Despite being considered a social problem, snoring can lead to or indicate the presence of a more serious underlying health condition, and should be addressed as soon as possible. The snoring treatment that is best for you depends very much on what causes your snoring. What is most important is that you do treat your snoring, so that you can stop snoring, improve your quality of sleep and reduce your risk of developing more serious health complications. Let’s take a look at the potential causes of snoring and what snoring treatments you can use to manage it.
What Causes Snoring?
Snoring is relatively common, affecting more males than females. It is also more common in older men and those who are overweight. Snoring takes place when air cannot be moved through the throat and nose, causing vibration of the tissues. Narrowing of your airways causes the snoring to get louder.
Possible causes of snoring include:
- Breathing through the mouth is more likely to result in snoring.
- People who are overweight are more susceptible to snoring.
- People who use drugs, alcohol and smoke are more likely to snore.
- Nasal and sinus congestion caused by infection, colds or allergies.
Why Snoring Should Be Taken Seriously
Avoid serious medical complications
People who snore experience reduced quality of sleep (as do their bed partners). In time this can lead to an increase in the likelihood of developing more serious medical conditions like heart attacks, and strokes. It also causes you to feel unrested, moody and depressed, and statistically at greater risk of having a workplace or motor vehicle accident.
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA)
Furthermore snoring is a very common symptom of a more serious sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnoea. As we age our airways become narrower, making us more susceptible to sleep apnoea, which causes the person in question to stop breathing for short intervals, but this can happen multiple times throughout the night, putting you at a great deal of risk. It also leads to the person gasping for breath, causing him or her to awaken. If you have sleep apnoea you can wake up multiple times during the night, interrupting your sleep.
OSA causes the tongue to fall back and cause an obstruction in the airway, resulting in reduced levels of oxygen in your blood.
Sufferers of OSA are more likely to experience co-existing health conditions such as
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart attack
Sleep apnea sufferers are also more likely to grind and potentially cause damage to their teeth, and also experience TMJ disorders.
Maintain a good relationship with your bed partner
So far the points we have made have related to the quality of life of the person who is experiencing the snoring but very often your bed partner may experience similar interruptions in their quality of sleep during the night. In addition to the personal disadvantages it may cause, it is also possible that it could interfere with your relationship and cause undue stress.
What Snoring Treatment Options Are Available to Stop Snoring?
Using dental splints and oral appliances
Dental splints or oral appliances like the Mandibular Advancement Splint are the most effective way to keep the airways open at night, and to assist with breathing without snoring during sleep. They function and are worn like mouthguards and physically hold your airways open while you sleep to help prevent snoring. They keep your jaw open and stop your tongue from falling back in your mouth when you are asleep.
Make positive lifestyle changes to stop snoring
In addition to using a dental device or oral appliance it is quite likely that you will need to make some lifestyle modifications which may include
- Sleeping on your side rather than flat on your back
- Elevating your head and neck using a supportive pillow
- Abstaining from alcohol consumption, sleep medication or drug use in the four to six hours before going to bed
- Quitting smoking
- Getting more exercise and becoming more active during, and losing any extra weight you might be carrying.
Get more sleep
It may sound obvious but if you are run down, overworked or stressed out, you should try to address the root cause. If you are overtired and going to bed exhausted you will sleep deeper which can cause the muscles in your throat to relax too much, resulting in snoring. Snoring reduces your quality and amount of sleep, and it can become a vicious cycle that is difficult to break.
Change your pillows or get a new mattress
Believe it or not the allergens around you could be irritating your sinuses. Dust mites that collect in pillows and mattresses can cause allergic reactions that result in snoring. Also, allowing your pets to sleep on your bed or in your bedroom could expose you to more irritants. You can also spring clean your bedroom to ensure it is dust- and irritant-free.
Drink more water
In as much as you should reduce or stop your alcohol intake, staying hydrated plays a major role in keeping your secretions clear and clean. The best thing you can drink is water. Make sure you drink enough for your body weight. If you have blocked or congested sinuses you should look at ways to manage unblocking your airways before bed every evening.
Would you like to find out more about your snoring treatment options, and how you can modify your lifestyle to improve your quality of life and manage your risk of health complications? Please contact us.