An Overview of Snoring – Its Causes and Cures
Snoring is a very common health issue that affects both the genders irrespective of the age. It is the noise caused by the vibrations of the soft tissues inside the mouth during sleep. Recent reports say that the problem of snoring affects about 90 million adults in the United States alone, out of which, around 37 million are regular snorers.
Snoring can happen intermittently or daily and can be triggered by a lot of factors. Moreover, studies show that overweight males are at a higher risk of snoring, and even though the health issue is not constrained to gender, women do not fall prey to snoring that often as men do.
Regardless, the problem can become more serious with age, causing disruptions in the sleep of the snorer as well as his or her partner. Snoring can result in fragmented sleep that can lead to sleepiness and tiredness the next day. Physicians say that the common adverse effects casually linked with snoring are heart problems and poor daytime functions.
The Health Risks Related to Snoring
Experts claim that most of the loud snorers suffer from sleep apnea, which is a sleep disorder in which breathing is repeatedly interrupted for brief durations of time during sleep. The word “apnea” refers to pauses in breathing that lasts for a minimum of ten seconds. However, studies show that it is possible to have sleep apnea without snoring as well; but that usually occurs in children and can be difficult to diagnose without the help of a physician.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) in adults can be categorized by loud and frequent snoring, and it will usually result in interrupted and uneven sleep, which in turn can lead to low oxygen levels in the blood. The combination of disturbed sleep and low levels of oxygen can lead to heart problems, hypertension, memory, and mood issues to people suffering from sleep apnea.
Now you might have understood the importance of finding snoring aids that can help you cure the problem of snoring. However, to find the perfect snoring mouth guard or other snoring solutions, you will need to understand the exact cause of your snoring problem.
What Causes Snoring
During sleep, the muscles of your throat will relax and fall on the airway. In addition, the tongue will also fall back to make the throat region floppy and narrow, which in turn obstructs the normal flow of air during sleep. The soft tissues in the throat region will start to vibrate with the forced flow of air. This usually happens when you breathe in, and to a lesser extent while you breathe out. The vibration of the soft tissues is what we hear as the snoring sound.
The narrower the airways, the greater will be the snoring sound. In some of the cases, the throat walls can collapse completely, blocking the airway, and leading to a cessation of breathing or apnea. However, there are many factors, which can lead to the problem of snoring, and the actual reason can be determined only after proper diagnosis.
The most common factor that leads to snoring is the normal aging process. The throat muscles will relax with age and that can lead to snoring. Besides, anatomical issues in the nose and throat region, such as nasal polyps, enlarged adenoids, and tonsils, or a deviated septum can also lead to the narrowing of airways and trigger snoring issues.
Functional abnormalities like throat or nose inflammation due to allergies or infections can also lead to snoring, where the improper alignment of the jaw and a thickened tongue can also be contributing factors behind the issue. Obesity is another cause of snoring as overweight people can have a lot of fatty tissues around the throat and neck region, which narrows the airway to lead to snoring.
An added factor that can lead to snoring is the sleep position. When you sleep on your back, the muscles of the throat can easily collapse into the airway, making you snore. Apart from that, lifestyle habits such as alcohol consumption in the evening and smoking are also related to aggravating snoring issues.
How to Cure Snoring
As said, excessive snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnea. Therefore, it is better to consult with a doctor and invest in one of the best snoring aids available in the market to counter the condition. Consult with a sleep specialist immediately if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms.
- Headaches in the morning
- Recent weight gain
- Excessive sleepiness in the morning
- Waking up in the middle of the night feeling confused and exhausted
- Changes in the level of concentration, attention, or memory
- Waking up in the morning not feeling rested
- Pauses in breathing while sleeping
Most of the snorers will be unaware of their problem and so they need to rely on the observation of their bed partner. If you have any of the symptoms listed above, or have been told that your snoring is disturbing your bedmate, you need to consult a doctor as soon as possible.
Your doctor would analyze your medical history and examine you physically to find out if you need a consultation with a sleep specialist, before suggesting any snoring aids. If your symptoms indicate heavy snoring, the sleep specialist would conduct a few tests to find out whether you suffer from sleep apnea and recommend trying different snoring aids to improve the quality of your sleep.
Depending upon the results of your sleep study, you will have the following options to treat the snoring problem.
- Modifications in lifestyle – This includes tackling with the risk factors discussed above together with sleep position training and treatment of allergies if necessary.
- Appliances – There are many appliances available in the market, like an anti snoring mouth guard, which can help you control snoring. Experts say that a snoring mouth guard can cure most of the instances of snoring. There are also snoring aids like chinstraps and nasal dilators that can help in controlling mild snoring episodes.
- CPAP – A Continuous Positive Airway Pressure mask is like a snoring mouth guard on a machine that is used to blow air into the back of the throat to prevent the walls and muscles from collapsing. CPAP machines are mainly used in cases of sleep apnea.
- Surgery – Surgery is the last option to treat the health issue, and is recommended when all the other snoring aids fail to provide any relief. Usually, using a snoring mouth guard regularly curtails the issue and evades the need for any surgical procedures.