Snoring And Sleep Apnea
Snoring by itself isnt harmful. But it can be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea. This sleep disorder causes you to stop breathing for a few seconds at a time, over and over, night after night.
If you have sleep apnea, you likely wake up after a nights sleep still feeling tired. You might be drowsy during the day and have trouble concentrating at work or school. Some people nod off during the day, increasing the risk of car crashes or work-related accidents.
For people with sleep apnea, treating snoring is a matter of health. If left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to serious health problems, including:
- Heart problems, including heart failure and heart attacks.
Medical Cures For Snoring
Your physician may recommend a medical device or surgical procedure such as:
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure . To keep your airway open during sleep, a machine at your bedside blows pressurized air into a mask that you wear over your nose or face.
Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty uses a laser to shorten the uvula and to make small cuts in the soft palate either side. As the cuts heal, the surrounding tissues stiffen to prevent the vibrations that trigger snoring.
Palatal implants or the Pillar procedure, involves inserting small plastic implants into the soft palate which help prevent collapse of the soft palate that can cause snoring.
Somnoplasty uses low levels of radiofrequency heat to remove tissues of the uvula and soft palate that vibrate during snoring. The procedure is performed under local anesthesia and takes about 30 minutes.
Custom-fitted dental devices and lower jaw-positioners help open your airway by bringing your lower jaw or your tongue forward during sleep. For best results, you will need to see a dentist who specializes in these devices.
Surgical procedures such as Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty , Thermal Ablation Palatoplasty , tonsillectomy, and adenoidectomy, increase the size of your airway by surgically removing tissues or correcting abnormalities.
Simple Changes Can Help To Turn Down The Volume
If your wife or sleep partner often seems bleary-eyed and resentful in the morning, you may be one of the millions of adults who snore habituallya condition that affects twice as many men as women. Snoring occurs when your upper airways narrow too much, causing turbulent airflow. This, in turn, makes the surrounding tissues vibrate, producing noise.
“Snoring is a sign that there is a really narrowed space,” says Dr. Sanjay Patel, a sleep disorder specialist at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “That happens either in your nasal passages or in the back of your throat.” Some men are snorers because they have excess throat and nasal tissue. Others have floppy tissue that’s more likely to vibrate. The tongue can also get in the way of smooth breathing.
Once the source of the snoring is identified, you can take appropriate steps to dampen the nightly din. These include not drinking alcohol at night, changing sleep position, avoiding snore-inducing medications, and addressing causes of nasal congestion.
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Snoring Causes: Why Do People Snore
Milk and other dairy products can cause a build-up of mucus at the back of your throat and this can make the snore louder.
Eating just before bed
If you eat a big dinner too close to your bedtime the undigested food will push up on your diaphragm and affect your breathing causing you to snore.
A lot of non-snorers will find they suddenly start snoring after a night down the pub. This is because it causes your throat muscles to relax.
This also happens if you take sleeping pills or antihistamines just before going to sleep.
There are loads of reasons why smoking is bad for your health and snoring is another one. Smoking causes your throat to swell which makes you snore.
Living by a busy road
Living by a busy main road can have some really negative effects on your nights sleep and general health. The toxic gases and particles that make up the pollution that is released from car engines can penetrate your home and effect your throat and nasal passages causing you to snore. If youre not going to moving anytime soon make sure you keep your bedroom window closed.
The most common reason someone snores is because theyre carrying a bit more weight than they should be.
You dont even have be to clinically obese, just being half-a-stone overweight can make you snore on a regular basis.
Eating spicy food
Sleeping on your back
Wash Your Pillows Often
One simple way to prevent snoring is by cleaning your pillows. Over time, your pillows collect tiny dust mites, resulting in bedroom allergies that can make your nasal passages congested. When your airway is blocked, it can worsen snoring.
To avoid letting the bed bugs bite, its a good idea to wash your pillows often. Since cleaning needs vary, be sure to learn how to wash the specific pillows you use. The extra load of laundry can help with snoring while keeping you clean.
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Keep A Healthy Weight
If you have seen an increase in snoring in line with weight gain, it is possible your throat is too heavy to stay open at night. Lose weight to see if your snoring reduces. We are excited to announce we have launched a new Weight Loss Coaching Program at Sleep Cycle Center to help our clients stay healthy!
These are just a few examples of lifestyle changes you can make to improve sleep and reduce snoring. If you think you may have sleep apnea, take our sleep apnea screener. This test is 92% accurate at diagnosing sleep apnea before tests take place.
When Its Time For Snoring Treatment
Its easy to ignore snoring after all, it happens when youre asleep. But if your significant other has banished you to the guest room, its probably time to weigh your options.
To get to the bottom of your nighttime noisemaking, talk to your doctor. They can look for underlying causes like chronic congestion or nasal obstruction. Your doctor may recommend a sleep study. You spend the night in a sleep lab so doctors can monitor you while you slumber.
Its important to get a comprehensive workup to find out whats causing your snoring, Dr. Reisman says. If you have apnea, make sure to get the treatment you need to take care of your long-term health.
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How Can I Assess How Serious My Snoring Is
If you want to check whether your snoring is a problem, Dr Ramskill recommends the STOP-Bang questionnaire. The more questions you answer yes to, the higher your risk of sleep apnoea.
- Do you snore loudly ?
- Do you often feel tired, fatigued or sleepy during the day?
- Has anyone observed you stop breathing during your sleep?
- Do you have or are you being treated for high blood pressure?
- Is your BMI more than 35?
- Are you over 50 years old?
- Is the circumference of your neck more than 40cm?
- Are you male?
Answering yes to any of these questions doesnt mean you have sleep apnoea only that your risk might be higher. Its a good idea to share your score with a doctor, as itll help them decide whether or not to refer you to a specialist.
Change Your Sleeping Position:
One of the easiest remedies for snoring is simply to turn onto your side instead of sleeping on your back. It can take a bit of getting used to if this isnt your usual sleeping position, but you should be able to get comfortable. Hugging a pillow or placing one behind your back so that you dont roll over might help. Sleeping on your side works because it reduce the pressure on your chin and airway, which stops it from closing up and causing snoring.
If you cant sleep on your back then another option that might work is to raise your head up. Sleeping with some extra pillows can help to keep your throat clear and open during the night, which will reduce the chances of snoring. You might be able to achieve this with just an extra pillow, but there are also special wedge-shaped pillows that are designed to prevent snoring by elevating your upper body.
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Best Pillow: Fitplus Bed Wedge
May be used for other sleep issues such as acid reflux
May not be good for back pain sufferers
Made of high-quality memory foam, this pillow is soft, comfortable, and most importantly effective. It slightly elevates the head, which can create a better position for clear breathing for some snorers and happy customers agree in the reviews.
At the same time, it may also provide back and neck pain relief and diminish acid reflux. It measures 24 x 28 x 7.5 inches, and it comes with a machine washable, removable cover.
Form: Memory foam pillow | Reusable: Yes
Can purchase with a health savings plan
Medical grade materials
May be too large for shorter individuals
Snoring is generally louder and more frequent when sleeping on your back, due to the structure of the throat and the effect of gravity. As such, sleeping on your side is a better choice, according to research. If sleeping on your side doesnt come as naturally, this pillow can help coax you into a better sleeping position. It is built to create an optimal, silent sleeping posture with a built-in wedge and space to put your bottom arm through. You will sleep soundly, not your arm.
Form: Memory foam pillow | Reusable: Yes
Gadgets And Devices To Stop Snoring
There are many devices and gadgets that sold online that claim to stop snoring. Some of these may work. Some of them do not. Many make claims that are not substantiated by valid science. Your best bet is to talk to your physician about snoring devices.
There is sufficient data that demonstrates that some mandibular advancing devices , also call Jaw Advancing Devices or Mandibular Splint are effective at reducing or eliminating snoring. These are similar to the devices that are used for treating sleep apnea. The FDA regulates the sale of these devices in the United States. If considering one of these devices in the U.S., it is recommended to confirm that the device is FDA listed.
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Help For Stopping Snoring
- For additional, behavioral methods to stopping snoring, check out Harvard Medical Schools Snoring Solutions.
- After lifestyle changes, its time for a more serious approach. Read reviews of the best anti-snoring mouthguards.
- Looking for more tips on talking with your partner about snoring, or innovative ways to stop? Connect with peers on forums like the Snoring subreddit, the Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Forums, and the Snore World forums.
Correct Structural Problems In Your Nose
Some people are born with or experience an injury that gives them a deviated septum. This is the misalignment of the wall that separates both sides of the nose, which restricts airflow. It may cause mouth breathing during sleep, causing snoring. It may be necessary to get surgery to correct this condition. Talk to your doctor.
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Why Do I Snore
If you snore and are often sleepy during the day, you may have obstructive sleep apnoea. Obstructive sleep apnoea happens when breathing is either stopped or reduced during sleep because of a narrowing or blockage of the upper airway. It causes loud snoring and occasional apnoea .
Obstructive sleep apnoea is a serious health problem that needs attention. Apart from making you tired, it can reduce your concentration and increase your risk of health problems including high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke and heart attack. It can also lead to motor accidents because drivers fall asleep.
If your child is snoring, it maybe because their tonsils are enlarged or they are overweight.
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If youre suffering from a cold, gargling with a peppermint mouthwash can shrink the lining of your nose and throat. To mix up the herbal gargle, add one drop of peppermint oil to a glass of cold water, move this around your throat area but careful not to swallow.
If youve tried everything and youre still losing sleep, or keeping your partner up all night, your doctor can help.
They might be able to refer you to a sleep centre for advice or there are private sleep clinics available at a cost though!
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Following Good Sleep Hygiene Practices
Develop a good sleep hygiene program by getting consistent sleep on a comfortable bed, in a dark, cool room. Experts link inadequate sleep with weight gain, which can lead to snoring.
Where possible, follow these for getting a good nights sleep:
- ensuring the bed is comfortable
- making sure the room is cool and quiet
- using blinds or heavy curtains to restrict outside light
- sticking to a regular sleeping and waking schedule, even on weekends
- avoiding screen time before sleeping
- avoiding eating large meals and drinking fluids close to bedtime
- taking part in exercise, but not within 23 hours of bedtime
- avoiding caffeine and nicotine
If a persons snoring or sleep apnea is severe, a doctor may suggest treatment alongside lifestyle measures.
What Can You Do About Sleep Paralysis
Sleep paralysis is frightening, but sleep specialist Clete Kushida, MD, PhD, says people can take steps at home to stop the episodes.
Skip the nap. “Nappers seem more prone to sleep paralysis than non-nappers,” Kushida says, “unless the nappers always sleep at the same time each day.”
Get as much sleep as possible. “There seems to be some evidence that people who are sleep deprived enter REM very quickly, which means they’re still awake as their body gets paralyzed,” Kushida says.
Don’t sleep on your back. Sleep experts have found a correlation between sleeping in a supine position and being vulnerable to sleep paralysis.
Seek care. Because sleep paralysis might be linked to other sleep disorders, including REM disruptions and narcolepsy, it’s important to see a sleep specialist if your paralysis occurs often, Kushida says. And if you’re dealing with high levels of stress or anxiety, consult a mental health professional.
Clete Kushida, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral science at Stanford University director of Stanford’s Sleep Disorders Clinic.
Sharpless, Brian A., et al., Journal of Clinical Psychology, 2010 vol 66: pp 1292-1306.
Bell, CC, et al., ” American J Psychiatry, 1986 vol 143: p 1484.
Ranier Biobehavioral Institute: “Sleep Paralysis.”
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Treatment Options For Adults With Snoring
Snoring is a sound produced by the vibration of the soft tissues of the upper airway during sleep as muscles relax and air has to flow through a narrowed throat. Studies estimate that 45 percent of men and 30 percent of women snore on a regular basis. It can affect not only the snorers sleep, but also the sleep of a spouse, partner, or other family members nearby. In fact, snoring causes many couples to sleep in separate rooms, and often places a strain on marriages and relationships. Recent evidence suggests that severe, chronic snoring may even cause thickening of the carotid arteries and potentially increase the risk of stroke.
Snoring may also be a sign of a more serious health condition known as obstructive sleep apnea , characterized by a repetitive complete or partial obstruction of breathing that can occur hundreds of times throughout the night. Most patients who snore should receive a comprehensive sleep evaluation by a trained physician, that often includes sleep testing performed in the home or at a sleep laboratory.
When Should I See A Doctor About My Snoring
Its important to bear in mind that not everyone who is overweight and snores automatically has OSA. More often than not, snoring is nothing to be worried about, says Dr Ramskill. But its important to talk to a doctor if youre experiencing signs of potential sleep apnoea.
Dr Ramskill advises you to seek health advice about snoring if:
- You snore 3 or more nights per week
- Your snoring is very loud
- You make gasping, choking or snorting sounds
- In the daytime, you feel sleepy or find it hard to concentrate
- You wake up with morning headaches and congestion
If youve noticed any of these signs, its important to address the issue with a doctor who can determine if additional testing or treatment is necessary, says Dr Ramskill.
This article has been medically approved by Dr Nikki Ramskill, a Livi GP.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Snoring
Snoring can be a symptom of common conditions such as allergies or asthma. But it also can be a symptom of a serious medical condition called obstructive sleep apnea in which a person stops breathing intermittently during sleep. A person with sleep apnea may snore loudly or make choking noises as they try to breathe. The body becomes deprived of oxygen, and a person may wake up from it. When severe, this can happen hundreds of times during the night or when sleeping at other times during the day. Sleep apnea is associated with a higher risk for
If you’re living with someone who snores, the first step is making sure they know they snore . Next encourage them to visit a doctor to diagnose and treat the underlying cause. You also can help your partner track their snoring habits if the doctor needs a sleep journal. They may try some of the home remedies mentioned previously to stop snoring.
In the meantime, sharing a bed with a snorer can be exhausting. To take care of yourself:
- Use earplugs
- Try a white noise machine
- Try going to bed before your partner if you’re already asleep maybe you won’t hear them
- Consider sleeping in separate bedrooms. This is often a last resort and a personal decision for partners.