What Causes Snoring and How You Can You Reduce Snoring to Sleep Better at Night?
There are many so-called snoring cures on the market, but not all are effective at treating the underlying causes of this frustrating condition.
Snoring is a common problem that affects not only the snorer but their loved ones as well. If left untreated, snoring can worsen over time, and lead to more serious health issues.
Despite the frustration it causes, there’s good news. There are several effective treatments for snoring to help you and your loved ones sleep better.
But what causes snoring? How do you stop snoring?
Let’s take a closer look.
What Causes Snoring?
When you sleep, your muscles relax, including the muscles and tissues in your throat.
When these tissues obstruct your upper airway, the air you breathe is forced through a narrower passageway. This causes these tissues to vibrate, creating the noise that we know as snoring.
Snorers often have enlarged and/or limp soft palates and uvulas, the fleshy and flexible part of the back of the mouth’s roof and the piece of flesh that hangs in the back of your throat, respectively.
Enlarged tonsils and soft tissue in the throat may also cause snoring. Other possible obstructions to the upper airway that contribute to snoring include the formation of masses, such as polyps and adenoids.
Further causes of snoring include:
- Hormonal imbalances (hyperthyroidism)
- Disturbed neurological functions
Snoring may also be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea. This problem occurs when you snore and your airway becomes completely blocked, causing you to stop breathing.
Upper airway fat deposits are a common cause of obstructive sleep apnea since these deposits decrease the upper airway size.
Over time, the restricted airflow during sleep will reduce the upper airway muscle tone and lung volume. This is why snoring tends to get worse with time.
Are You A Regular Snorer? How to Identify When It’s A Problem
Snoring becomes a problem when it results in sleep deprivation. Whether your snoring wakes you up or keeps your loved ones awake, someone isn’t getting enough sleep, which can be detrimental in many ways.
If your significant other has to sleep in another room to get a good night’s rest, then your snoring is a problem that needs treatment.
Side Effects of Snoring
Snoring can affect all aspects of your life.
Here are some of the most serious problems that arise with snorers.
The noise of snoring will disrupt your loved one’s sleep and your own. Even though you’re sleeping, the noise affects your brainwaves, causing a disturbed and interrupted sleep.
Like all animals, people need enough restful sleep for their brains and bodies to function properly. Without enough sleep, your overall health can worsen. Common health problems associated with snoring and obstructive sleep apnea include:
- Low energy
- Risk of heart and respiratory problems
- Increased risk of heart failure
- High blood pressure
- Early onset diabetes
- Poor memory
- Weakened immune systems
A lack of sleep will take its toll on anyone’s mood, no matter how easy going you are. If your snoring is disturbing your sleep, or someone else’s, you may experience poor temperaments, such as a lack of patience and irritability.
Your significant other who is sleep deprived could lose patience with you. They may resent you for disrupting their sleep all the time. In turn, this can have a negative impact on your relationship.
There are many treatment options for snoring, with some being more effective than others.
- Nasal Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines for people with obstructive sleep apnea. This machine keeps airways open during sleep.
- Surgery to widen the nasal passages and remove crooked cartilage from your nasal septum.
- Uvulatomy surgery that removes the uvula because it is too limp and obstructing the airway.
Laser Treatment for Snoring
Laser treatment for snoring is an effective treatment that is less invasive than surgery.
Laser treatments tone the tissue and muscles of the soft palate and uvula by stimulating new collagen growth. This creates new, toned, and better tissues that won’t go limp and block the air passageway.
These treatments start with a consultation to see what is obstructing the upper airway when you sleep. Often, it is a limp uvula.
The laser specialist will administer a local anesthetic, as patients sit upright in a comfy dentist chair.
Patients remain conscious throughout the short 10- to 20-minute procedure. As the laser targets the uvula, patients feel a warm sensation at the back of their throats, much like drinking tea.
Following treatment, patients must exercise their uvula and throat muscles to keep them toned. This exercise prevents the muscles from becoming weak again.
After a course of two to five laser treatments, patients typically notice a significant decrease in their snoring, especially when paired with lifestyle changes.
Things You Can Do at Home to Help Alleviate Snoring
Along with having obstructive throat tissues and muscles, many lifestyle factors can also increase the likelihood of snoring.
So for optimal results with laser treatments for snoring, consider making these lifestyle changes to reduce your snoring even more.
- Lose weight. Since extra fat deposits cause the upper airway to be narrower, you can remove this extra cause of snoring with exercise and weight loss;
- Avoid eating later in the evening;
- Adjust your sleeping position to ease breathing;
- Use a humidifier to keep the bedroom air moist. Dry air can irritate your nose and throat;
- Clear your nose before going to sleep;
- Quit smoking; and,
- Continue with the throat exercises to keep your throat muscles toned.
Are You A Good Candidate for Snoring Treatment?
If your snoring keeps you and your loved ones up at night, then you should consider snoring treatment. Consult with your local snoring clinic for a treatment that will get you the healthy amount of sleep you (and your loved ones) need.