Did you know that over 45% of people snore at least part of the time? And 25% of those are chronic snorers. Snoring is more often seen in males and in people who are overweight and it gradually gets worse with age.
There are over 400 devices that are registered under U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as snoring remedies or cures. A lot of them are just enhanced make-shift rigging ideas, like the tennis ball in a sock trick that you sew to your pajamas on your back so that you will not sleep on your back at night (snoring is generally worse on your back).
Some snoring devices go in your mouth and some say they open up nasal passages and some release a foul odor when you start snoring.
The reality is most of these do not work, but instead keep you awake. Snoring cannot be consciously controlled and most of these devices are only working because they are keeping you awake.
What Causes Snoring?
Snoring occurs when there is an obstruction of some sort that gets in the way of the free flow of air through the passages in the back of your mouth or your nose.
This area in your throat is the part of the airway that collapses (see picture) where the soft palate and uvula meet the upper throat and tongue.
This makes the snoring noise occur due to them rubbing and vibrating against one another as air tries to pass through.
If you snore you may suffer from:
- Lack of muscle tone in your throat and/or tongue – When these muscles are too relaxed, which can also be caused by alcohol or drugs, your tongue can recede backward into your throat area or your throat muscles may not be as tense and fall slack into the airway as well. It happens more during deep sleep.
- Nasal airways are obstructed – When your nose is stopped up or stuffy, it of course takes extra effort to breathe through it. This makes a vacuum effect happen in your throat, which makes all that tissue in your throat pull together and makes the snoring noise. This happens commonly during the allergy seasons.
- Enlarged uvula or soft palate – A bigger soft palate or uvula makes the opening of your airway smaller so as you can imagine, it gets in the way and causes the obstruction and the vibration/snoring.
- Excessive Tissue – Snoring often occurs in children with large tonsils or adenoids. Overweight people have more tissue. Tumors and cysts can also cause snoring, but are super rare.
- Nose or Nasal Deformities – The wall that separates one nostril from the other can be deformed and cause an obstruction.
Is snoring a serious issue?
Not only does it get on people’s nerves that have to sleep around you, but it is also medically serious if you are a chronic snorer.
If you are snoring all night, then you are not sleeping well and if you are not sleeping well then that means your sleeping patterns are getting out of sync which means you are being deprived.
Snoring Can Be Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
Snoring is nowhere near as serious as when it makes you have episodes of paused breathing during the night. This is called obstructive sleep apnea.
These episodes can last more than ten seconds and occur more than seven times an hour which means your brain is not getting the proper oxygen and rest it needs.
A person with sleep apnea can experience from 30 to even 300 of these episodes per night. This puts stress on your entire body since it affects your brain and heart by being deprived of oxygen.
If you think you may be suffering from sleep apnea, check out the symptoms.
How to cure snoring?
Snoring can be cured in many natural ways such as losing weight being the #1 cure.
Yet, heavy snoring could be cause by a more serious condition such as sleep apnea or muscle tone or tissue previously mentioned.
The best thing you can do is go see your doctor who then can refer you to an ENT (ear, nose, and throat surgeon) that can examine your nose, airways, and mouth further to see if you have a problem there.
Then, if not, they can recommend a sleep study to see what is really going on while you are in the act of snoring.
Of course treatment depends on how severe your snoring is like mentioned earlier but if the cause is from a deformity, excess tissue, enlarged tonsil/adenoids, or an allergy then there are many different types of surgeries.
If you do not want to have surgery and are having episodes during the night where you stop breathing, then continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is an option.
This is a mask you wear nightly that delivers air to your airway so that it will not collapse during the night.
Light Snoring Solutions to Stop Snoring
If you know you do not have a serious snoring issue and just want to know the general tips to stop snoring, you can try these remedies:
- Start exercising, eat healthy, and lose weight. With exercise and weight loss, comes better muscle tone which can be causing the snoring. Being overweight is the #1 cause for snoring.
- Avoid sleeping pills, antihistamines and alcohol before bedtime. These make those muscles relax more than usual.
- Get on a schedule and sleep in normal patterns. When your body and mind is out of sync then you are more likely to snore when you don’t sleep well. Lots of more sleeping tips here.
- Sleep on your side. Sleeping on your back makes gravity work against your throat and mouth tissues by making them fall into your airway.
- Tilt your head upward or raise the head-side of your bed 1-4 inches. Again, this makes gravity not work against you.
In final, snoring is not something to laugh about, especially long term. It can and will be serious to you or someone’s health eventually if not cured or managed.