All About Snoring!
Loud and frequent snoring can be more than just a nuisance to your partner. Snoring may indicate a serious health condition.
Snoring is more common than people may think. More than one-third of adults snore. Snoring occurs when air flows past relaxed tissues in your throat, causing the tissues to vibrate as you breathe.
Lifestyle changes, such as losing weight or sleeping on your side, can help stop snoring.
There are options available to help in the reduction of disruptive snoring. Surgery is available that may reduce disruptive snoring with a procedure call the Pillar Procedure. With the Pillar Procedure, a doctor inserts three tiny implants into the muscle of the soft palate. The body’s natural fibrotic response to these implants causes tissue to grow into and around the implants over the course of 8 to 12 weeks. However, surgery isn’t suitable for everyone who snores. People who may have moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnea, which is a potentially serious disorder characterized by episodes of loud snoring followed by periods of silence when breathing briefly stops, aren’t always good candidates for surgery.
As you begin to sleep and progress from a lighter slumber to a deep sleep, the muscles in the roof of your mouth (soft palate), tongue and throat relax. If the tissues in your throat relax enough, they vibrate and may partially obstruct your airway.
The more narrowed your airway gets, the more forceful the airflow becomes. The tissue vibration increases, and your snoring may grow louder.
What contributes to snoring?
A variety of factors can lead to snoring, including:
- Your mouth anatomy. Having a low, thick soft palate or enlarged tonsils or tissues in the back of your throat (adenoids) can narrow your airway. If the uvula tissue hanging from the soft palate is elongated, airflow can be obstructed and the vibration is increased. Being overweight also contributes to the narrowing of your airway.
- Alcohol consumption. Alcohol acts as a sedative. It relaxes the throat muscles. So consuming alcohol before bedtime may increase your snore output.
- Nasal problems. Chronic nasal congestion or a deviated nasal septum may be to blame.
- Sleep apnea. Snoring may also be associated with obstructive sleep apnea. In this serious condition, your throat tissues obstruct your airway, preventing you from breathing. Sleep apnea is characterized by loud snoring followed by periods of silence that can last 10 seconds or more. The lack of oxygen and an increase in carbon dioxide signal you to wake up. These awakenings are usually not characterized by full arousals where you are aware that you have woken up. But your body is reacting to these changes forcing your airway open with a loud snort or gasping sound. This pattern may be repeated many times during the night.
When to seek medical advice
You may not realize that you snore. Often, you are informed of this problem by a relative or bed partner. Seeking medical advice about your snoring can be beneficial to you and your bed partner. Even though snoring may not bother you, it can be an indication of another health concern, such as obstructive sleep apnea, nasal obstruction or obesity. For your partner it may result in being able to get a restful night of sleep.
If your child snores, seek your pediatrician advice regarding this problem. In some cases children can also have obstructive sleep apnea. Though most children do not have this condition. It could be that your child may have nose and throat problems, such as enlarged tonsils or adenoids. Obesity may also contribute to habitual snoring in children. Treating these conditions may help your child get a better night sleep.