On your recent trip on a train did your co-passengers gave you an unwelcoming look in the morning? Do you realize that it is because, your snoring, that didn’t let them sleep peacefully? Your wife might have told you politely that you snore, but you ignored her, saying, it was because you were too tired or nasal congestion. But, now that you have realized that you are snoring regularly, it is time to fight it. The best way to deal with snoring is to know about it.
Read below to know all about snoring.
Cause of Snoring
Snoring is caused by the upper airway turbulence that leads to vibration of the uvula and soft palate. This occurs because of the muscles that keep the airways open become too relaxed or there is an accumulation of excess tissues that obstructs the airflow. Any substance or condition that promotes the muscle relaxation or build-up of fatty tissues can lead to snoring. Some of the activities that promote snoring are:
- Drinking alcohol
- Taking sedatives like cold medicines or sleeping pills
- Sleeping on the back
- Sleeping on a soft pillow
- Obesity and pregnancy
How to deal with snoring
If snoring occurs regularly, it can affect the quality and quantity of sleep. Prolonged snoring may lead to daytime fatigue, increased health issues, irritability, and poor daytime performance. If snoring is affecting your partner’s sleep, then it may create relationship issues. While sleeping in the next bedroom is a good solution, it is not a good idea for long term purposes.
No matter what is the cause of your snoring, there are long term solutions to deal with this problem. Consider the following tips on how to deal with snoring:
- Lose weight: Reducing even a small amount of fatty tissue in your throat may stop or decrease snoring. Obesity is a known contributor of snoring as weight gain around the neck squeeze the internal diameter in the throat that makes it collapse and cause the annoying and loud sounds. Therefore, weight loss is often recommended as a treatment to deal with snoring.
- Exercise: Exercising on a regular basis improves breathing patterns and reduces stress. It helps to tone your Abs, legs and arms and even the muscles at the back of your throat which will reduce the incidence of snoring. Gentler exercises such as walking or biking are recommended. Exercise can help you sleep easily and deeper, so it is a win-win situation.
- Quit Smoking: Those who smoke are also likely to snore. Smoking leads to blocked airways, thereby causing irritation to the membranes in the throat and nose. You might also be allergic to the ingredients present in the tobacco, which may contribute to snoring. Even taking in secondhand smoke can cause you to snore.
- Avoid sedatives, sleeping pills and alcohol: These three should be avoided, especially before your bedtime as they may cause the muscles of your throat to relax and therefore interfere with how you breathe. If you are on any medication, speak to your doctor about whether any of those medications are inducing you into deep sleep as this may make snoring worse.
- Establish regular bedtime/sleeping patterns: Stick to a bedtime each night. Make this a ritual between you and your spouse. Going to bed at the same time as a routine will give you a good night’s sleep and reduce the occurrence of snoring.
- Clear nasal passages: If snoring tends to commence in the nose, then opening up the nasal passages may help. As air tries to pass through the narrow nasal passages, it produces an effect that is similar to snoring. A stuffed up nose make it difficult to inhale and creates a vacuum effect in the throat, which contributes to snoring. Use a Neti-pot, nasal decongestant, or nasal strips to make breathing easier during sleep. You can also take a hot shower before hitting the sack. This will also open up the nasal passages. Use a salt water rinse while showering. Nasal strips work by lifting the nasal passage and opening it up.
- Sleep repositioning: Elevate the head by about four inches and enable your jaw and tongue to move forward. This may ease your breathing. There are specially created pillows designed to combat snoring. These works by ensuring that your neck muscles stay comfortable and not crimped.
- Change sleep position: Most snorers lie on their back. This makes the soft palate and the tongue collapse against the back of the throat, leading them to vibrate during sleep. By sleeping on your side, you can prevent this vibrating noise or snoring. Gravity is responsible for making the soft tissues and tongue fall back. You can also use a full-length body pillow which enables you to sleep on your side. Some people also tape a tennis ball onto the back of the pyjamas so that they are inhibited from sleeping on their backs. Reclining the bed upwards helps to open up nasal passages and airways.
- Stress therapy: Stress has a big impact on how you breathe. There are many stress management programs that teach breathing techniques which can help you develop new breathing patterns and also reduce stress. When this is combined with hypnotherapy, even the depression and anxiety factors which may contribute to the snoring can ameliorate. Sometimes aromatherapy may help to relax the mind and body and contribute to a better night’s sleep.
- Over-the-counter devices: Nasal sprays have homeopathic properties and vitamins which may be absorbed during snoring and can help to improve breathing. The other over-the-counter popular product is a nasal dilator which is often used by athletes to breathe easier and take in more oxygen. This is an adhesive which is taped onto the nose in order to open up nasal passages.
- Medications: There are many medical drugs you can take to treat the snoring, but a medical professional must be consulted before starting any of these. If you have diabetes or a heart condition, many of these medications may interact with your health condition.
If you have attempted all or some of the above mentioned tips, and are still affected by the side effects of snoring, then you should visit your doctor for an in depth evaluation. Snoring may be the symptom of a more serious underlying problem. If you are snoring more loudly than before and fall asleep during daylight hours, or if you choke, stop breathing, or gasp during sleep, or you fall asleep during meal times, then visit your doctor immediately.