According to the National Sleep Foundation, snoring is “noisy breathing during sleep.” Snoring is a common problem among people of different ages. The condition also affects both genders. This may not be a known fact but snoring is more common than people think. In fact, in the United States alone, the condition affects a staggering 90 million people.
Snoring can occur intermittently. However, in some cases, it can also occur nightly. In severe cases, the condition can cause significant disruptions to the individual’s sleep and that of their bed partners. Oftentimes, snoring can also cause fragmented and unrefreshing sleep which often translates to poor function during daytime (fatigue and sleepiness).
Just like there are various ways on how to stop snoring, there are also several key factors that facilitate the development of the condition. Case in point: the ageing process may result in the relaxation of the throat muscles which can then result to snoring.
Nasal polyps, enlarged tonsils or adenoids, deviated nasal septum and other similar anatomical abnormalities of both the nose and throat may also lead to exaggerated narrowing of the throat during sleep. This can also lead to snoring.
Inflammation of the nose or throat, respiratory infection, and other functional abnormalities may also result to snoring. In addition, certain sleeping positions like sleeping on the back may also lead to the development of the condition.
Those who snore often make a vibrating, noisy, and rattling sound while asleep. Oftentimes, this may also be a symptom of another sleep condition called sleep apnea. Those who snore heavily and exhibit some of the most prevalent symptoms below should consider giving their doctors a visit:
- Recent weight gain
- Waking up and night and feeling confused
- Morning headaches
- Excessive sleepiness during daytime
- Obvious breathing pauses during sleep
- Significant change in the level of memory, attention, or concentration
Those who are looking for ways to treat snoring would be delighted to know there are several options available at their disposal.
Lifestyle modification. Lifestyle modification can include sleep position training (when applicable), treatment of allergies (when applicable), avoidance of risk factors, etc.
Appliances. Oral appliances created by dentists such as nasal dilators may also be used to treat the condition. Some of the oral appliances that may be recommended include:
- Mandibular Advancement Devices (MAD)
Deemed an effective treatment alternative for sleep apnea, this device is worn by the patient during sleep. This oral appliance works like a sports mouth guard or orthodontic retainer.
- Tongue Retaining Devices
Tongue retainers can also be a treatment option for those with sleep apnea. Basically, a tongue retainer is a splint that holds the tongue forward so it won’t fall backwards into the throat when the muscles relax during sleep.
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
A continuous positive airway pressure appliance (CPAP) works by blowing room air into the back of the throat. This is done to prevent the throat from collapsing. This device is also the treatment of choice for many people with sleep apnea.
Surgery. Surgery to treat snoring is often done one the back of the throat and the roof of the mouth. When needed, it can also be done on the nose. Various instruments like scalpel, laser, and microwaves may be used.