How to stop snoring: causes, prevention, treatment of snoring and sleep apnea

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Rum­bling, whistling, vibrat­ing sounds made by sleep­ing peo­ple are quite com­mon. Snor­ing is not only an incon­ve­nience to oth­ers, but as a con­stant­ly recur­ring phe­nom­e­non, it harms the snor­er him­self. It dis­rupts the nor­mal course of sleep, pre­vents the full recov­ery of the body dur­ing a night’s rest, and cre­ates pre­req­ui­sites for the devel­op­ment of cer­tain dis­eases. Healthy­in­fo will talk about how to stop snor­ing through lifestyle changes, as well as non-sur­gi­cal treat­ments.

Snoring and its triggers

The appear­ance of snor­ing dur­ing sleep is asso­ci­at­ed with the relax­ation of the mus­cles and soft tis­sues of the oral cav­i­ty and phar­ynx, as a result of which the air­ways are par­tial­ly blocked. This makes breath­ing dif­fi­cult, and the inhaled and exhaled air break­ing through the bar­ri­ers caus­es the relaxed tis­sues to vibrate, which leads to snor­ing.

Snor­ing can be caused by many fac­tors. Here are the most com­mon ones:

    Age. Snoring is more common in older people than in younger people. This is due to age-related changes in muscle tissue, which loses its tone.
    Floor. Snoring is more common in men than in women.
    Obesity and overweight. Fat deposits that accumulate in the neck area narrow the airways.
    Features of the anatomical structure of the nose and pharynx, trauma (for example, curvature of the nasal septum).
    Inflammatory or allergic phenomena in the nasopharynx. They cause swelling of the soft tissues, which disrupts the free movement of air.
    Alcohol and smoking. These bad habits keep the airways inflamed and edematous.
    Medicines that relax the muscles: sleeping pills, tranquilizers.
    Sleep on your back.

Prevention and treatment of snoring

Prevention and treatment of snoring

There are many meth­ods for treat­ing and pre­vent­ing snor­ing. If snor­ing is not a con­stant com­pan­ion of sleep, sim­ple pre­ven­tive mea­sures will help:

    Do not abuse alcohol and smoking, even better — part with these habits.
    Watch your weight, avoid obesity.
    Do not overeat at night.
    Don’t sleep on your back.
    Carefully cure inflammation in the nasopharynx.
    Manage allergies if present.
    Perform special exercises to strengthen the oropharyngeal muscles. Singing is very useful from this point of view.

In the case when snor­ing occurs sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly, it is bet­ter to con­sult a doc­tor who, if nec­es­sary, will refer you to a spe­cial­ist to find out the caus­es of the unpleas­ant phe­nom­e­non. It can be an ENT doc­tor, a den­tist, a pul­mo­nolo­gist, a som­nol­o­gist. Spe­cial­ists have numer­ous meth­ods for assess­ing the sever­i­ty of a patho­log­i­cal phe­nom­e­non, which, togeth­er with a visu­al exam­i­na­tion, allows you to choose the opti­mal tac­tic for treat­ing snor­ing.

How to get rid of snor­ing? Doc­tors in sim­ple cas­es rec­om­mend the fol­low­ing:

    If snoring occurs while sleeping on your back, you can attach a tennis ball to your nightwear in the back area, which will force you to change your body position during sleep.
    The same goal is achieved with the help of a special electronic bracelet worn on the arm before going to bed. When the sleeper begins to snore, the device transmits a painless impulse that causes the person to change their body position and stop snoring.
    There are bandages that fix the chin and prevent the opening of the mouth during sleep, which eliminates snoring during normal nasal breathing.
    French physician and researcher Yves-Victor Camami in his book “Snoring, sleep well. New Solutions” (2019) suggests using aerosol preparations based on essential oils, menthol, xanthan gum, and aloe vera before going to bed. Applied to the mucous membranes of the nose and throat, these substances prevent tissue vibration. However, in chronic inflammatory processes in the nasopharynx, the drugs do not have the necessary effect.
    The author also describes another device for eliminating snoring — small staples and other structures made of plastic or silicone that are inserted into the nostrils to expand the air passages. This method is suitable for those who snore due to anatomical defects or nasal injuries. For the same purpose, a special patch is used, which is glued to the outer part of the nose. It is more convenient, but less efficient.

Fighting severe cases of snoring and sleep apnea

Fighting severe cases of snoring and sleep apnea

Not always the list­ed meth­ods of pre­ven­tion and ther­a­py lead to pos­i­tive results. There are cas­es of snor­ing, the treat­ment of which requires spe­cial atten­tion. Con­di­tions that are accom­pa­nied by impaired breath­ing and its short-term stop (apnea) are espe­cial­ly dan­ger­ous. These con­di­tions increase the risk of car­dio­vas­cu­lar patholo­gies, strokes and heart attacks, sud­den death in sleep, and there­fore require manda­to­ry treat­ment.

The most effec­tive treat­ments for severe cas­es of snor­ing accom­pa­nied by sleep apnea are the fol­low­ing:

    CPAP therapy (from the English Continuous Positive Airway Pressure — СРАР). The treatment is carried out with the help of a special apparatus, which, under slight pressure through the mask, supplies air into the respiratory tract of a sleeping person. CPAP therapy eliminates episodes of respiratory arrest and allows you to fully relax during sleep. The device and its mode of operation are selected by the doctor individually after examining the patient.
    Intraoral devices can be a successful solution for severe cases of snoring. The most commonly used is a special overlay (cap), which is put on the teeth before going to bed. The device does not allow the lower jaw and tongue to shift back during sleep and prevent the free passage of air. This device is effective when the cause of snoring is a retracted tongue (80% of cases), which is observed in obesity and in old age. According to recent studies, as pointed out by Dr. Kamami, this method can improve the condition of up to 70% of patients suffering from sleep apnea during sleep. At the same time, a mouthguard should be prescribed and selected by a dentist, since there are contraindications. According to a study published in the journal Hypertension in 2017, intraoral devices are as effective as CPAP therapy (except in some special cases) and are more acceptable in terms of long-term use.

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