In snoring there is:
- a partial collapse of the airway
- vibration of pharyngeal soft tissue
- a reduction of airflow causing mouth breathing
Snoring is very common and, in many cases, quite harmless. Nearly everyone snores at one time or another. Occasional light snoring, at worst, is a minor annoyance. Habitual and loud snoring can interrupt your sleep. This may be a sign of a much more serious sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea.
Snoring is a sound that is generated in the upper airway as you breathe in air. The distinctive sound is a sign that your airway is partially blocked. The airway is usually by soft tissue in your throat. The flow of air causes the soft tissue to vibrate and generating the sound.
Snoring and your Health
The intensity of snoring depends on the person. Patients can snore so loudly they wake themselves up. Snoring can also cause you to have a dry mouth or to wake up with a dry mouth and a sore throat.
Facts about Snoring
- Snoring can affect almost anyone.
- 1 in 3 adults snore on a regular basis and up to 50% snore occasionally.
- Habitual snoring has been predictated in 24 percent of adult women and 40 percent of adult men.
- Both men and women are more likely to snore as they age.
- Overweight and obese or people tend to snore because there is more fat tissue in the back of their throats.
- Alcohol, drugs, muscle relaxers and tobacco products contribute to snoring for both men and women.
- Pregnancy can increase a woman’s change of snoring.
- An estimated 10 to 12 percent of children snore.
- Snoring appears to run in families.
- Snorers are 3 times more likely to suffer adverse health conditions than non-snorers.
- Up to 59% of people report that their partner snores in bed. 23% of couples sleep in separate beds.
Snoring or Obstructive Sleep Apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) commonly goes undiagnosed because patients often mistaken the serious sleep disorder for snoring. About half of loud snorers have some form of sleep apnea. However, it is important to note that not all patients who snore have OSA.
Obstructive sleep apnea and snoring and have similar causes. Sleep apnea occurs when the tissue in the upper-airway blocks the entire airway, causing a interruption in your breathing. The suspension of breathing keeps oxygen from reaching your organs including your heart and brain. When the blood-oxygen level drops low enough, the brain is aroused from a deep into a lighter sleep. The body momentarily wakes up and opens the airway. This cycle happens and you are not consciously aware of the constant interruption of your deep sleep.
Snorers who suffer from OSA may make choking, gasping or snorting sounds as they try to breathe and feel exhausted during the day.
How to stop snoring
Just because you snore or have sleep apnea doesn’t mean you have to suffer. There are several ways to manage snoring and OSA. Getting better sleep starts with having an understanding of what sleep is, why we need it, and what the choices are for feeling better and getting a perfect night’s sleep.
There are different treatment options available for snoring. However, before initiating any treatment it is important to rule out any associated sleep disorders and rule out OSA. This entails taking an overnight sleep test.
The most successful snoring treatment is an oral appliance made by Dr. Nugent. This device pulls the lower jaw downward and forward opening up the back of the throat. There is less constriction of air flow and therefore less to no vibration of soft tissue which causes the sound of snoring.
Snoring can be triggered by a number of factors. One of these factors is the normal aging process. As a person ages, their throat muscles lose muscle tone. This can lead to snoring. The position one sleeps in, predominantly sleeping on one’s back, can lead to snoring. Respiratory infection or allergies often lead to inflammation of nose/throat. This irritation can lead to snoring. A deviated nasal septum, enlarged tonsils or nasal polyps, alcohol before sleep, muscle relaxants and even obesity can contribute to snoring. Having too much fatty tissue around the neck can be a cause of snoring.
Other causes of Snoring include:
Sleeping position: Sleeping on your back can increase the severity of an obstructed airway.
Excess weight: Especially around the neck can increase the risk of airway blockage through excess or enlarged tissues.
Enlarged tonsils or adenoids: Enlarged tissues can contribute to a narrow airway.
Deviated nasal septum: Obstruction in the nasal passage way can cause snoring.
Muscle relaxers or sleeping pills: Causes the tissues to relax more than normal increasing the risk of airway blockage.
Smoking or drinking alcohol: Any sedatives or airway irritants can increase the risk of airway collapse.
Snoring Cures and Treatment:
Excess weight can add tissue to the neck that presses and restricts the airways. This restriction leads to the vibrations that produce snores. People who gain a few pounds every year may develop sleep apnea, but if they gained the weight and then started snoring, losing the weight may help alleviate the snoring. Plus, losing excess weight carries a number of additional health benefits!
A narrowing of nasal passages that’s severe enough to cause snoring happens deeper than can be fixed with a nasal strip. They nasal strip can lower the sound of the snoring. Thus, a frustrated bed partner may hear quieter snoring from someone wearing a nasal strip, but the snoring will not really go away.
Because there is greater pressure on the throat when you are lying on your back, shifting to your side can really lower the level of snoring. People sleeping on their backs are probably used to frequent elbowing from their bed partners. Sleeping on your side is a quick fix and not a long-term treatment for snoring.
Sleeping With A Humidifier
Snoring can be due to nasal congestion or allergies. If your nasal congestion or allergies are worse in dry air, sleeping with a humidifier can help unless you have sleep-disordered breathing or sleep apnea.
A surgical procedure can create a more open airway. The intention of surgery is to create a more open airway so obstructions are less likely to occur. Surgery can be very invasive and a lot of times worsen the apnea.
Oral Appliance Therapy
Dr. Nugent can crate a custom oral appliance, a type of mouthguard that moves the jaw can be very helpful. This appliance moves the the lower jaw slightly downward and forward. This movement opens up the airway so there is no constriction and vibration of the airway.
Does your partner snore?
- The number one requested feature in new house construction is two separate master bedrooms.
- In addition, 23% of couples sleep in separate beds, a trend increasingly dubbed “sleep divorce”.
- Around 59% of people report that their partner snores in bed.
If you or someone you love snores, a discussion with our Sleep Dentists can help you make informed decisions.