Sleep is not just resting or taking a break from busy routines – it is essential to physical and emotional health. Adequate sleep may also play a role in helping the body recover from illness and injury. Even occasional sleeping problems can make daily life feel more stressful and less productive.
What is snoring?
It happens when air can’t flow easily and is forced through an obstructed area, soft tissues in the mouth, nose, and throat. The vibrations caused by the flow of air through these areas make a rattling, snorting or grumbling sound. It may not cause any problems to the person who snores, but it may be so noisy that it disturbs other people sleeping. Sometimes it also interrupts the sleep of the person who snores, making them tired in the daytime.
How serious is it?
Snoring does not only keep you awake the whole night, but it can also annoy your spouse and even destroy your happy relationship. Relationships had been terminated and marriages destroyed all because of snoring. Just imagine if you had to use separate bedrooms or even divorce because your spouse can’t take it any longer. In addition to posing a strain on relationships, it can also indicate a possibly dangerous and life-threatening disease.
What Causes it?
Nearly everyone snores now and then, but for some people it can be a chronic problem. Snoring can be caused by several things, including:
- Later stages of pregnancy
- Irregularly shaped bones in the face
- Large tonsils or adenoids especially in children
- Alcohol consumption
- Antihistamine or sleeping pill use
- Large base of the tongue or unusually large tongue and small mouth
- Blocked nasal passage due to allergies or deviated septum
- Large uvula and/or soft palate
- Some people snore only when they sleep on their backs
- Other medical conditions – Individuals with severe heartburn.
Can it be prevented?
Few changes to your sleep style can help prevent or reduce snoring. Try these tips:
Don’t drink alcohol or take a sedative just before bedtime
Maintain a healthy weight; work to drop excess pounds.
Try sleeping on your side instead of on your back
Ask your specialist about medications to relieve nasal congestion
Raise the head of your bed a few inches to change the angle and improve airflow.
- Operations on the nose. If you have nasal polyps, removing them may stop snoring. If the midline of your nose is crooked (nasal septum deviation) having this straightened may help (but not always).
- Adenoidectomy and Tonsillectomy. This is most commonly of benefit for children but it also may be used in adults with large tonsils causing snoring.
- Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP). Parts of tissue in and around the mouth and throat are removed. This includes the uvula and making incisions in your soft palate, creating more space. It can help snoring, but only temporarily and, be warned, it is extremely painful afterwards.
- Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP). This is a similar procedure but done with a laser. The laser burns away the uvula and some of the soft palate.
- Radiofrequency ablation of the soft palate. This stiffens the soft palate to stop it vibrating so much.