Snoring happens when something is interfering with your breathing during sleep, and it may surprise you to know that even though it is relatively common it can be a sign of a more serious problem. This is particularly true if your snoring is accompanied by daytime sleepiness, as it could signal the presence of sleep apnoea. Let’s have a look at some of the possible ways to stop snoring and protect your health.
What Causes Snoring?
Some people snore all the time while others may have it brought on because of different factors such as
- Drinking alcohol
- Using sedatives, especially some sleeping tablets
- Being obese or overweight
- Having a temporary cold, allergies or a sinus problem
- Sleeping position – for example, sleeping on your back
- During pregnancy
- In children snoring can be caused by swollen tonsils
- Your age also lays a role, because your throat muscle tone decreases as you get older, and your throat also becomes narrower.
While some people simply accept snoring as a fact of life, disturbances to their bed partner’s quality of sleep, as well as the effects of fatigue, can indicate that something needs to be done.
Is Your Snoring Caused By Sleep Apnoea?
If your snoring disturbs your bed partner, and is also accompanied by a few other symptoms, such as daytime sleepiness and fatigue, it could indicate the presence of a more severe health problem called sleep apnoea. Obstructive sleep apnoea is a serious condition because during these episodes you actually stop breathing for short intervals, as your airways become restricted during sleep.
This constant interruption to your breathing actually rouses you from sleep, which is what creates the poor sleep quality, leading to tiredness. In addition to causing fatigue, it also is responsible for more severe symptoms such as problems with concentration and memory, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes and even heart attacks. It can cause you to fall asleep at inappropriate times, and has even been known to lead to motor vehicle accidents.
Why Do You Snore?
Understanding the causes of your snoring problems can help a professional to adopt the correct ways to stop snoring for you. When you snore, the muscles in your airways become relaxed – but when they are too relaxed (either in your throat or your nose) they can close up, restricting the amount of available space for air to pass through.
The sound that is made is the sound of the muscles vibrating or shuddering as air passes through.
If your airway is completely blocked, it can cause gasping or coughing, reactions which are likely to wake you up.
Sometimes you may not even be aware of the number of times your snoring has woken you up during the night, but tiredness, memory loss and other health concerns will take their toll.
Ways To Stop Snoring
Managing your bedtime routine more effectively can help you to prevent snoring and get a better night’s sleep. You may need to try a combination of different ways to stop snoring before you are successful.
Don’t Drink Alcohol Or Take Sedatives Before Bedtime
These substances can cause the muscles in your throat to relax more than usual, resulting in snoring. If you have been given sleeping tablets by your doctor, chat to your general practitioner and find out if they are causing snoring, as some sedatives actually promote a deeper sleep state. If you do drink alcohol, don’t have any for at least four hours before bed, and this could help prevent snoring later on.
If you are overweight or obese losing some weight will benefit you in many different areas of your life, including snoring.
Adopting an exercise plan has a multitude of benefits and, even if it doesn’t help you to lose weight, it may assist you to prevent snoring simply through increasing your muscle tone in your throat. Stronger throat muscles are less likely to collapse and vibrate, which may help you to stop snoring.
Change Your Sleep Position
It’s a known fact that sleeping on your back can actually encourage snoring, but sleeping on your side could make an improvement.
Clear Your Sinuses
If breathing is difficult because your nose is blocked it’s a good idea to clear your nasal passages before you lie down to sleep. A saline rinse can clear your nose if it is blocked because of a cold, and addressing dust mites and allergens in your home can make a big difference if the irritation is caused by allergies.
Adapting your diet to exclude mucus-forming foods like dairy products and chocolate, especially before bedtime may also help keep your sinuses clear when you sleep.
Keep The Air In Your Bedroom Moist
Dry air can cause irritation in your nasal passages. If necessary, use a humidifier in your bedroom to help ease your breathing.
Use An Anti-snoring Device
An anti-snoring device or snoring aid can force you to keep your mouth open while you sleep, by either pushing the lower jaw or the tongue forward. Anti-snoring devices are particularly useful to prevent snoring if yours is caused by obstructive sleep apnoea. They look similar to athletic mouthguards but are custom made for your mouth.
Some patients benefit from using a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device at night while they sleep. This is a device that blows a continuous flow of air into your air passages, through a mask.
If anti-snoring devices do not help you, you may need to consider a surgical intervention, either by adjusting your soft palate or shortening your uvula, so it does not close your airways up.
Snoring could be a sign of a more serious health condition that needs professional assistance. Please contact us for help with ways to stop snoring as soon as possible.