What is Snoring?
Snoring is caused by an obstruction of the air passageways. When you are asleep, the muscles in the throat relax, causing the tongue to fall backward. This relaxes the throat and makes it narrower and ‘floppier’. When this happens, and you breathe, it will cause a vibration in the walls of the throat. These vibrations cause the loud and unpleasant sound of snoring. This mostly occurs when you inhale, but it can happen to a lesser extent when you exhale as well.
Sometimes the walls of the throat will collapse all the way, causing the airways to become completely closed. This blockage of the airways is what is known as sleep apnea, causing a person to cease breathing completely. Sleep apnea can obviously be quite serious and if severe will require medical attention.
DID YOU KNOW?
Approximately 40% of men and
24% of women snore on a regular basis
Louder snorers are more likely to suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
How Can I Stop Snoring?
It’s best to consult with a sleep doctor to determine the severity of your snoring. If you only have the occasional mild snoring but feel refreshed upon waking, and it does not affect your day-to-day functioning, you can try some of these methods on your own:
- Avoid tranquilizers, antihistamines and sleeping pills before bed
- Lose weight
- Establish regular sleep patterns
- Avoid alcohol for a minimum of four hours before bed
- Do not eat for three hours before going to bed
- Sleep on your side instead of on your back
When to Talk to Your Doctor
You should consult with a sleep specialist if you snore and notice any of the following signs or symptoms:
- Headaches in the morning
- Excessive sleepiness during the day
- Recent weight gain
- Awakening during the night feeling confused
- Waking up in the morning not feeling rested
- Changes in your levels of concentration, attention or memory
- Any pauses in breathing that occurs while you are sleeping (your partner may be more aware of this than you are)
If your doctor thinks that your snoring is not a sign of a more serious problem, then an oral appliance may be prescribed. This can help quieten your snoring as well as improve the quality of your bed partner’s sleep.