Snoring! Everything You Need To Know About Snoring When Asleep

At least, once in a lifetime, we meet a couple of people who snore. We may tend to mock those people making them feel embarrassed.

People who discover that they snore during sleep try to find ways to handle it especially when they are with other people in the same bedroom. They may end up not sleeping at all just to avoid being noticed by others.

What Is Snoring?

Snoring occurs during sleep due to vibration of some airway structures, such as the soft palate, whilst breathing resulting in an unpleasant or loud sound production.

It is normally associated with a medical condition known as Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) although there are other factors that can cause or worsen snoring.

What Are The Causes Of Snoring?

So many factors have been found to be responsible for someone snoring; but the underlying mechanism is relaxation of the uvula and soft palate in the throat. 

  1. Weakness of the throat muscles leading to the closing of the throat during sleep 
  2. Obesity. Fatty tissues which develop in the throat could also result in snoring 
  3. Genetic predisposition. 
  4. Jaw muscles tension due to malposition or misalignment of the jaw could also account for snoring 
  5. Inadequate sleep or sleep deprivation is a possible reason why people snore
  6. Certain medications eg. sedatives or substances such as alcohol can also make one snore 
  7. Mouth breathing during sleep can also cause snoring 
  8. Obstructive sleep apnea is another important factor causing snoring
  9. Sleeping on your back. Sometimes, the tongue can collapse and block the nasopharynx causing snoring.

Is Snoring A Medical Problem?

Snoring is not a medical condition, however, it may present as a sign of a serious sleep disorder such as Obstructive sleep apnea. 

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a sleep disorder that involves cessation or a significant decrease in airflow in the presence of breathing effort. OSA, most at times, is associated with enlarged tonsils and or adenotonsillitis.

What Disease Conditions Can Make One Snore?

Some of the disease conditions that have been noted to contribute to or cause snoring include: 

  • Obstructive sleep apnea, 
  • Adenotonsillitis, 
  • Congestive heart failure, 
  • Adenotonsillar hypertrophy etc

How Can I Stop My Snoring? 

Simple lifestyle changes could be helpful in stopping or reducing snoring. Identifying the cause of the snoring is helpful in stopping snoring. Some of the lifestyle changes and activities that can help in the treatment of snoring include;

  • Losing weight (if obese) is very important to stopping snoring. 
  • Sleeping on the side other than the back and the use of pillows is very helpful. Pillows elevate the side of the head, this keeps the airways open. 
  • By avoiding medications or substances that cause one to snore. Antidepressants, antipsychotics, sedatives, and alcohol are known to relax throat muscles hence increasing the risk of snoring. 
  • Seeing a doctor for surgery for those with a genetic predisposition, jaw malposition or misalignment, adenotonsillectomy, and other procedures. 
  • Stop smoking and taking alcohol before bedtime. 
  • Getting enough sleep of 6 to 8 hours a day as an adult reduces incidences of sleep deprivation that could result in snoring.
  • Exercise your tongue and throat muscles. One snores when the tongue and throat muscles are too relaxed. Strengthening these muscles would help stop snoring. There are a couple of exercises that could help you strengthen these muscles. One can get some throat exercise by singing. To work out your tongue, place the tip of your tongue behind the top of your teeth and slide it back and forth for a couple of minutes a day.
  • Steam inhalation. This helps open up the airways and hence prevents or reduces snoring.

Are There Medications For Treating Snoring?

There are over-the-counter medicines available for managing snoring. Despite the fact that they may be expensive, some are very effective in stopping or reducing snoring.

You should consult your doctor or pharmacist to offer you the best and safest alternative. 

Examples of such remedies include; Nytol spray, Rhynil double strength spray, and other branded products on the market.

Should I See A Doctor Because I Snore?

One should see a doctor when snoring is affecting their sleep or thinking. And especially, when it is associated with daytime sleepiness.

Also, one should consider seeing the doctor, when it is bothering your partner too much. Snoring that results in sleep apnea should also be investigated by the doctor in order to find out and treat any serious sleep-related disorder.

Are Snoring And Sleep Apnea The Same?

Sleep apnea is the sudden involuntary cessation and starting of breathing during sleep due to collapse of airway structures or muscles or blockage of the airways. Pauses occur several times per hour and last for over 10 seconds.  

Snoring may not necessarily present with sleep apnea. A type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea but snoring may be a sign of sleep apnea.

Are Snoring Devices Safe?

There are a few recommendable snoring devices that are FDA approved for clients. Cost and availability may be some of the limiting factors. When choosing a snoring device, one of the most important variables is comfort. Making sure your device is comfortable is crucial because it encourages you to wear it as much as possible, leading to noticeable results.

You may have to consult with your doctor or pharmacist to help you with an appropriate device. 

They include: 

  1. VitalSleep anti-snoring device; This mouthpiece does double duty to help stop snoring and teeth grinding simultaneously.
  2. Snorepin Anti-snoring aid
  3. Theravent snore therapy; Small and easy to take along for travel
  4. Breathe right nasal strips for congestion 
  5. A bed wedge pillow; Helps you breathe better while sleeping.
  6. Tongue Stabilizing Devices – (TSDs) This seeks to isolate the tongue, pulling the tongue forward and creating a wider gap between the tongue and the back of the throat, thus opens up the airways 

Does Snoring Affect Sleep?

Normal snoring does not affect quality of sleep. Some people don’t even know that they snore until their partners tell them.

Snoring that affects sleep and results in daytime sleepiness may be due to serious sleep disorders such as sleep apnea. However, snoring may affect the sleep of room partners or even neighbors.

Can Snoring Be Cured?

Despite the fact that there are so many medicines and devices that are available in the market for preventing or reducing snoring, snoring may not be curable.

Mostly the cause of the snoring has a strong factor in determining curability. Some surgical procedures may be able to cure it.

REFERENCES

  • Dieltjens, M., & Vanderveken, O. (2019). Oral Appliances in Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Healthcare (Basel, Switzerland), 7(4), 141. https://doi.org/10.3390/healthcare7040141
  • Lorenzi-Filho G., Almeida F. R, Strollo P. J. (2017). Treating OSA: Current and emerging therapies beyond CPAP. Respirology. 22(8): 1500-1507. doi: 10.1111/resp.13144. Epub 2017 Sep 12. PMID: 28901030.

WRITTEN AND EDITED RESPECTIVELY BY:

Author at Wapomu.com

Dr. Abel Daartey is a pharmacist by profession, a teacher, and a mentor by nature. He enjoys reading scientific journals and articles and publications in neuroscience and related topics. He aims at churning out content that educates the public and health care providers in meeting the healthcare needs of the populace.

Chief Editor at Wapomu.com

MPSGH, MRPharmS, MPhil.

Isaiah Amoo is a practicing community pharmacist in good standing with the Pharmacy Council of Ghana who has meaningful experience in academia and industrial pharmacy. He is a member of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, England, UK and currently pursuing his overseas pharmacy assessment programme (MSc) at Aston University, UK. He had his MPhil degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology. He has about 5 years’ experience as a community Pharmacist and has also taught in academic institutions like KNUST, Kumasi Technical University, Royal Ann College of Health, and G-Health Consult. He likes to spend time reading medical research articles and loves sharing his knowledge with others.

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