggravates snoring. You must develop the habit to sleep sideways. Sleeping on the side keeps the airway clear and hence it prevents snoring.
Avoid Alcohol and Smoking
Alcohol is a sedative that suppresses the nervous system. It relaxes the muscles and allows the tongue to roll back. It causes obstructed breathing and then snoring results. So, avoid drinking alcohol, especially before going to bed. Similarly, even smoking aggravates snoring by disturbing the lungs and mouth muscles.
Important medicines cannot be avoided but you can surely avoid antihistamines, tranquilizers, and sleeping pills.
Include healthy food in your diet. There are foods that can help reduce snoring in the long run. The foods such as fish especially tuna, soy milk, turmeric, onion, green tea, honey, etc. have anti-inflammatory properties that clear the airway and prevent snoring.
Treat Nasal Congestion
Cold and cough lead to nasal congestion, that blocks the airways. Avoid allergens that cause nasal irritation and congestion. Take medications to eliminate them.
Drink Lots of Water
Snoring can also be a result of dry mouth and dry throat. Drink at least 6-8 glasses of water per day.
Throat and Tongue Exercises
Try throat and tongue exercises to alleviate the snoring.
The doctor can suggest tests such as x-rays and CT scan to find the cause and solutions for snoring. It can deviate nasal septum, nasal congestion, or blocked sinuses. The doctor will also study your sleep patterns and suggest a suitable treatment.
If there are conditions like deviated nasal septum or enlarged tonsils, surgery is often advised. the surgeries like Tonsillectomy, Sinusitis, UPPP, MMA, etc. can provide positive results to the patient.
There are anti-snoring devices available in the market such as mouth pieces, chin straps, anti-snoring pillows, sprays and humidifiers, tongue restraining snoring devices, continuous positive airway pressure appliance, etc. These devices work efficiently to reduce or eliminate snoring.