Snoring is a common sleep disorder that is best described as a harsh snorting sound during sleep. Snoring affects 45% of adults, and is most prevalent among men and people who are overweight. Occasional snoring is not a serious problem, but the 25% of adults who are characterized as habitual snorers often suffer from other sleep disorders. Snoring does not need to be diagnosed by a doctor, but if you are a chronic snorer you may need to see a doctor for sleep apnea, insomnia or sleep deprivation. Snoring can be a detriment to your partner’s sleep and your own, as people who snore all night often wake the next morning feeling fatigued and like they haven’t properly rested.
What Causes Snoring
Snoring is caused by a number of factors, including the structure of your nose, mouth and throat that lead to the obstruction of airflow during sleep. This may occur due to obstructed nasal passages from allergies or sinus infections. Nasal deformities such as a deviated septum or nasal polyps also make it more difficult for air to flow through the nose and throat while sleeping. Poor muscle tone in your tongue and throat also contribute to snoring. These muscles relax and block the airway, especially when you are in an excessively deep sleep (due to medication or alcohol consumption). The opening at the back of the throat can also be blocked because of a long uvula or bulky soft palate. This puts pressure on the back of the throat and can cause you to make a snarling sound while breathing. Many of these factors are common in people who are overweight, and sleeping on your back increases the chances that these traits will result in snoring.
Sleep disorders such as sleep apnea can be connected to snoring. Since the throat being blocked by some type of obstruction causes sleep apnea, snoring is a tell-tale sign that you might have the sleep disorder sleep apnea.
Treatments For Snoring
If you suffer from the sleep disorder snoring, you can make progress to eliminating snoring by changing your sleep habits. Establishing a regular sleep schedule promotes better sleep and can decrease the chance of snoring. You may also want to purchase a humidifier for your bedroom. Humidifiers keep air in the room moist, which helps ease dry scratchy throats or nasal congestion. Your pillow may be causing you to snore as well! Try finding a pillow that elevates your head to help prevent the uvula and tongue from falling back in the throat and obstructing your airway. If you sleep on your back, try a new sleeping position to minimize snoring.
You can also find over-the-counter products like nasal strips that decrease snoring. If you are a chronic snorer you might want to see a doctor or dentist for a chin-strap or mouth guard to help your nighttime breathing. If you believe that your snoring is a symptom of a larger problem, like sleep apnea, you could need surgery or a CPAP. A CPAP is a small machine that connects to a facemask to push air through your nose. Breathing through the mouth causes snoring so using a CPAP to encourage breathing through the nose limits the possibility of snoring.