Snoring

1 What is Snoring?

Snoring is the hoarse or harsh sound that occurs when breathing is partially obstructed in some way while sleeping.

Sometimes snoring may indicate serious health condition. In addition, snoring can disturb others sleep. As many as half of the adults’ snore.

Snoring occur when air flows over relaxed tissue resulting in its vibration creating annoying sound during snoring. Lifestyle changes such as losing weight, avoiding alcohol close to the bed time can help stop snoring.

In addition, medical devices and surgery are available that may reduce disruptive snoring.

2 Symptoms

Not all snorers have OSA, but if snoring accompanies with any of the following symptoms one must consult doctor:

  • Noise during sleeping,
  • excessive daytime sleepiness,
  • difficulty concentrating,
  • morning headaches,
  • sore throat,
  • restless sleep,
  • gasping or chocking at night,
  • high blood pressure,
  • chest pain at night,
  • waking up due to choking. 

Snoring is often associated with a sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea.

3 Causes

Many factors such as anatomy of mouth and sinuses, alcohol consumption, allergies and weight can cause snoring.

During deep sleep muscles in the roof of mouth relax and tissues in throat can relax enough that they partially block airway and causes vibrations.

The more narrowed airway, the more powerful airflow becomes. The following conditions can affect airways airway and cause snoring:

Alcohol consumption

Snoring can also occur because of consumption of too much alcohol before bedtime. Alcohol relaxes muscles of throat and decreases the natural resistance against snoring.

Nasal problems

Chronic nasal congestion or a crooked partition between nostrils may contribute to snoring.

Sleep deprivation

Not getting enough sleep can lead to further throat relaxation.

Sleep position

Snoring is notably the most while sleeping on back as the effect of gravity on throat further narrows the throat.

Obstructive sleep apnea

Snoring may also be associated with obstructive sleep apnea. In this condition the tissues completely obstruct airway. People with obstructive sleep apnea experience periods when there is partial slowing of breath or completely stops breathing for few movements.

4 Making a Diagnosis

To establish diagnosis of snoring doctor will take a note of signs and symptoms followed by physical and mental examination.

Some imaging tests such as X-ray, computed tomography (CT) and Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be used to analyze airway problems and reveal obstruction.

Sleep study will also be conducted depending on the condition of the patient, sleep study can be conducted at home or in sleep center.

Polysomnography is the method used to study sleep. Which determines

  • brain waves,
  • oxygen levels,
  • heart rate
  • and breathing rate.

Doctor will analyze the report and establish diagnosis.

5 Treatment

To treat snoring doctor might first recommend lifestyle changes, such as

  • losing weight and avoiding alcohol abuse,
  • treating nasal decongestion,
  • avoiding sleep deprivation.

Some of the following methods are used to treat snoring:

Oral appliances

Oral appliances are form-fitting dental mouthpieces that help advance the position of jaw, tongue and soft palate to keep your air passage open.

Continuous positive airway pressure

This approach involves wearing a mask on your nose while you sleep this mask allows a counter force preventing the muscles from blocking the airway.

Palatal implants

In this procedure, known as the pillar procedure, doctors inject braided strands of polystyrene filament into soft palate, which stiffens soft palate and reduces snoring.

Traditional surgery

Asurgery called uvulopalatopharyngoplasty is performed. In this surgery surgeons tighten and trim excessive tissue.

Laser surgery

In laser assisted uvuopalatopharyngoplasty, doctor uses laser to shorten the excessive tissue present.

Somnoplasty

In this outpatient procedure, anesthesia will be administered and doctors use a low intensity radiofrequency signal to shrink tissue in the soft palate to help reduce snoring.

6 Prevention

To prevent snoring one must follow these following steps:

  • avoid alcohol abuse before going to bed,
  • maintaining proper sleep-wake cycle,
  • reduce stress in the life,
  • sleep in proper position,
  • eat healthy diet,
  • avoid obesity

7 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

A few alternative remedies exist for snoring, which include:

  • Playing some music instruments:Playing didgeridoo, a musical instrument the produces droning sound, may help train muscles of the upper respiratory tract and increase their tension leading to less snoring. Research has shown that those people who played the instrument for about 25 minutes a day most days of the week experienced less snoring. Larger trials are needed to conform the result.
  • Singing: Singing may help increase the tone of muscles. Which will help in reducing snoring. 

8 Lifestyle and Coping

Lifestyle modifications are necessary in order to cope with snoring. These include:

  • Lose weight: Obesity can lead to relaxation of muscle and will develop snoring.
  • Sleep position: Maintaining proper sleep position will help the muscles to stay in their position prevent snoring.
  • Head position: Keeping head raised a little with the help of pillow will prevent snoring, nasal strips- use nasal strips to relive nasal decongestion and avoid snoring.
  • Nasal congestion: Using medications to decrease nasal congestion will reduce chances of snoring, avoid smoking  and give body adequate rest. 

9 Risks and Complications

Risk factors of snoring are:

  • Being a man: Men are more likely to snore or have sleep apnea than compared with women.
  • Being obese: Excessive weight may contribute to the development of snoring.
  • Drinking alcohol: Alcohol relaxes muscles of throat leading to the development of snoring.
  • Having nasal problems: Structural defects in nose and chronic congestion of nose can contribute to the development of snoring.

Habitual snoring may cause disturbance to others. If snoring is caused by obstructive sleep apnea the following complications might develop:

  • daytime sleepiness,
  • frequent frustration or anger,
  • difficulty in concentrating,
  • high blood pressure, aggression,
  • learning problems. 
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