Causes of snoring
The breathing of an awake person is usually silent. Why do some people breathe loudly in their sleep? The causes of snoring lie in the condition of the muscles and soft tissues of the upper respiratory tract, which in snorers during sleep relax so much that they significantly narrow the passage through which the inhaled and exhaled air flows. As a result, during inhalation and exhalation, the air that hardly makes its way causes the soft tissues of the throat and mouth to vibrate, which leads to hissing, whistling and wheezing sounds.
The presence of inflammatory processes or allergies, which are accompanied by swelling of the tissues, as well as defects in the anatomical structure of the nose and throat, which interfere with the free passage of air, contribute to the occurrence of snoring. This phenomenon is more often observed in older people, which is natural, since muscles weaken with age, their tone decreases, tissues lose their elasticity.
In addition to these causes of snoring, the following can also contribute to its occurrence:
- excess weight;
- overeating before bed, especially with alcohol;
- alcoholism and smoking, which usually cause chronic inflammation of the nasopharynx;
- muscle-relaxing drugs (for example, sleeping pills).
Symptoms needing attention
In most cases, snoring is not a health risk. But there are symptoms to watch out for. A constantly snoring person experiences oxygen starvation, which usually remains unnoticed and not realized by him. However, it has a destructive effect on the body. We are talking about respiratory arrest (apnea) due to the complete overlap of soft tissues of the respiratory tract. Apnea can recur several times a night and last from a few seconds to several minutes.
Lack of air not only disrupts the quality of sleep and deprives a person of proper rest (breathing stops make him wake up many times during the night), but after a few years can lead to serious complications: high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, heart attack. Often the patient is unaware of what is happening to him in a dream. Therefore, relatives should pay attention to the following symptoms:
- loud snoring (the louder, the more dangerous);
- pauses in breathing during sleep, which are interrupted by a loud breath.
A person suffering from snoring can independently note the symptoms that indicate the presence of apnea:
- increased blood pressure after sleep, which then normalizes on its own;
- a feeling of fatigue, weakness after a sufficient duration of sleep;
- daytime sleepiness, headaches.
The presence of these symptoms in a person who snores at night indicates hypoxia (lack of oxygen) and the need for treatment.
Prevention and treatment of snoring
The choice of method of treatment and prevention depends on the cause of snoring and the severity of this phenomenon in a particular person.
- With snoring that occurs due to sleeping on your back (most cases), when the tongue falls back and blocks the way for air, it is enough to sleep on your side or stomach to get rid of the problem. Since a person is not able to control himself in a dream, experts recommend attaching a tennis ball to the back of night clothes, which will not allow the sleeper to roll over onto his back. It is also advised to adjust the height of the pillows so that the head is in an elevated position.
- If the cause of snoring is obesity, you need to normalize your weight by giving up high-calorie foods, especially at dinner. Avoid alcohol, caffeinated drinks, cigarettes.
- Prevention and treatment of snoring involves the elimination of foci of inflammation in the nasopharynx, as they contribute to swelling, looseness of nearby tissues, accumulation of mucus, which prevents normal breathing.
- In the case of anatomical defects that cause snoring, surgical intervention is possible. Apply traditional, laser surgery and cryoplasty (plastic surgery using liquid nitrogen).
- There are a number of special devices that are used to combat snoring. They are fixed outside or inside the mouth (nose) to improve breathing. In especially severe cases of apnea, sleep in a mask with a compressor that supplies air to the airways is recommended.
Special exercises and natural remedies for snoring
Since the main cause of snoring is a decrease in the tone of the muscles of the respiratory apparatus, it will be useful to perform special exercises to strengthen them. Here is some of them:
- Say each vowel aloud several times a day for 3 minutes (ah, oh, and…).
- With your mouth open, squeeze and unclench the muscles in the back of your throat for 30 seconds.
- With your mouth open, move your jaw to the left and hold it for 30 seconds. Repeat the same, moving the jaw to the right.
- Sticking out your tongue, try to reach it to the chin. Hold the tongue in this position for 2–3 seconds. Repeat 30 times, do the exercise several times a day.
- Singing, reciting poetry has a beneficial effect on the muscles of the respiratory apparatus.
There are natural remedies that can help in the fight against snoring.
- Essential oils of mint, eucalyptus, lavender, cedar, geranium can naturally open the airways. Spraying one of the oils half-diluted with water at the head of the bed before going to bed can reduce the risk of snoring. You can also apply these oils to points near the wings of the nose.
- Thyme essential oil can help control snoring by applying two drops undiluted to each foot before bed. The infusion of this plant will calm the nervous system and improve the quality of sleep.
- A good remedy for snoring is olive oil (or any other vegetable oil), 2–3 sips of which should be drunk before bedtime. This procedure, performed every evening, over time, significantly reduces the vibration of the tissues that provoke snoring.
- Clean water, drunk during the day in sufficient quantities, dilutes the mucus of the nose and throat, which reduces the ability of tissues to stick together during sleep.
- Gargling with decoctions and infusions of plants that relieve inflammation and improve tissue tone (eucalyptus, calendula, chamomile, oak) also helps to eliminate snoring.
It is also necessary to monitor the cleanliness of bed linen and the bedroom, since respiratory failure and snoring can be caused by allergies to dust, dirt, and pet hair.
Septoplasty: new approaches to correcting the nasal septum
Deviated Septal Correction: MedAboutMe about new ways to perform septoplasty.