If you snore, you’re not alone. Approximately 57% of men and 40% of women snore. And the older you get, the more likely you are to snore. If you only snore on and off, you don’t have anything to be concerned about. However, if you snore regularly, not only can it disturb your sleep (as well as your partner’s), but it can contribute to sleepiness and make it hard to focus during the day.
You should talk to your doctor if you’ve been snoring for longer than a couple of weeks. Constant snoring can signify a blocked airway, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), and other health conditions. This article will discuss what snoring is, its causes, how it’s treated, and when you should be concerned.
What is Snoring?
Snoring results when air can’t easily flow through your mouth or nose. When air is forced through the obstructed area, the soft tissues in your nose, throat, and mouth vibrate against each other, resulting in a snorting or rattling sound. There are a variety of both surgical and non-surgical treatments for snoring.
Symptoms of Snoring
When you’re sleeping, you may not know that you snore. When you snore, you tend to toss and turn throughout the night, have a sore throat when you wake up, and feel sleepy throughout the day. Suffering from lack of sleep can also cause moodiness and headaches and make it challenging to concentrate throughout the day.
Along with snoring, some people will gasp for air and can even stop breathing for a couple of seconds while they’re sleeping. These are symptoms of sleep apnea, which can lead to serious health issues if left untreated.
Everyone snores at some point in their life. However, some risk factors can make you more likely to snore. These include:
- Your age – As you age, your muscle tone decreases, resulting in airway constriction.
- Use of alcohol and sedatives – The airflow in your mouth, nose, and throat can be restricted when you use alcohol and some medications.
- Your anatomy – The roof and back of your mouth make up your soft palate. If you have a long soft palate, enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids, a large tongue, or a deviated septum it can cause airflow issues through your mouth and nose.
- Gender – Men are more likely to snore than women.
- Genetics – If your parent’s snored, it’s likely that you will as well.
- Your health – Allergies and the common cold can cause nasal stuffiness that can block airflow. And due to hormone changes and weight gain, pregnant women are more likely to snore.
- Your weight – If you are overweight or obese, you’re more likely to snore.
How Do You Get a Snoring Diagnosis?
Your doctor will ask you questions about how often you snore, how it sounds, and if your lifestyle could be contributing to your sleep problems. They may also order a polysomnogram, also known as a sleep study.
During your sleep study, you have sensors connected to you that will measure your brain waves, breathing, heart rate, oxygen levels, how much you move while asleep, your snoring, and your sleep cycles. Your doctor will use this information to diagnose any sleep problems you may have.
How is Snoring Treated?
There are many non-surgical treatments that your doctor may recommend to remedy your snoring. These may include:
- Changing your lifestyle by avoiding alcohol before bed, sleeping in a different position, and getting to and maintaining a healthy weight.
- Use medications such as allergy and cold medications to relieve your nasal congestion.
- Nasal strips are flexible strips that adhere to the outside of your nose to keep your nasal passages open.
- Oral appliances such as a mouth device (or mouth guard) will help keep your jaw in the correct position to allow air to flow freely.
If these treatments are not effective, there are surgical treatments to alleviate snoring.
- LAUP (Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty) helps reduce the soft palate tissue to increase airflow.
- Radiofrequency ablation uses radiofrequency energy to shrink tissue in your tongue and soft palate.
- Septoplasty reshapes the cartilage and bone in your nose to help with the airflow.
- Adenoidectomy and tonsillectomy remove your adenoids (tissue at the back of your nose) or tonsils (tissue at the back of your throat).
Let DreamZz Sleep Center Help You Get a Good Night’s Sleep
In summary, everyone snores. However, if it is persistent, you should contact your doctor to rule out any serious health conditions that could be contributing to your snoring. Staying active and living a healthy lifestyle are great first steps in reducing snoring.
If your doctor has recommended further evaluation for your sleeping issues, let DreamZz Sleep Center help. You will receive detailed information and treatment options from a fellowship-trained, Sleep Medicine board-certified physician.
Contact us today and start sleeping better in less than one month!