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Snoring occurs when the airflow through the passages at the back of the mouth and throat causes instability in the soft palate tissue. The instability then causes these tissues to vibrate, which results in snoring sounds. Several parts of your airway may be contributing to your snoring - nasal passages, uvula, tongue, and soft palate. If you snore, it is likely that the palate is a contributor. It is believed that in 70% of patients, the palate is a primary contributor to their snoring.
Well the answer you won’t want to hear is probably no, but the good news is that you can probably minimise snoring using a number of methods, which may include a lifestyle change, but there can never be guarantees. But some lucky folk, given a whole mix of circumstances, can stop snoring.
So just what is snoring ….and what causes it?
It’s the noise emitted from vibration caused by obstructive loose skin in your throat and palate. As you breathe out through your mouth this loose skin will impair the flow of air, and thus flap around and create the noise.
The greater the constriction for air to flow out, the bigger the sound. Thus the technical terms ‘heavy’ snoring, or ‘light’ snoring.
Heavy or loud snoring is a major health concern, and is invariably associated with an obstructive sleep apnea problem where there is literally a danger of the snorer not getting enough air (and in turn oxygen) into his or her blood and thereby starving the brain of much needed oxygen. This is when the brain gets lazy and is slow to send signals to the lungs to breathe on. We’ve all heard it: Very quite for a few minutes, then a lurching loud snort as the brain sends the vital signal to breathe now, right now!
If you think you are in this heavy snoring zone, go to the telephone right now and make an urgent appointment with you doctor or sleep clinic. It can be a life-threatening situation, and there are remedies (see CPAP segment this article).
On the other hand if you are a light or mild snorer it is more than likely caused by your being overweight, and as such the fat tissue build up within the airway will constrict airflow both ways. This narrowing of the airway or windpipe means increased obstruction with the airway’s skin and soft palate, and vibration will occur as the exhausted air struggles to pass through. And the older you get, the floppier the skin within the throat, and this can accentuate the problem. Keeping your weight down will help considerably.
And finally there can be genetic issues. Folk with physically shorter necks may fall into this segment, but not automatically. See your doctor and check yourself out.
Well for a start try to sleep on your side as this allows the floppy skin at the back of the throat to fall to one side and this will help clear the airway to allow increased air intake.
Note: Contoured pillows such as the memory foam CompleteSleeprrr, apart from their obvious spinal alignment benefits, are said to be of benefit in minimizing / stop snoring when in the side sleeping position. Your sub conscious says “this is a good position, I’m comfortable in this position” … so you will probably stay in that side position for longer and that’s good for helping to minimize light snoring (see Natural Remedies segment at end of this article)..
Avoid alcoholic drinks prior to bedtime. Reason is that alcohol relaxes the muscles around the throat, and this will make everything floppier. The floppier things are around the airway, the greater the constriction for air to flow.
Exercise. Tighten and tone. Get the weight down. Eat smart. Minimize take-out.
Eat small amounts more often. Minimize your intake of dairy foods as these produce mucous. Avoid a heavy meal in the evenings. And avoid sedatives and antihistamines prior to bed. Don’t smoke.
Avoid being overtired. Establish regular sleep patterns.
Here's a Tip: Always first see a doctor for professional guidance. Some of the options she or he may recommend include:
CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device. This minimally intrusive device is worn as a mask and introduces continuous air into your airway. Apart from the obvious added benefits of increased oxygen entering your system, this introduced air helps inflate the throat and this translates to clearer breathing for exhausted air. Less or no vibration in other words, and that means a quieter night for your partner!
You may wish to look at another procedure which is not so intrusive for the third of your life that you spend sleeping: Three tiny polyester strips are inserted to stiffen the palate, and this may help reduce vibration that causes most snoring. It’s just a local anaesthetic to the palate by your doctor, and you will not see or feel the strips once they are embedded.
Then there’s laser treatment. This is performed under a general anaesthetic. This technique shortens the uvula and smooths out parts of your soft palate. Mixed results, but with some statistics revealing that the greater percentage of those that undergo this treatment reported after a year that there was a decline in their snoring. (Some surgeons prefer to use an electrode rather than laser to burn away parts of the uvula).
Another procedure is the use of radio frequency to scar the soft palate. This has the affect of stiffening it.
A more invasive surgical procedure to reduce or eliminate snoring is known as palatopharyngoplasty. This allows more room by enlarging the throat. The surgeon will remove your tonsils and parts of your uvula and soft palate. Quite positive results from this procedure apparently, but talk to your surgeon about the effectiveness or search the net.
And of course there’s repositioning jaw surgery; nasal reconstructive surgery; and also tracheotomy where the obstruction is bypassed.
…and a pretty simple solution which may help: Nasal strips for snoring. These simply are bands of plastic encased in adhesive and are placed across the nose. They in affect lift the sides of the nose and as such enable more air to enter. Non prescription.
Therapeutic Pillow sells a number of products that can help reduce snoring.
Always first see a doctor for professional guidance. Some of the options she or he may recommend include:
Well there’s homeopathic pills or nasal sprays which contain plant enzymes and herbs that are claimed to help break down mucous which will help reduce snoring, and these pills and sprays may also help prevent throat and nose tissue swelling.
And last but not least there’s the issue of the position that you sleep in. It is widely acknowledged that sleeping on your back will constrict airflow to your airways because the floppy skin and soft palate at the back of the throat will fall down and impede. A great tip to stop snoring is to sleep on your side. It is great for snoring control as the soft palate simply falls to the side of the throat and only partially impedes air flow.
We hope this article has given you some tips on how you can reduce, or possibly stop snoring.