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
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
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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