When most people think of snoring, they think of it as an almost humorous nuisance. But snoring can have very serious effects on the quality of your life and your health.
Snoring has several causes. A cold or other infection can make breathing difficult and cause the sound of snoring as the sleeping person struggles to draw air through blocked nasal passages and throat.
Sometimes snoring is the result of a medical condition, such as swollen tonsils and adenoids (lymphoid tissues located at the back of the throat).
Snoring can also be caused by a misshapen wall separating the nasal cavity, called a deviated nasal septum, or a growth in the cavity, called a nasal polyp, both of which cause nasal blockages.
Snoring can also occur when flabby throat muscles are drawn into the airway, particularly when muscular control is overly relaxed by alcohol, drugs, or deep sleep.
The larger the tissues in your soft palate, the more likely you are to snore while sleeping. Alcohol or sedatives taken shortly before sleep also promote snoring. These drugs cause greater relaxation of the tissues in your throat and mouth.
Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, but people who have sleep apnea typically do snore loudly and frequently. Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder, and its hallmark is loud, frequent snoring linked to intermittent brief pauses in breathing while sleeping.
Even if you don’t experience these breathing pauses, snoring can still be a problem for you as well as for your bed partner. The increased breathing effort associated with snoring can impair your sleep quality and lead to many of the same health consequences as sleep apnea.
Treating chronic congestion and refraining from alcohol or sedatives before sleeping can also stop snoring. In some adults, snoring can be relieved by dental appliances that reposition the soft tissues in the mouth.
Although numerous over-the-counter nasal strips and sprays claim to relieve snoring, no scientific evidence supports those claims.
Tips for a sound night’s sleep: relax before bed and try not to worry about whether or not you will be able to sleep, avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol before bedtime as caffeine can keep you awake and alcohol can cause you to wake up during the night (try a hot milky drink instead).
Try not to nap in the afternoon or early evening, try to take some exercise in the late afternoon or early evening , but make sure you are finished at least three hours before bedtime.
Try to avoid disrupting your regular sleeping pattern (this will help your body clock to know when it’s time to sleep).
Try wearing an eyemask or earplugs to help block out noise and light which can may be affecting your sleep.