Snoring is a common problem that prevents us from getting a restful night's sleep. It is not only disruptive to our quality of sleep, but it may also point to problems with our respiratory system. In certain circumstances, it might also affect the quality of sleep that our family gets. Snoring can potentially cause a condition called sleep apnea in extreme circumstances.
What are some reasons behind snoring?
Snoring occurs when the soft tissues in the upper airway and the throat relax during sleep, which results in a narrow airway and obstructs the flow of air. This relaxation can be heard as a rattling sound. The sound of snoring is produced by the relaxed tissues vibrating and causing sound waves. The snoring would be even louder if the obstruction of the airways was more severe. It is possible that sleep apnea will develop if the condition is not treated.
What kind of people are more likely to have a snoring problem?
Individuals who have the following characteristics are more likely to snore than others1,2:
- A swollen tongue or nasal turbinate
- Long nasal polyps
- Sensitive nose
Since snoring typically happens when a person is in a deep slumber, it may be difficult for them to realize that they are making that sound. It is critical to make people who snore aware of their situation so they can take corrective measures in a timely manner.
Here are five things that can help cut down on your nighttime snoring:
1. Adjust your sleeping position for the better
Snoring can be effectively treated by switching to a position that allows for less obstruction of the airway, such as sleeping on your side. When sleeping on your side, you might also try using a pillow designed to prevent snoring, or you could put a tennis ball or another object of a comparable size behind your back instead of a pillow. This causes discomfort if you roll onto your back while sleeping, which encourages resting on one's side instead of their stomach.
2. Reduce your weight
Snoring can be caused by a number of factors, one of which is obesity. Being overweight can cause excess fat to strain on your throat, which can make it difficult for you to breathe3. Snoring can be alleviated to some degree by maintaining a healthy weight through careful dietary management and consistent physical activity.
3. Before going to sleep, make sure that your nasal passages are clear
Keeping your nasal passages free is another method that can help you cut down on your snoring. If you suffer from nasal congestion, you might want to try washing your nose with some saline solution before going to bed to avoid mucus from obstructing your airway while you are sleeping3.
4. Reduce your usage of alcoholic beverages and smoking.
Snoring can be reduced in some people by avoiding smoking and drinking in the hours leading up to bedtime. These activities might produce swelling in the throat3, which can make it difficult to breathe properly.
5. Employ suitable sleep aids
Discover the anti-snoring remedies that are accessible on the market that are most appropriate for your body. The following are a few instances of such aids as well as their respective uses.
|Function of aid
Stabilises the tongue position during sleep, preventing it from slipping and blocking your breathing.
Nasal sprays and nasal strips
Moisturises the airways, reduces nasal congestion, allowing air to smoothly enter the nasal cavity.
Closes your mouth when you sleep to help correct the habit of mouth breathing during sleep, encouraging nose breathing instead.
How does snoring affect your health?
Besides reducing sleep quality, snoring can also affect one’s work and mental efficiency. If it is left untreated for a long period, the risk of developing sleep apnea increases. Suffering from sleep apnea increases the risk of developing fatal chronic diseases such as heart diseases, stroke and hypertension3. The negative effect of snoring is not only a problem for adults, but also for children. Snoring is not just a challenge for adults, the problem of children snoring cannot be ignored. According to research done in Hong Kong, children who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea are 2.5 times more likely to develop cerebrovascular and cardiovascular diseases in adulthood.
Does snoring always lead to sleep apnea?
Not all snoring causes sleep apnea. To find out if you are at risk of developing sleep apnea, you can get your family members to pay attention to your snoring patterns. Some snoring patterns include a sudden quietness followed by a continuation of snoring after a while. Additionally, people suffering from sleep apnea have the habit of breathing through their mouths while sleeping, and their breathing may pause intermittently many times each hour, with each pause lasting for tens of seconds. They could also experience symptoms such as headache, daytime sleepiness, and memory impairment when they wake up2.