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Friday, March 5, 2010

Snoring Solutions


Rose knows just about everyone snores occasionally. 
Even a baby or a beloved pet may snore! But snoring can affect the quantity and quality of your sleep. Poor sleep can lead to daytime fatigue, irritability and increased health problems. And, if your snoring is so loud that your bed partner can't sleep, you may end up banished from the bedroom.

Sleeping in separate bedrooms doesn’t have to be the remedy for your snoring. In fact, there are many effective treatments for snoring. Discovering the cause of your snoring and finding the right cure will vastly improve your health, your relationships, and, of course, your sleep.

How to stop snoring

Snoring can often seem like a problem without a solution – especially when it is getting in the way of a good night’s sleep for you and your partner. If you want to stop snoring, it is important to consider the cause and severity of your snoring. Identifying the cause can help you choose the right cure.

It also makes sense to try some simple non-invasive treatments first to see if they will reduce or prevent your snoring. See the section on Self help tips and remedies below for more information on these snoring cures.
  • Sleep on your side
  • Elevate the head of your bed
  • Limit alcohol and medications
  • Clear your nasal passages
  • Lose weight
You may find that your snoring persists even after trying these changes. If your snoring results from a more serious cause, a cure may be more complex – but there are solutions. Your nights don’t have to be noisy! Read on to learn more about the possible causes of your snoring as well as treatment options. If you can uncover the cause of your snoring, you should be able to find a cure that is right for you.

Whats the cause of snoring?

Where does the snore sound come from?

Snoring is caused by a narrowing of your airway, either from poor sleep posture or abnormalities of the soft tissues in your throat. A narrow airway gets in the way of smooth breathing and creates the sound of snoring.
People who snore often have too much throat and nasal tissue, or “floppy” tissue that is more prone to vibrate. The position of the tongue can also get in the way of smooth breathing.  Evaluating how and when you snore will help you pinpoint whether the cause of your snoring is within your control or not. Enlist your sleep partner or keep a sleep diary to help you determine the possible cause of your snoring

Tip: The way you snore may reveal why you snore!

If you snore
  • With your mouth closed: a problem with the tongue is probably the culprit
  • With your mouth open: your snoring is likely related to the tissues in your throat
  • Only on your back: your snoring is probably mild – improved sleep habits and lifestyle changes may be effective cures
  • In all sleep positions: your snoring is more severe and may require a more comprehensive treatment
Causes and Risk Factors of Snoring
      Causes out of our control       Causes within our control
  • Heredity - A narrow throat, a cleft palate, enlarged adenoids and other physical attributes which contribute to snoring can be hereditary.
  • Being middle-aged or beyond - As you age, your throat becomes narrower, and the muscle tone in your throat decreases.
  • Being male - Men have narrower air passages than women and are more likely to snore.
  • Allergies, asthma, a cold, or sinus infections - Blocked airways make inhalation difficult and create a vacuum in the throat, leading to snoring
  • Being overweight or out of shape - Fatty tissue and poor muscle tone contribute to snoring.
  • A history of smoking – Smoking (or exposure to second-hand smoke) relaxes muscles and creates nasal congestion.
  • Alcohol or medications - Alcohol and  medications increase muscle relaxation leading to more snoring.
  • Sleeping posture - Sleeping flat on your back allows the flesh of your throat to relax and block the airway.

Snoring problems and relationships

Snoring can get in the way of a good night’s sleep and a healthy relationship with your spouse or partner.  Many couples affected by snoring resort to sleeping in separate bedrooms in order to get a good night’s sleep. This arrangement may help both people sleep better, but it can disrupt communication and intimacy.
Mild snoring that isn't related to sleep apnea responds well to home remedies. Finding a cure for your snoring problem can result in an improved quality of life for you and your loved ones.

Sleep partners of people who snore heavily often awaken over twenty times per hour. The constant sleep disruption and excessive tiredness caused by noisy snoring takes a toll on social and physical aspects of a relationship.

Many partners of snorers decide to sleep in separate rooms, and the resulting lack of bedtime chatting and physical intimacy can lead to a strained relationship. The person who snores often becomes isolated and frustrated about a problem they seemingly have no control over.

Negative health effects of snoring

The most typical health problem snoring causes is loss of sleep for both the person snoring and his (or her) sleep partner. The snoring noise combined with tossing and turning often keep both people from sleeping soundly. Sleep deprivation has significant consequences: excessive sleepiness, irritability, and lack of productivity during the day, as well as negative health repercussions.

People who snore chronically are often middle-aged and overweight, and snoring may indicate a more serious underlying medical problem.

Snoring and sleep apnea

Snoring can also be a symptom of sleep apnea, a potentially life-threatening condition. While snoring is caused by narrow airways, sleep apnea is a true breathing obstruction, which requires the sleeper to awaken to begin breathing again. A person with sleep apnea wakes up many times a night to regain breathing, but usually remembers nothing at all about the awakenings. Snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea, but snoring by itself does not involve the cessation of breathing.

Snoring relief: Self help tips and remedies

In addition to the self-help tips listed at the beginning of the article, the following cures for snoring may be worth a try.

Tip: The tennis ball trick

Do you sleep on your back? Try the “tennis ball trick”: sleep with a tennis ball (or any ball of approximately the same size) attached to the back of your pajama top. (You can sew a pocket or safety-pin a sock to the back of the pajama top, then put a tennis ball in it.) The tennis ball is uncomfortable if you lie on your back, and you will respond by turning on your side. Soon you will develop side-sleeping as a habit and not need the tennis ball.
  • Lose weight – Losing weight is often a very effective cure for mild to moderate snoring. Even a little bit of weight loss can reduce fatty tissue in the back of the throat and decrease snoring. 
  • Sleep on your side – If you sleep on your back and snore mildly, sleeping on your side might cure your snoring altogether.
  • Elevate your head – Try elevating the head of your bed four inches, which may make breathing easier and encourage your tongue and jaw to move forward. Sleep without a pillow (or with a specially designed pillow) to make sure your neck muscles are not crimped.
  • Avoid certain foods, alcohol and medications before bed - Alcohol and certain medications increase relaxation of throat and tongue muscles, which makes snoring more likely. Sleeping pills or tranquilizers may help you sleep, but they will also relax your muscles and increase the chance of snoring. High-fat milk products or soy milk products cause mucus to build up in the throat which can lead to snoring as well.  
  • Clear your nasal passages - Having a stuffy nose makes inhalation difficult and creates a vacuum in your throat, which in turn leads to snoring. Nasal decongestants or nasal strips may help you breathe more easily while sleeping. Antihistamines can help with allergies, but will relax throat muscles and cause snoring.

Alternative remedies for snoring – Are you ready to take up singing or a new instrument?

Singing – Singing can increase muscle control in the throat and soft palate, reducing snoring caused by lax muscles. Playing the didgeridoo – Thinking of taking up a new instrument? Learning to play a didgeridoo can strengthen the soft palate and throat, reducing snoring.

Medical cures and treatments for snoring

If your own efforts to stop snoring do not help, consult your physician or an otolaryngologist (ENT, or ear, nose, and throat doctor). If you choose to try a dental appliance for your snoring, you will need to see a dentist specializing in these devices.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)

To keep your airway open during sleep, a machine at your bedside blows pressurized air into a mask that you wear over your nose or face

Dental appliances, oral devices, and lower jaw/chin straps

Dental devices, which often resemble the mouth guards worn by athletes, can help open your airway by bringing your lower jaw or your tongue forward during sleep.

Most dental devices are acrylic and fit inside your mouth; others fit around your head and chin to adjust the position of your lower jaw. A dentist specializing in sleep disorders can help fit you for one of these devices.


Certain surgeries, including Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), Thermal Ablation Palatoplasty (TAP), tonsillectomy, and adenoidectomy, increase the size of your airway by surgically removing tissues or correcting abnormalities. Using a scalpel, laser, or microwaving probe (radiofrequency energy), a surgeon may remove tonsils, adenoids, or excess tissue at the back of the throat or inside the nose, or reconstruct the jaw.

The Pillar procedure, or palatal implantation, is a new surgery which has shown promising results for snoring. Small plastic implants, less than an inch-long in size, are inserted into the soft palate using a syringe-like instrument. The procedure is usually performed in a doctor’s office under local anesthesia, with little pain and mild side effects. Scar tissue builds up around the implants, causing the tissue of the soft palate to stiffen which ceases the vibrations that cause snoring. The down-side of this procedure, and any surgical cure, for that matter, is that it is relatively new and it is expensive. Most insurance plans does not cover surgery for snoring.

See your doctor or dentist to discuss the medical treatments available and to decide which might help you eliminate snoring.
resource:  http://www.helpguide.org/life/snoring.htm

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