Snoring is so common that it is estimated to occasionally affect 45% of adults. You may snore if you have allergies or colds from time to time. But 25% of adults are estimated to be regular snorers, which begs the question: is snoring dangerous?
What Causes Snoring?
A snoring disorder is generally the result of blocked airflow in your airwaves. When you breathe, the air is pushed through your throat, nose, and mouth. However, if your airway is restricted, the air causes the muscles in your airway to vibrate, which is the noise we know as snoring.
Some of the factors that can restrict airflow in your airways and contribute to snoring include
- Sedative drugs and medications
- Carrying extra body fat, especially in your neck
- During pregnancy, hormones can cause nasal inflammation
- Having low muscle tone or muscle weakness in the throat, mouth, or nose
- Respiratory infections and seasonal allergies
- Sleep disorders like obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
So When Is Snoring Dangerous?
When snoring is occasional or can be attributed to external factors like those listed above, snoring is not harmful. At worst, it may affect your bed partner’s quality of sleep but not have any harmful effects on your body. When snoring occurs as a result of sleep apnea, it can be a dangerous sign.
What Is Sleep Apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea is one of the most common sleep disorders that increases your risk for other dangerous health conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease and hypertension.
Sleep apnea causes your breathing to be interrupted constantly while you sleep. This can occur up to 30 times in one hour, causing a drop in your oxygen levels. The consequence of this is your brain tries to wake you up, and you receive a surge of adrenaline, a stress hormone, which puts your heart and cardiovascular system under stress.
Why Is Snoring Dangerous For OSA?
Sleep apnea is categorised as one of the sleep disorders because it causes sleep deprivation. We know that sleep is necessary to think clearly, manage stress properly and be productive. We also know that getting a certain amount of quality sleep is a prerequisite for your immune system to function normally and helps you to recover from disease and infection.
Research also indicates that people who suffer from sleep disorders and don’t get enough rest are more likely to suffer from mental health disorders. Sleep is an integral part of our ability to learn and remember clearly and sleep disorders can cause complications for your physical and mental health. Daytime fatigue can compromise your judgment and cause you to make dangerous errors that compromise your safety.
A study carried out on participants with sleep apnea found that treating OSA resulted in improvements in high blood pressure, particularly at night.
Is Snoring Dangerous: Treating A Snoring Disorder
The primary goal of snoring treatment is to open up the airways, reduce the potential for harm and improve the quality of your sleep. There are a few different ways this can be done.
Mandibular advancement splints
Patients with OSA often grind their teeth at night as well, which can cause damage to your teeth and affect the mobility of your temporomandibular joint in your jaw.
Teeth grinding is an automatic body response to open your blocked airway, but it can cause damage. Wearing a mandibular splint has been found to be effective at treating the snoring disorder as well as preventing further damage to teeth.
A mandibular advancement splint works in a similar way to a mouth guard. It is worn at night when you sleep, and its purpose is to keep your jaw open and pushed forward in order to keep your airway open.
CPAP, or continuous positive airflow pressure, is a machine that feeds air into your airway to stop it from collapsing. The air is delivered via a mask that you wear over your nose and mouth while you sleep.
Because a snoring disorder can occur as a result of various factors, you may find some relief by making small lifestyle changes, including
If you are carrying excess weight, losing weight can benefit your sleep, body, and mind.
Making dietary changes
Quitting dairy products, which are mucus-producing, can help to reduce nasal congestion. Quitting alcohol and caffeine may also help with snoring.
Review your medications
Certain medications can cause you to snore. Antihistamines, sleeping tablets, and tranquilisers are all associated with snoring. Speak to your general practitioner about reviewing your medications or consider changing the schedule for when you take them.
Change your sleep position
If you sleep on your back, your tongue is more likely to fall backward and block your airway. Instead, try sleeping on your side to reduce the number of apneic episodes in the evening. You may also want to try elevating your bed or raising the level of your head by using a couple of pillows.
So, Is Snoring Dangerous?
If snoring is occasional and can be attributed to lifestyle habits, it is generally not considered dangerous. When it is a symptom of OSA, however, you are at risk of harmful health conditions ad should consider treatment. If your snoring is very loud and you are experiencing daytime fatigue, it is advisable to seek treatment.
For help with snoring and to get a better night’s rest, please contact us for an appointment:
Footscray: (03) 9068 5357
Niddrie: (03) 9068 5316
Caulfield North: (03) 9068 5355
Sleep Disorders and Snoring Treatment
Why Do People Snore? Answers for Better Health