Snoring is a problem and source of embarrassment for millions of Americans. It is extremely common, with over 35 million people across the country suffering from the chronic form. Even more people suffer from mild or occasional episodes.
It can cause loss of sleep, fatigue, mood swings and productivity issues at work and school. Snoring may cause the partner of a snorer to lose up to an hour or more of sleep every night. It can even be a contributing factor to clinical depression.
Many people who have this problem don’t feel as though there is anything they can do about it, and continue to suffer with the problem. The first step to finding relief from snoring is to understand what causes the condition.
The Cause of Snoring
It may be ironic that snoring is caused by the body’s relaxation during sleep. As your throat muscles relax, tissue can move across your upper airway and vibrate. The resulting noise is snoring.
Sleep apnea, wherein the body intermittently stops breathing for brief periods during the night, can also be a cause of snoring. A sufferer may need a machine to ensure they are able to breathe consistently through the night.
Depending on how loose the tissue is or how much excess tissue you have, the snoring can vary in intensity. Some people snore very quietly; for others it’s exceptionally loud. Sometimes, the snoring is constant and unceasing; for others it is interrupted by periods of relative normal breathing.
Treatment for Snoring
For some people with minor snoring issues, prescription and over-the-counter procedures are available that might work. Breathing strips and nasal sprays can be possible short term solutions for these minor cases.
If the snoring is caused by the tongue obstructing the airway, there are oral appliances and mouthpieces that can be used to help the problem. These appliances rest in the mouth and make sure that the tongue does not fall backwards so that the airway remains open during sleep.
There are also changes you can make in your health and fitness routine that can lessen the condition. For example, if you are overweight, dropping a few pounds can help to alleviate the condition. Sleeping on your side is also a common means of reducing snoring, as is quitting smoking and avoiding alcohol and sleep aids.
For those with more chronic conditions, a trip to the doctor’s office may be in order. The doctor can examine your air passages to determine where there may be blockage or loose and excess tissue. The doctor can then develop a plan to treat the condition involving lifestyle changes and office procedures. These treatments include the pillar procedure, which uses small polyester inserts that help to add structure, support and strength to the soft palate. This procedure is safe and minimally-invasive, and can help with both snoring and sleep apnea.
If you or your partner suffer from snoring, it’s important to address the problem quickly. Snoring can cause or be a symptom of serious ailments, and stopping the rumbling in the night will lead to a much happier, healthier lifestyle.