By Medicover Hospitals / 12 Jan 2021
General snoring is not an unusual phenomenon in adults. Around 40% of men and around 30% of women snore occasionally, and around 15% of the total population snores more frequently during the week. There is a scale of magnitude: at one end of the spectrum is simple snoring, at the other, snoring is a sign of sleep apnea.
- What is Snoring?
- When to visit a Doctor?
- Home Remedies
What is Snoring?
Snoring is the unconscious reverberating sound that occurs when the muscles of the mouth and throat relax during sleep and restrict the airways. It shows sleep breathing disorders and can alter the quality of a person's sleep.
This vibrates the surrounding tissues, creating a familiar stench. People who snore also have too much nasal and throat tissue or "flabby" tissue that is more resistant to vibration. The position of the tongue will also inhibit smooth breathing.
Certain lifestyle changes can decrease snoring. However, certain people may need medical attention if their snoring is because of a sleep condition. If you are concerned about frequent snoring, see your doctor.
- You only snore with an open mouth
- Sleep on your back or the side
- Your nasal breathing is impaired even while awake
- Your snoring is like a loud whistle or grunt sound
- Results in dry mouth, bad breath, and headaches
- You only snore while sleeping on your back
- May have an enormous tongue
- Snoring characterized by inconsistent high-pitched sounds
- You snore no matter what sleeping position you are in
- Daytime signs: morning headaches, daytime sleepiness, lack of concentration at work
- Nighttime signs: loud snoring difficulties in breathing during sleep, waking up with dry mouth, frequent visits to the bathroom
Snoring happens as the air passes into the mouth, and the nose is blocked. Many factors can daily interfere with airflow, including:
Nasal airway blocked:
Some people only snore during an allergy season or when they have a sinus infection. Problems in the nose, such as a deviated septum (when the wall separating one nostril from the other is off-center) or nasal polyps, can also block the airways.
Weak sound of muscle in the throat and tongue:
The throat and tongue muscles may be too relaxed, allowing them to collapse into the airways.
Bulky throat tissue:
Being overweight can cause this. Some kids have big tonsils and adenoids that make them snore.
Long soft palate and / or uvula:
A long soft palate or a long uvula (the tissue that hangs down at the back of the mouth) can narrow the opening from the nose to the throat. When you breathe, this causes them to vibrate and collide with each other, and your airways become blocked.
Consumption of alcohol and drugs:
Drinking alcohol or taking muscle relaxants can help your tongue and throat muscles relax too much.
Sleeping on your back can make you snore.
Lack of sleep:
Your throat muscles can relax too much if you don't get enough sleep.
A physical exam can help your doctor determine if your snoring is related to abnormalities in your mouth. Sometimes, this physical exam is all that needed for a correct diagnosis and proper treatment, especially if your snoring is mild. Your doctor will also ask about your medical history and do a physical exam to look for things that can block your airways, such as a deviated septum or swollen tonsils. They may also do some tests:
Imaging tests: An x-ray, MRI, or CT scan can detect problems in the airways.
Sleep study: You may need to have a machine monitor your sleep while you are at home or spend the night in a laboratory for a test called a polysomnogram. It monitors factors like the pulse rate, breathing, and brain function as you sleep. This requires you to spend the night in a clinic or sleep center with sensors on your head and other parts of your body to record:
- your heart rate
- your respiratory rate
- blood oxygen levels
- the movements of your legs
- brain waves
- stage of sleep
Treatment is going to depend on the source of the snoring. The AAO does not recommend OTC snoring devices because they do not address the source of the problem. Common professional treatments include:
- Lifestyle changes: Your doctor may tell you to lose weight or stop drinking alcohol before going to bed.
- Mouth braces: Wear a small plastic device in your mouth while you sleep. Keeps the airway open by moving the jaw or tongue.
- Surgery: There are many types of treatments that may effectively avoid snoring. Your doctor may remove or shrink the tissues in your throat or make your soft palate stiffer.
- CPAP: A continuous positive airway pressure machine treats sleep apnea and may reduce snoring by blowing air into the airway while you sleep.
What are the complications of snoring?
Frequent snoring increases your chances of experiencing:
- drowsiness during the day
- difficulty concentrating
- vehicle accidents because of drowsiness
- hypertension or high blood pressure
- heart disease
- relationship conflict
- Serious medical conditions are more likely to occur with OSA than with snoring alone
When to visit a Doctor?
Loud snoring and sleep apnea can interrupt sleep and lead to fatigue and trouble concentrating. A physician or dental surgeon may help identify the root causes and recommend ways to avoid or minimize snoring. Here are some general signs that it's time to book an appointment.
- Very loud snoring can be heard in the next room
- Continually gasping or choking in bed
- Ongoing insomnia
- A chronic feeling of tiredness every day
- Considerable mood swings because of daily fatigue
- Waking up at unusual times
- Waking up suddenly with a dry throat often
- Experiencing pain that prevents you from sleeping
Health Risks Associated With Snoring:
Snoring can pose serious risks to you or the health of your loved ones, leading to:
- Direct Blood Oxygen Levels: Normal blood oxygen levels should be between 94% to 98%. But snoring for 30 seconds or more can lower it to 80% or less. This is dangerous for the body and requires immediate attention.
- Heart disease: Snoring leads to cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure. Snorers are more likely to get heart disease or heart attacks. People are also at risk of developing an irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) because of snoring.
- Strokes: The intensity of your snoring can narrow the arteries in your neck because of fat deposits, increasing your chances of having a stroke.
- Accidents: Lack of concentration during the day is one of the harmful effects of snoring, causing drowsiness during the day. This can take your mind off your activities, including driving, paving the way for traffic accidents.
- Mental Health Concerns: Irritability and mood swings caused by snoring can lead to mild anxiety and depression, leading to mental health problems.
Lose Weight If You Are Overweight You can lose weight by reducing your overall caloric intake by eating smaller portions and healthier foods. Work out on a daily basis.
- Sleep on your side: Sleeping on your side could be all you need to do to allow air to circulate freely and minimize or avoid snoring.
- Raise the head of your bed: Raising the head of the bed four inches can help reduce snoring by keeping the airway open.
- Limit or avoid alcohol before bedtime: Try not to consume alcohol for at least two hours before going to bed. Alcohol can relax your throat muscles and cause snoring.
- Avoid taking sedatives before bedtime: When you snore and take sedatives, speak to the doctor about your options. Stopping using sedatives before bed can ease your snoring.
- Stop smoking: Smoking is an unhealthy habit that can make snoring worse. Talk to your doctor about therapies like gum or patches that can help you quit smoking.
- Get enough sleep: Make sure you get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep you need every night.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Dehydration leads to thick mucus in the mouth and throat, which can cause the internal surfaces to stick together and make snoring worse or worse.
Snoring is often known to be bad because it can interrupt sleep and lead to a variety of unpleasant symptoms, such as sleepiness during the day, attention issues, and an increased risk of car crashes.
Almost everyone snores occasionally, and it is usually not something to worry about. Snoring happens when you are unable to pass air easily across your nose and throat during sleep.
Europe PMC - https://europepmc.org/article/med/50200
SAGE magazines - https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.2500/ajr.2007.21.3087
Springer Link - https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11325-014-0979-8