Snoring is the occasional or chronic noise produced during sleep that happens when air flows through the throat causes tissues to vibrate during breathing. This noise can be disruptive to others near the sleeper and might be the sign of an actual health problem. Three possible solutions to snoring include losing weight, sleeping on your side, or not consuming alcohol near bedtime.
There are a number of factors that can cause snoring. When we sleep, the muscles of the throat and tongue relax. These muscles can be so relaxed that they block part of the airway and vibrate. The anatomy of a person’s mouth can increase their risk for becoming a snorer. People who are overweight have extra tissues in the back of their throats that can block the airway. A person might have an elongated uvula (the triangular piece of tissue that hangs from the roof of the mouth). Nasal congestion or having a deviated septum can lead to snoring. Sleeping on the back narrows the airway. Being sleep deprived and overly tired increases the risk for snoring. Finally, alcohol can actually relax the throat muscles causing their functioning to become impaired. Snoring can actually be hereditary, and men are at higher risk to be snorers.
For some snorers, the condition can be more serious and considered to be a sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Some of the tell-tale signs include having a soar throat upon wakening, gasping or chocking during the night, being very tired during the day, having chest pain at night, and overall having restless sleep at night. People with OSA usually experienced bouts of slow breathing during the night and even might stop breathing a few times. For diagnosis, a doctor might request an x-ray of the airway or refer the person to complete a sleep study. The person will stay at an overnight sleep center and perform a polysomnography. Information will be obtained regarding heart rate, eye and leg movement, brain waives, blood oxygen levels, and breathing rate. A doctor might then create a mouthpiece for the patient that keeps the airway passage open. The doctor might prescribe a continuous positive airway passage (CPAP) mask to wear which directs pressurized air to keep the airway passage open. Surgery is also an option to open up the airway.
Sleep should not be deprived for the sleeper or those in the same vicinity. Methods to try first include losing weight, sleeping on the side, limiting nighttime alcohol use, using nasal strips, raising the head about 4 inches up, treating nasal congestion and allergies. Getting enough sleep is also of importance. Sleep is associated with quite, relaxation, and peace, not noise and frustration. Be courteous to others and take the steps to lower the volume so that everyone can enjoy their head to pillow time at night.