Snoring has to be right up there with one of the biggest obstacles to getting a good sleep, not just for the people who have to hear it, but also for the snorer themselves. Snoring can be a significant issue. It is extremely common among all ages and both genders and it affects a massive amount of people all over the world. Snoring is much more than merely an annoyance to those people who sleep near you, snoring affects your sleeping quantity and quality, your daytime fatigue, irritability, and leads to an array of severe health problems like sleep apnoea and heart disease.
What is Snoring?
The muscles of your throat relax when you sleep, your tongue falls backward and your throat becomes narrower. As you breathe, the walls of the throat begin to vibrate. These vibrations lead to the common sound we refer to as snoring. The narrower your airway becomes, the greater the vibration and the louder your snoring. The dangerous condition known as sleep apnoea occurs when the walls of the throat collapse completely.
Those at Risk
Whilst males are most at risk snoring doesn’t discriminate, and it is a problem for both genders. Those who are overweight are generally affected more and snoring tends to impact most as people age.
The Causes of Snoring
The normal aging process as discussed above leads to increased snoring; this is due to a relaxation of the throat muscles as we age. Enlarged tonsils or adenoids and other nose and throat conditions cause exaggerated narrowing of the throat during sleep and thus lead to snoring. The effects of allergies and inflammations can lead to snoring. Something which we have complete control over causes snoring too, our sleep positions. If you sleep on your back, you’re more likely to snore. Alcohol and other muscle relaxants will increase the likelihood of snoring. Obesity and being overweight leads to snoring.
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Morning headaches
- Not feeling rested
- Reduced attention, concentration, or memory
- Observed pauses in breathing during sleep
How to Treat Snoring
- Change your Lifestyle: Manage your weight, change sleeping positions, and manage your seasonal allergies, exercise and diet changes.
- Surgery: Have your nose and throat conditions assessed.
- Appliances: Oral appliances to reduce snoring
- Lose weight
- Avoid sleeping pills and antihistamines before bedtime
- Avoid alcohol for at least four hours before sleeping
- Avoid heavy meals or snacks for three hours before sleeping
- Establish regular sleeping patterns
- Sleep on your side rather than your back
There are a range of new snoring treatments in Australia including Theravent, Exclusively Lateral Sleep, Night Shift Device, Mandibular Advancement Splint (MAS), Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), Nasal Steroids and Allergy Treatments, Non-Steroidal Over-The-Counter Nasal Sprays and Other Anti-Allergy Treatments and External Nasal Strips. (We will look further into these in our upcoming blog on snoring treatments)
Just because snoring is such a common issue in society today doesn’t mean that it should be taken lightly. Snoring leads to a host of more serious conditions and can be a sign of these issues in itself. Make the necessary changes to your lifestyle immediately and if the problems persist it is imperative that you seek medical advice. Snoring effects more than your partners sleep, it affects your happiness, health, relationships, work, success and everything in between. Sleep is a vital cog on the road to holistic health and well-being; make sure that snoring isn’t getting in its way.
(Image courtesy of snoringdevicesaustralia.com)