Snoring is a condition whereby a person makes a course, rumbling sound whilst sleeping.
The condition can be known or unknown to the individual, meaning that the individual may or may not be aware that he or she snores.
In such a scenario a tape or phone recorder should be used to obtain evidence as it is often hard to believe that one snores.
Snoring occurs mostly when there is blockage or obstruction in the nasal region causing one to breathe through their mouths and minimal air to pass through the nostrils.
When ones tissues at the back of the throat become swollen or relaxed, they move closer to one anther. When air moves past this space (inhaling or exhaling), it is compacted into a smaller area causing the tissues to vibrate and a rumbling sound to occur. This can start from the tip of the nose and carry on into the vocal cords. Snoring takes place when the upper throat meets the soft palate or uvula, the meeting of the organs causes the snore or snoring to be heard.
The obstruction or restriction occurs most often at night, due to our horizontal sleeping position.
Snoring can be influence by many things:
- Insufficient muscle tone in the muscles used to keep the passages and tissues open as well as loss of muscle tone in the tongue and throat result in these tissues coming closer to one anther and vibrating. When one is awake he or she has excellent muscle tone and that is why you will not find someone snoring when they are awake.
- The tongues position in the mouth during sleep can also cause snoring.
When confronted with the condition of snoring try identifying the underlying causes of your snoring as this will help identify if any treatment or different sleeping pattern can be followed to ensure not only you, but also your partner achieves an uninterrupted nights sleep.
What causes someone to snore?
- When one sleeps supine (on their back) or consumes alcohol before going to bed, it causes the tongue and throat muscles to relax. This can case the snoring condition to worsen as the alcohol acts as a depressant causing more relaxation than normal.
- Having asthma may result in snoring.
- Men are more likely to suffer with snoring than women due to narrower air passages.
- When suffering from allergies and other sinus related conditions, prescriptions drugs and anti histamines often cause more complications rather than relief as these can relax the throat and tongue muscles. During an allergy attack, the tonsils and back of the throat may also swell leading to snoring.
- Colds and flu also cause increased mucus production and can therefore also lead to snoring.
- Nasal polyps often obstruct air movement resulting in a person having to breathe through their mouths.
- As one ages, they tend loose overall muscle tone. This loss of muscle tone can lead to snoring.
- Another cause of snoring is an individual’s diet and food intake.
Snoring may get worse and be more severe in overweight individuals. This is because fatty tissues surround the neck and throat area of an overweight individual, which creates pressure on their air waves through which a person inhales or exhales.
It is therefore important to follow a well balanced diet with lots of exercise and water to keep the body healthy and remove any unwanted toxins.
- During pregnancy ones hormones fluctuate and increased mucus is usually produced. It is for this reason as well as the increased weight one gains during pregnancy that snoring can occur.
- Sleeping on ones back can make snoring worse.
- Smoking cigarettes or continually inhaling second hand smoke can lead to snoring.
Does snoring cause any complications?
- It has been mentioned that snoring can lead to strokes and heart attacks.
- Sleep apnea, a condition whereby a person stops breathing during sleep may occur. The person is usually unaware that they have woken up numerous times during the night and as a result often feels very tired the next morning.
- Loss of muscle tone in the throat, palate and uvula area may be experienced after years of snoring.
Treatment for Snoring
- Snoring can only be treated if the underlying cause of the condition has been found.
- Lying on your side, having alcohol and medications in moderations will aid the individual in reducing his or her level of snoring.
- Should snoring become over bearable for either yourself or your partner, a qualified medical practitioner or physician should be consulted in a bid to try identifying the underlying cause of this condition.
- Nasal strip can be used to help stop snoring.
- Surgery (removal of tonsils or removal of some of the surrounding throat, uvula or adenoid tissue) for snoring can also be considered but the cost and procedure involved can result in many complications.
After surgery, the nasal area will be cleared of any obstruction causing the snoring; however most surgeries do not come with any guarantee that they will effectively treat the condition permanently.
- Devises to keep the mouth closed during sleep, special support pillow or beds have been designed as alternative treatments to help with snoring.