So, how do they call you? A whistler, or a rumbler. There are many jokes, dedicated to snoring and the person who snores because snoring sounds funny. You may not hear your snores other person sleeping in the room or house will. But snoring means you spend more energy to breathe at night, thus not getting as good rest as you could have.
Snoring is the hoarse or harsh sound that occurs when your breathing is partially obstructed in some way while you’re sleeping. For many people snoring is a source of embarrassment or friction with a spouse. Sometimes snoring may indicate a serious health condition.
When you doze off and progress from a light sleep to a deep sleep, the muscles in the roof of your mouth (soft palate), tongue and throat relax. The tissues in your throat can relax enough that they partially block your airway and vibrate. The more narrowed your airway, the more forceful the airflow becomes. This causes tissue vibration to increase, which causes your snoring to grow louder.
What conditions can affect the airway and cause snoring?
- Having a family history of snoring or obstructive sleep apnea.
- People who are overweight may have extra tissues in the back of their throats that may narrow their airways.
- Nasal obstruction due chronic nasal congestion or deviated nasal septum may contribute to your snoring.
- Snoring is typically most frequent and loudest when sleeping on the back as gravity’s effect on the throat narrows the airway.
- Having a low, thick soft palate can narrow the airway. Leading to snoring.
- If the triangular piece of tissue hanging from the soft palate (uvula) is elongated, airflow can be obstructed and vibration increased.
- Snoring can also be brought on by consuming too much alcohol before bedtime.
- Sleep deprivation can lead to further throat relaxation.
Obstructive sleep apnea
Snoring may also be associated with obstructive sleep apnea. In this your throat tissues partially or completely block your airway, preventing you from breathing. It is characterized by loud snoring followed by periods of silence when breathing stops. Eventually, this reduction or pause in breathing may signal you to wake up, and you may awaken with a loud snort or gasping sound. This pattern of breathing pauses may be repeated many times during the night. Obstructive sleep apnea is relatively common in children between the ages of three and six when their adenoids and tonsils have a tendency to enlarge due to recurrent infections.
Can lifestyle changes help to prevent snoring?
- Postural changes: Try to sleep on your side rather than your back. While sleeping on your back, your tongue, chin and any excess fatty tissue under your chin can relax and squash your airway. Sleeping on your side prevents this.
- Take an extra pillow to elevate your head. This will keep your throat tissues from falling back into your airway.
- Avoid alcohol and sedatives: Do not eat a heavy meal or drink alcoholic beverages before bed. Avoid sedatives causing deep sleep which can make snoring worse.
- Clear nasal passage: Get proper treatment for conditions like allergies, recurrent tonsillitis, Adenoiditis and frequent colds causing Nasal obstructions. If you have stuffy nose clean it properly before going to bed.
- Keep bedroom air moist: Dry air can irritate membranes in the nose and throat, so if swollen nasal tissues are the problem, a humidifier may help.
- Maintain a healthy weight and diet: Being overweight can lead to snoring. The fatty tissue around your neck squeezes the airway and prevents air from flowing in and out freely.
What are the treatment options available?
There are few devices which can help to some extend to overcome the snoring. Devises nasal strips, which open the nostrils wider, throat sprays and devices are known as mandibular advancement devices (MAD), which reposition the jaw to ease airflow might be of help.
For some cases of snoring, surgery to fix structural problems in the airways can help.
The recurrent conditions like, tonsillitis, allergy, enlarged adenoids and frequent colds which usually leads nasal obstruction can be treated effectively with homeopathic treatment. Homeopathic medicines, when given under expert’s guidance, can help in conditions like Obstructive sleep apnea and can prevent further complications of it.
If you have any queries related to snoring, do feel free to get in touch with Dr. Rajesh Shah’s associate doctors at Life Force Homeopathy or just send your query here.
You may write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call at +91-22-66888888.
– Written by Dr. Aparna Hingmire, Life Force Team