EAR, NOSE & THROAT
If you are a person that snores, do not despair, you are just one of the 90 million. Snoring is a common issue for most people. Snoring is one problem that affects those around you more than it affects you. You may snore and have no idea. Snoring is more of a problem for those who sleep with you or near you. It is interesting how you may wake up refreshed and ready to start your day while your bed partner is fatigued because they didn’t get any sleep the night before. If you are the partner that is constantly doing the elbowing, you will be pleased to know snoring can be resolved. Snoring is usually not a serious problem unless it is a result of a sleep disorder known as sleep apnea.
Snoring is a result of a partial obstruction in your breathing. When the airways partially closed, due to either muscle relaxation in the throat or the tongue being in the way, the air that enters creates a vibration in those tissues and leads to those annoying sounds you recognize as snoring. Half of those 90 million people are considered “simple” or “primary snorers.” These people do not snore as loudly or as often. Snoring is something that happens every now and then. Maybe you only snore when you are exhausted or after a hard day. You would fit into the category of a simple snorer. Everyone else falls into the category of obstructive sleep apnea.
You may be the snorer that wakes up every morning with a sore rib. That may be a result of persistent, loud snoring. Routine snoring is a good indication you may have obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is a result of the airways either partially or totally closing during sleep. Obstructive sleep apnea is different from partial snoring because you will repeatedly stop breathing for nearly a minute during sleep. Lack of oxygen leads to symptoms such as excessive day sleepiness, lack of concentration, and heart palpitations. If the body is unable to get enough oxygen during the night, it will begin to affect you as a whole.
Why Do I Snore?
Some snoring may be a result of alcohol consumption or being overweight. Not drinking alcohol right before bed can clear up your snoring. Being overweight puts a lot of pressure on your airways especially when lying flat. Making diet changes and exercising will help you lose weight and can cure your snoring. Changing your sleep position is another way to help a primary or simple snorer. Instead of sleeping on your back where you are more likely to snore, you should try sleeping on your side. Sleeping on your side opens up the airways and helps prevent possible obstructions.
For primary snorers, treatment can be found at your nearest drug store. There are several different things to try. It is okay to try them all until you find what works best for you. One method is to use nasal strips. These strips open up your nasal passage and prevent obstruction. Nasal passage obstruction may be a result of a cold, therefore taking a hot bath before bed or using Vicks may be the best treatment. Keep your pillows clean. Washing your pillows and keeping them clean will decrease the allergens that could be a cause of your snoring.
A snoring mouthpiece or chinstrap are two different tools that help with snoring. If you play sports like football or basketball, you should be familiar with a mouthpiece. A mouthpiece in a sports game is used to protect your teeth. A mouthpiece for snoring is used to manipulate the jaw. It moves the jaw slightly forward to keep the airways open during the night. This minor movement creates more space in the throat and can prevent you from snoring completely. A chinstrap is similar to the mouthpiece. A chinstrap wraps around your head, and it keeps the jaw in place during the night. It helps align the jaw properly and prevents the soft palate in the mouth from vibrating which too may be the cause of snoring.
Treating Snoring and Related Sleep Disorders
Treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is a bit more involved. Obstructive sleep apnea is a chronic disorder. Most cases are resolved through a CPAP machine. The machine has a mask that is placed over your mouth and your nose. It blows air into the airways that keep them from closing. Surgery can also resolve obstructive sleep apnea. Inflammation of the tonsils and adenoids may obstruct air during sleep. Removal of these structures can solve the problem. Other problems like allergies and inflammation of the larynx or pharynx can be resolved through medication.
Snoring is nothing to be embarrassed about. It happens to the best of us. Your bed partner may be tired of it, but once you figure out what category you fall under, you can begin to solve the problem. Simple snoring is not a big deal and with one simple device, your problems can be resolved. Obstructive sleep apnea is a bit more serious. You will probably end up having to sleep with a CPAP machine for the rest of your life, but at least, you will not bother your partner anymore with your snoring. Don’t let snoring keep you or your partner awake. Take charge of the situation and enjoy a restful sleep again.
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