Snoring is a frequent disorder that can range from quiet snuffles to loud rasps and snorts. Around 40% of men and 30% of women snore occasionally, with about 15% of the total population snoring more frequently during the week.
Snoring is the noise made when air is blocked from passing through the mouth during sleep. Poor muscle tone, bulky throat tissue, a long, soft tongue, or an enlarged uvula are just a few of the causes. It might also be a sign of a treatable medical issue that prevents you from breathing while you sleep, such as nasal polyps (a benign growth in the nose), a deviated septum, or congestion brought on by an illness or allergy.
Is it normal for everyone to snore?
Most people snore occasionally, but it’s usually nothing to worry about. Snoring occurs when you can’t breathe easily through your nose and throat while sleeping. This causes the tissues in the area to vibrate, creating the well-known snoring sound. People who snore frequently have too much throat and/or nasal tissue or “floppy” tissue that is more prone than normal to vibrate. Tongue positioning can also affect your ability to breathe smoothly.
But for others, it could be a temporary problem or an indicator of an underlying medical condition. Snoring can disrupt sleep, causing you to feel tired and irritable the next day. It can also cause tension in your relationship, particularly if your snoring keeps your spouse awake.
What Causes Snoring?
Since people snore differently, it’s essential to understand the causes of snoring. Once you understand why your snoring occurs, you can find the best solutions for a quieter, deeper sleep for both you and your partner. Common causes of snoring include:
- Age – As you get older, your throat gets narrower, and the muscles in your throat become weaker. While you can’t do anything about growing old, lifestyle changes, new sleep routines, and throat exercises may help to prevent snoring.
- Being overweight or out-of-shape – Fatty tissue and poor muscle tone can lead to snoring. Even if you’re not overweight in general, having extra weight just around your neck can cause snoring. Exercise and losing weight can sometimes be enough to stop snoring.
- Gender – Men tend to have narrower airways than women and are more prone to snoring. Many people who snore have inherited these traits from their parents. While you can’t control your body type or gender, you can still control your snoring by making some simple lifestyle changes, bedtime routines, and throat exercises.
- Nasal and sinuses problems – Blocked airway or a stuffy nose makes inhalation difficult and creates a vacuum in the throat.
- Alcohol, smoking, or medications – Alcohol intake, cigarette smoking, or certain medications, such as tranquilizers like lorazapam (Ativan) or diazepam (Valum), can increase muscle relaxation, which leads to more snoring.
- Sleep posture – Sleeping flat on your back can cause the flesh of your throat muscles to relax and block your airway. Changing your sleep position may help.
How do you fix snoring?
Trying different techniques can help you learn how to deal with snoring while sleeping and identify if you need to consult with the doctor about your snoring. There are several different ways to treat snoring, but the most effective ones include the following:
- Sleep on your side
- Wear a nasal strip or dilator
- Use an anti-snoring mouthpiece
- Reduce your body weight
- Try mouth exercises
- Quit smoking
- Avoid alcohol before bed
What is a snore guard?
One type of approach to control snoring is using a snore guard. A snore guard (Mandibular Advancement Devices) can help with tongue-based snoring. They can be used by moving your lower jaw forward and holding it there throughout the night. This keeps the tongue away from the throat and soft palate, which helps keep an open airway.
You can do a self-diagnosis to see if a snoring guard would be effective for your condition. To perform the test, put your tongue out as far as you can, hold it between your teeth, and make a snoring noise. If it is reduced in this position, it is likely that a snore guard will be helpful.
How do snore strips work?
Nasal strips are a type of device that pulls the nostrils open, allowing more room for air to flow into the nose. All brands of snore strips work the same way. The larger nasal passage helps improve airflow through the nose, which reduces snoring.
The nasal strips are small flexible bands that are worn on the outer surface of the nose. The underside of the strip has an adhesive material that makes it stick to the skin. One strip is placed directly in the center of the nostril, so it sits above each nostril.
Is snoring always a sign of apnea?
Sleep apnea is different than simple snoring because individuals with sleep apnea actually stop breathing for brief periods during the night. Sleep apnea has also been associated with higher risks for heart disease, diabetes, and other medical problems.
Snoring is a common symptom of a serious medical condition known as sleep apnea, which is characterized by interrupted breathing throughout most of the night. It’s a disorder that carries serious health consequences. Snoring and sleep apnea both cause problems for you and your partner, but sleep apnea usually causes more problems. It makes you wake up many times during your sleep, often gasping for breath. You may or may never be aware of these awakenings. This causes daytime fatigue and reduces your ability to function. Sleep apnea is associated with heart disease, stroke, obesity, and accidents, and it can result in fatal accidents because sleep apnea sufferers are often too tired to drive safely.
When Should You See a Doctor About Snoring?
Snoring is often harmless, but it’d be best to see a doctor if there are any of these potential sleep apnea signs:
- Snoring that happens three or more times per week
- Very noisy or bothersome snoring
- Snoring with gasping, choking, or snorting sounds
- Obesity or weight gain
- Daytime drowsiness
- Lack of focus or mental sharpness
- Morning headaches and congestion
- High blood pressure
- Nighttime teeth grinding (bruxism)
- Frequent nighttime urination (nocturia)
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s essential to address them with a doctor who can diagnose whether additional testing or treatment is needed.