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Snoring

Snoring

Snoring

Snoring is a common sleep-related problem due to noisy breathing during sleep. This is usually caused by the vibration of soft tissues in your upper airway and throat. Though occasional snoring is common without much harm, chronic snoring can be an indication of underlying health problem disrupting sleep patterns for the snorer and their sleep partner. Knowing the causes, consequences, and available treatment options for snoring is necessary to improve sleep quality and overall well-being.

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Causes of Snoring

Snoring may happen due to several factors, including:

  • Obstructed Airways: When the airflow through the nose and mouth gets partially blocked, it may cause snoring. This obstruction can occur due to some factors such as adenoids, deviated septum or enlarged tonsils.
  • Relaxation of muscles: During sleep, the muscles in the tongue and throat naturally relax. In some cases, excessive relaxation of these muscles can be the reason for snoring.
  • Positional factors: Sleeping positions such as sleeping on one's back, can increase the chances of snoring as it causes tongue and soft palate to collapse at the back of throat.
  • Age: Snoring is common with age as the throat muscles seem to lose elasticity and tone.
  • Obesity: Excess weight, particularly around the neck, might put pressure on the airway and increase the risk of snoring.
  • Alcohol and Sedatives: Taking alcohol or sedatives before going to bed can give relaxation to the throat muscles which cause snoring.

Consequences of Snoring

Chronic snoring can have negative consequences which include the following:

  • Sleep Disruption: Snoring might disrupt sleep of the snorer and their sleep partner, causing fatigue and daytime sleepiness.
  • Relationship Strain: Loud snoring might strain relationships when a sleep partner cannot have a good night's sleep due to noise.
  • Health Risks: Snoring can be a sign of serious condition called sleep apnea. This is somewhat related to increased risk of cardiovascular problems and other health issues.

Treatment for Snoring

The treatment options for snoring are based on the severity and underlying causes and include:

  • Change in lifestyle: Changing lifestyle habits such as reducing weight, avoiding sedatives and alcohol before bedtime and sleeping on one's side can lessen snoring.
  • Positional Therapy: Special devices or pillows can encourage sleeping in positions that decrease snoring.
  • Oral Appliances: Dentists provide customised oral devices that help with tongue and jaw repositioning to keep airways open.
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP): CPAP machines are used to treat sleep apnea and are effective in decreasing snoring. It can deliver constant stream of air pressure to keep airways open.
  • Surgery: You need to perform surgical procedures to detect underlying issues in cases of anatomical abnormalities or severe obstruction.

Prevention

To prevent or reduce snoring, individuals need to consider these things:

  • Have a healthy weight with proper diet and exercise.
  • Sleep on one's side than on the back.
  • Do not take alcohol and sedatives before going to bed.
  • Maintain good sleep hygiene practices.
  • Use a humidifier in the bedroom to keep moist air.

Speak with a dental professional when there is disruptive or persistent snoring to rule out underlying sleep disorders and know the most suitable treatment options.

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