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What Causes Snoring To Start

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Why You Snore More As You Get Older And What You Can Do About It

Yagana Shah

No, you’re not imagining things. Your partner’s snoring probably has gotten worse over the years. You’ve tried everything from ear plugs to sleeping in different beds but nothing seems to drown out the inexplicably loud throaty sounds coming from your partner at night.

We spoke to sleep specialist Rafael Pelayo of the Stanford Sleep Medicine Center to find out exactly what causes snoring and why it gets worse with age.

“It can start at any age,” Pelayo says, noting that it does occur more often as we age. “But it’s not normal at any age. When we’re awake we don’t snore. All snoring is abnormal and is caused by some degree of obstruction in your breathing.”

Specifically, snoring is caused by the narrowing of the throat when you sleep, because the reflexes that keep the throat open relax while you get your shuteye. Contrary to popular belief, snoring is not a breathing disorder, but rather a throat issue. The loud sounds you hear are actually just turbulence cause by the same amount of air you always breathe, being forced through a narrower space.

But why does it get worse as we get older? “As we get older, we put on weight. The pattern of weight gain changes and we often gain weight around the neck, so the throat space becomes narrower,” Pelayo says. “Muscle tone also decreases, that’s why we snore more.” For women in particular, after menopause, hormonal changes — including decreased progesterone — may also cause weight gain.

Try Not To Sleep On Your Back

Some people toss and turn all night along, but snoring is often worse when you are sleeping on your back. You can use pillows to prevent you from rolling onto your back. Some people prefer wearing a T-shirt at night with a pocket sewn on the middle of the back to hold two tennis balls and make it physically uncomfortable to sleep on your back. There are also some new wearable devices that attempt to use vibration delivered only when someone is sleeping on their back, specifically designed for people suffering from positional snoring.

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 Causes Snoring In General

Snoring can be caused by a number of things, like oral anatomy, sinus anatomy, allergies, a cold, the persons weight, or even a jaw joint disorder. When a person sleeps, the muscles in the mouth, tongue, and throat relax, and this exacerbates the aforementioned issues to cause snoring. Generally, the problem that causes snoring is a narrowed or partially blocked airway. A sleep study can often easily reveal the cause of a patients snoring, and so can a professional like one of ours here at Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders.

Sleep Apnea Is Unlikely To Get Better Even With Treatment

What causes snoring?

FALSE.Sleep apnea treatment combined with weight loss is often effective, Dr. Pervez says.

They had this overwhelming sense of tiredness and fatigue and a mental fog, and when that lifts, it can be a night-and-day difference, he says.

We can help you determine if its just snoring or sleep apnea.Find a doctor near youor learn more about our sleep disorder services inOrange CountyandWake County.

What Can You Do About It

If you have recently started snoring, then it might be a good idea to consult your physician… to see if there is anything that you could possibly do about it from a doctors point of view. You should also rule out whether or not you are suffering from sleep apnea.

Aside from this, you should probably try sleeping in a different position. It is commonly known that sleeping on your back can make your snoring worse, so try sleeping on your side instead.

Drinking more water can also help with your snoring problem, as can keeping your pillows fresh and washed.

But if these steps do not help, you can always try a stop-snoring device of some sort. Mandibular advancement devices, tongue stabilization devices, and hybrid devices are some of the mostpopular and usefulthough there are many to choose from.

The important thing is that you try to do something about it. Snoring might not seem like a big problem… but it can certainly contribute to poorer health in a lot of different ways.

What Are Common Causes Of Snoring

Snoring happens when air cannot flow freely through the airway as you breathe in and out during sleep. When the airway is narrowed or partially blocked, breathing causes the tissues of the upper airway to vibrate, resulting in the sound you hear when someone snores. There are many possible reasons that a person may have a chronically narrowed or blocked airway during sleep that causes snoring.

Linking The Cause Of Your Snoring To The Cure

Monitoring your snoring for patterns can often help you pinpoint the reasons why you snore, what makes it worse, and how to go about stopping it. To identify important patterns, it helps to keep asleep diary .If you have a sleep partner, they can help you fill it in. If you sleep alone, set up a camera to record yourself at night.

HOW you snore reveals WHY you snore
Type of snoring
May indicate a problem with your tongue
Open-mouth snoringMay be related to the tissues in your throat
Snoring when sleeping on your backProbably mild snoringimprovedsleep habits and lifestyle changes may be effective cures
Snoring in all sleep positionsCan mean your snoring is more severe and may require a more comprehensive treatment

When Is It More Than Snoring

When snoring is loud and accompanied by daytime sleepiness and a lack of feeling refreshed in the morning, it may be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea.

When I hear that story where the patient comes home from work and goes to sleep on the couch at 6 oclock  that’s not, Oh, how cute, they fell asleep no, Dasgupta says. That could be a warning sign.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which ones breathing temporarily stops during sleep. That happens when the throat muscles collapse, the tongue falls back and the airway is blocked, according to the UCLA Sleep Disorders Center. The condition which can be life-threatening affects an estimated one in four people over 60, it says.

Sleep apnea increases the risk of high blood pressure and heart problems, because when breathing is interrupted, blood oxygen levels abruptly drop. That strains the cardiovascular system, according to the Mayo Clinic. People with obstructive sleep apnea are also more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes, Mayo says.

And, Dasgupta notes, resulting drowsiness during the day can lead to periods of napping at dangerous times, such as while driving.

How To Stop Snoring

There are a number of basic steps you can take to stop snoring. The first place to start is to find out if anything that makes your snoring better or worse. Whether you sleep alone or with someone else, you might consider a smartphone applications to measure how bad your snoring is. It can be helpful to monitor any changes in your snoring as you make some of the changes listed below.

Can Snoring Cause Bad Breath

If you’ve ever woken up with worse morning breath than usual, it may be because you snored last night. When you’re snoring, you’re breathing with your mouth open, causing dry mouth. When your mouth is dry, there isn’t that protective layer of saliva to moisten the tissues in your mouth. Dry mouth can lead to bad breath, more bacteria buildup, infections and sores, and tooth decay.

Saliva is necessary to a healthy mouth because it washes away food debris and bacteria from the tongue, gums, and cheeks. When food debris and bacteria are not removed, they decompose and leave an odor behind . Lack of saliva also allows harmful bacteria and other organisms in the mouth to grow too quickly, which can result in mouth infections and sores. When saliva can’t protect and cleanse your mouth, it increases your tooth decay and gum disease risk.

If you can correct the reasons for your snoring, that may reduce your bad breath and other snoring effects. There are various treatments available. Those seeking treatment for snoring should consult their dentist or physician.

Foods That Can Cause Snoring

Can the foods you eat cause you to snore or make an existing problem with snoring even worse?

It sounds like a radical idea, but the answer to that question is yes and you need to be particularly careful about the food choices you make just before going to bed.

Snoring is the result of tissue vibration at the back of the throat.

During sleep, the tissue at the back of the throat relaxes.

The tongue relaxes as well and drops towards the back of the throat.

All this relaxing flesh obstructs airflow.

This causes turbulence and, due to its relaxed nature, the flesh of the throat starts to vibrate in an unpleasantly noisy way.

Anything that further impedes airflow has the potential to make the snoring situation worse. Mucus is one of the things that can do this.Avoid food that causes mucus.

What does any of this have to do with the food choices and what you make? Read on, you may be surprised at what you are about to discover.

Recommended Reading: From mouth guards, to tongue stabilizers to chinstraps What is the best solution from the many snoring aids available?

Why Women Snore Less Than Men

Why have I started snoring?

If men and women have the same face and throat muscles, why is it that men get all the bad rep for being the top snorers?

If you look closer at the throat anatomy for women compared to men, you might be able to pick out a few key differences:

In general, men have broader necks than women

A few key differences:

  • Though womens necks are smaller than mens, they are also stiffer and less likely to collapse and cause snoring. 
  • Women have a smaller proportion of fat around their neck when compared to the rest of their body. Men tend to have more neck fat. 
  • Women have smaller soft palates and tongues when compared to men.
  • Women also have less of the anatomical variances that can lead to snoring.

Though women snoring is definitely less common than men, both genders suffer equally from its detrimental effects. 

Many Women Snore And There Are Some Reasons Behind It Visit Koala Center For Sleep And Tmj Disorders If You Want Help With Sleep Related Problems For More Information Please Call Us Or Schedule An Appointment Online Serving Patients From All Over The Usa Locations In Bloomington Il Peoria Dunlap Il Lafayette In Mishawaka In Columbia Mo Kansas City Mo Albuquerque Nm Brewster Ny El Paso Tx Wausau Wi

Its not so common for women to snore at night. Men are more likely to snore, and by a significant margin. If youre a woman and concerned about your snoring, then there may be a special, health-related reason for your snoring that we can determine here at Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders. Get in touch with us today to learn more about what causes snoring in women and what we can do about it at our clinic.

What Are The Surgical Treatments For Snoring

In some cases, snoring and sleep disordered breathing are treated with surgery to shrink or remove excess tissue or correct a structural problem. Many of these procedures are minimally invasive. Your provider uses small incisions, and you may be able to go home the same day. Surgery for snoring includes:

  • Laser-assisted uvulapalatoplasty : LAUP reduces tissue in the soft palate and improves airflow.
  • Radiofrequency ablation: Also called Somnoplasty, this technique uses radiofrequency energy to shrink excess tissue in the soft palate and tongue.
  • Septoplasty: This procedure straightens a deviated septum in the nose. A improves airflow through the nose by reshaping the cartilage and bone.
  • Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy: The surgeon removes excess tissue from the back of the throat or the back of the nose .

Treatment For Snoring Depends On The Cause

Talk to a doctor about the best treatment for you.

Treatment for snoring depends on the cause

Possible cause
Tongue partially blocking the back of your throata device you wear in your mouth to bring your tongue forward
Mouth falling open when you’re asleepa chin strap to hold your mouth closed, or a device you wear in your mouth to make you breathe through your nose while you sleep
Blocked or narrow airways in your nosespecial devices or strips that hold your nose open while you sleep, or sprays to reduce swelling inside your nose

Lifestyle Changes To Help You Stop Snoring

Lose weight. Losing even a little bit of weight can reduce fatty tissue in the back of the throat and decrease, or even stop, snoring.

Quit smoking. If you smoke, your chances of snoring are high. Smoking irritates the membranes in the nose and throat which can block the airways and cause snoring. While quitting is easier said than done, it can bring quick snoring relief.

Avoid alcohol, sleeping pills, and sedatives because they relax the muscles in the throat and interfere with breathing. Also talk to your doctor about any prescription medications youre taking, as some encourage a deeper level of sleep which can make snoring worse.

Be careful what you eat before bed. Research shows that eating large meals or consuming certain foods such as dairy or soymilk right before bedtime can make snoring worse.

Exercise in general can reduce snoring, even if it doesnt lead to weight loss. Thats because when you tone various muscles in your body, such as your arms, legs, and abs, this leads to toning the muscles in your throat, which in turn can lead to less snoring. There are also specific exercises you can do to strengthen the muscles in your throat.

Six anti-snoring throat exercises

Studies show that by pronouncing certain vowel sounds and curling the tongue in specific ways, muscles in the upper respiratory tract are strengthened and therefore reduce snoring. The following exercises can help:

  • Repeat each vowel out loud for three minutes a few times a day.
  • Why Do People Snore

    For breathing at rest, it is ideal to breathe through the nose. The nose acts as a humidifier, heater, and filter for the incoming air. When we breathe through our mouth, these modifications to the air entering our lungs occur to a lesser extent. Our lungs are still able to use the colder, drier, dirtier air; but you may have noticed that breathing really , dry, or dirty air can be uncomfortable. Therefore, our bodies naturally want to breathe through the nose if possible.

    The nose is made up of two parallel passages, one on each side, called the nasal . They are separated by a thin wall , which is a relatively flat wall of cartilage, bone, and lining tissue . On the lateral side of each passage, there are three nasal turbinates, which are long, cylindrical-shaped structures that lie roughly parallel to the floor of the nose. The turbinates contain many small blood vessels that function to regulate airflow. If the blood vessels in the turbinates increase in size, the turbinate as a whole swell, and the flow of air decreases. If the vessels narrow, the turbinates become smaller, and airflow increases.

    Mouth breathing and snoring

    As discussed above, we naturally want to breathe through our noses. Some people cannot breathe through their noses because of the obstruction of the nasal passages. This can be caused by a deviation of the nasal septum, , sinus infections, swelling of the turbinates, or large .

    In children, enlarged adenoids are often the cause of the obstruction.

    Sinus Problems And Snoring

    How are sinus problems and snoring related to each other? During sleep, your body instinctively tries to breathe through the nose. Sometimes, however, your sinuses can leave your nose too congested to breathe through. In response to this nasal congestion, you will breathe through your mouth. Once you begin breathing through your mouth, the muscles in your throat might relax past a certain degree and cause you to start snoring.

    Snoring may be the butt of many jokes, but chronic sinus snoring can lead to an increased risk of experiencing other, more serious health issues.

    Dealing With Complaints About Your Snoring

    Its common to be caught off guardand feel a little hurtwhen a partner complains about your snoring. After all, you probably didnt even realize it was happening. And although it might seem silly that snoring can cause such relationship turmoil, its a common and a very real problem.

    If you dismiss your partners concerns and refuse to try to solve your snoring problem, youre sending a clear message to your partner that you dont care about their needs. This could mean your relationship is in trouble, and thats a bigger problem than the snoring.

    Keep the following in mind as you and your partner work together to find a solution to your snoring:

    Snoring is a physical issue. Its nothing to be embarrassed about. Like a pulled muscle or a common cold, improving the condition is in your hands.

    Avoid taking it personally. Try not to take your partners frustration as a personal critique or attack. Your partner loves you, just not the snoring.

    Take your partner seriously. Avoid minimizing complaints. Lack of sleep is a health hazard and can make your partner feel miserable all day.

    Make it clear that you prioritize the relationship. If you and your partner have this understanding, youll both do what it takes to find a cure for the snoring.

    Address inappropriate behavior. Although sleep deprivation can lead to moodiness and irritability, let your partner know that its not okay for them to throw an elbow or snap at you when youre snoring.

    Get more help

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    Head And Neck Anatomy

    Stop Snoring Today

    deviated septum

    Treatment approaches for people who have one of these anatomical causes of snoring include surgery and dental devices. Both methods aim to increase the flow of air in and out of the airway during sleep. These approaches have been shown to be effective in some patients with OSA, but further research is needed to show whether theyre effective in people who snore but dont have OSA.

    What Is The Treatment For Snoring

    Making lifestyle changes like losing weight can help with snoring, but lifestyle changes wont necessarily help if the snoring is caused by something like a jaw joint disorder or sleep apnea. In the case of snoring caused by sleep apnea, CPAP therapy can help, but many patients find it inconvenient, loud, and uncomfortable.

    An alternative to CPAP therapy for snoring and sleep apnea is oral appliance therapy. Its also effective for snoring caused by a jaw joint disorder. For many patients, after 3 months of oral appliance therapy, their symptoms are relieved by 90%.

    Oral appliance therapy is highly approved by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and we provide it here at Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders. It could easily be the treatment for your particular case, and you can find out by asking us here at our clinic! We have multiple locations in Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, Texas, and Wisconsin, and you can reach us at 977-0400. You can also book a consultation with us on our Appointments page. Dont hesitate to contact us if you believe as we do that we can help you with your snoring here at Koala® Center for Sleep & TMJ Disorders!

    How Can I Stop Snoring

    You might be able to prevent snoring by changing your lifestyle, diet and daily activities. To reduce snoring, you should:

    • Ask your provider about medications to relieve nasal congestion.
    • Avoid alcohol and other sedatives before bed.
    • Maintain a healthy weight, stay active and get plenty of exercise.
    • Raise the head of your bed a few inches to change the angle and improve airflow.
    • Sleep on your side, not your back.
    • Try a snore-reducing pillow that keeps your head and neck in the proper position when you sleep.

    Polysomnogram: Should You Have A Sleep Study If You Snore

    Polysomnogram or a sleep study is an electronictest that transmits and records your brain waves, heart rate, breathing, and blood oxygen level while you sleep. The test also records several physical activities like the movement of your legs and eyes while you sleep.

    During the test, multiple sensors are attached to the persons body while he or she is sleeping. The test serves as a diagnostic tool in sleep medicine. The recordings serve as data that a qualified sleep specialist investigates and analyzes to find out if you have a sleep disorder .

    There are 4 kinds of sleep studies.

    What Is The Outlook For People Who Snore

    The successful treatment of your snoring depends on its cause. Sleep apnea can be treated with certain masks or procedures, but it often requires continual checkups. Many people snore more with age. If you dont snore now, you may start to as you get older. Its important to discuss frequent snoring with a doctor.

    Mild cases of snoring may be improved with a few lifestyle changes. Maintaining a healthy weight can help your body immensely and can even help you snore less at night. Other potentially effective changes include:

    • going to sleep at the same time every night
    • sleeping on your side

    Ruling Out More Serious Causes

    Snoring could indicate sleep apnea, a serious sleep disorder where your breathing is briefly interrupted many times each night. Normal snoring doesnt interfere with the quality of your sleep as much as sleep apnea, so if youre suffering from extreme fatigue and sleepiness during the day, it could be an indication ofsleep apnea or another sleep-related breathing problem. Call your doctor if you or your sleep partner have noticed any of the following red flags:

    • You snore loudly and heavily and are tired during the day.
    • You stop breathing, gasp, or choke during sleep.
    • You fall asleep at inappropriate times, such as during a conversation or a meal.

    Does Snoring Have You Up All Night

    The snoring treatments youve been waiting for

    Every night the same ritual plays out in Nancy Rothsteins bedroom. She goes to before her husband does, and then, a few hours later, shes awakened by the grating sound of his . I usually lie there for a while and try to decide whether I have the energy to move to another room, she says. Ive tried earplugs, which are uncomfortable, so most nights I end up playing musical beds. Some nights its just simpler to start out in a different room, so I can get a good nights .

    Multiply that scenario by a few million, and youll get a sense of whats going on in couples bedrooms all over the country. According to the National Foundation, snoring affects 90 million adults, 37 million of them on a regular basis. And while men are twice as likely as women to snore among younger folk, that gap closes after , and women snore in equal numbers.

    A poll conducted by the sleep foundation in 2005 found that sleep problemsmost commonly snoringnot only have an impact on how well you sleep but can negatively affect between bed partners. The snoring situation is so dire, in fact, that more and more newly constructed homes are being built with two master bedrooms, or small snoring rooms for the offender. That may sound extreme, but only to someone who hasnt been serenaded in the wee hours by the maddening multiple frequencies and breathing inconsistencies that constitute snoringunlike white noise, which is constant and far less disturbing.

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