Sleep Apnea Treatment, Anti Snoring Devices, Solutions, Tips How To Stop Snoring
Snoring is noisy breathing during sleep. It is a common problem among all ages and both genders, and it affects approximately 90 million American adults — 37 million on a regular basis. Snoring may occur nightly or intermittently. Persons most at risk are males and those who are overweight, but snoring is a problem of both genders, although it is possible that women do not present with this complaint as frequently as men. Snoring usually becomes more serious as people age. We are discussing snoring remedies that will help you to finally stop snoring.
It can cause disruptions to your own sleep and your bed-partner’s sleep. It can lead to fragmented and un-refreshing sleep which translates into poor daytime function (tiredness and sleepiness). The two most common adverse health effects that are believed to be casually linked to snoring are daytime dysfunction and heart disease . About one-half of people who snore loudly have obstructive sleep apnea, but their are snoring remedies.
While you sleep, the muscles of your throat relax, your tongue falls backward, and your throat becomes narrow and “floppy.” As you breathe, the walls of the throat begin to vibrate – generally when you breathe in, but also, to a lesser extent, when you breathe out.
These vibrations lead to the characteristic sound of snoring. The narrower your airway becomes, the greater the vibration and the louder your snoring. Sometimes the walls of the throat collapse completely so that it is completely occluded, creating a condition called apnea (cessation of breathing). This is a serious condition which requires medical attention.
There are several factors which facilitate snoring. First, the normal aging process leads to the relaxation of the throat muscles, thus resulting in snoring. Anatomical abnormalities of the nose and throat, such as enlarged tonsils or adenoids, nasal polyps, or deviated nasal septum cause exaggerated narrowing of the throat during sleep and thus lead to snoring.
Functional abnormalities (e.g. inflammation of the nose and/or throat as may occur during respiratory infection or during allergy season) will result in snoring. Sleep position, such as sleeping on your back, may lead to snoring in some people. Alcohol is a potent muscle relaxant and its ingestion in the evening will cause snoring. Muscle relaxants taken in the evening may lead to or worsen snoring in some individuals. One of the most important risk factors is obesity, and in particular having a lot of fatty tissue around the neck.
Sleep Apnea Symptoms
People who snore make a vibrating, rattling, noisy sound while breathing during sleep. It may be a symptom of sleep apnea. Consult your doctor if you snore and have any of the following sleep apnea symptoms or signs:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Morning headaches
- Recent weight gain
- Awakening in the morning not feeling rested
- Awaking at night feeling confused
- Change in your level of attention, concentration, or memory
- Observed pauses in breathing during sleep
Sleep Apnea Treatment
Snorers are generally unaware of their snoring, and must rely on the observations of their bed-partners. Some snorers may wake up at night choking and gasping for breath, but this occurs relatively infrequently.
If you have been told that your snoring is disturbing to others, or you have some of the symptoms and signs listed above, consult your doctor. He or she will take your history, perform a physical exam and will determine whether you require a consultation with a sleep specialist and a sleep test to determine if you have sleep apnea and to see how your snoring affects your sleep quality.
*Results may vary by individual.
Depending on the results of the sleep study, you will be presented with a series of options to treat snoring. These sleep apnea treatment will generally include:
- lifestyle modification (i.e. avoidance of risk factors mentioned above, sleep position training if applicable, treatment of allergies if applicable, etc…);
- Surgery (generally on the back of the throat and roof of the mouth, or the nose if applicable, using a variety of instruments including scalpel, laser, or microwaves);
- Appliances (mainly oral appliances constructed by a dentist experienced in treatment of snoring and sleep apnea, but also other appliances such as nasal dilators);
- And sometimes CPAP (a continuous positive airway pressure appliance which blows room air into the back of the throat thus preventing it from collapse).
The latter method is the treatment of choice for sleep apnea. If you are diagnosed with this condition, it is imperative that you pursue treatment aggressively; untreated sleep apnea will lead to daytime dysfunction and puts you at a higher risk for vascular disease.
7 Easy Fixes for Snoring
Help put snoring to rest with these 7 quit-snoring tips.
1. Change Your Sleep Position.
Lying on your back makes the base of your tongue and soft palate collapse to the back wall of your throat, causing a vibrating sound during sleep. Sleeping on your side may help prevent this.
“A body pillow (a full-length pillow that supports your entire body) provides an easy fix,” Slaughter says. “It enables you to maintain sleeping on your side and can make a dramatic difference.”
Taping tennis balls to the back of your pajamas can also stop you from sleeping on your back, Chokroverty says. “Or you can recline the bed with the head up and extended, which opens up nasal airway passages and may help prevent snoring. This may cause neck pain, however.” If snoring continues regardless of the sleep position, obstructive sleep apnea may be a cause. “See a doctor in this case,” Chokroverty says.
2. Lose Weight.
Weight loss helps some people but not everyone. “Thin people snore, too,” Slaughter says.
If you’ve gained weight and started snoring and did not snore before you gained weight, weight loss may help. “If you gain weight around your neck, it squeezes the internal diameter of the throat, making it more likely to collapse during sleep, triggering snoring,” Slaughter says.
3. Avoid Alcohol.
Alcohol and sedatives reduce the resting tone of the muscles in the back of your throat, making it more likely you’ll snore. “Drinking alcohol four to five hours before sleeping makes snoring worse,” Chokroverty says. “People who don’t normally snore will snore after drinking alcohol.”
4. Practice Good Sleep Hygiene.
Poor sleep habits (also known as poor sleep “hygiene”) can have an effect similar to that of drinking alcohol, Slaughter says. Working long hours without enough sleep, for example, means when you finally hit the sack you’re overtired. “You sleep hard and deep, and the muscles become floppier, which creates snoring,” Slaughter says.
5. Open Nasal Passages.
If snoring starts in your nose, keeping nasal passages open may help. It allows air to move through slower, Slaughter says. “Imagine a narrow garden hose with water running through. The narrower the hose, the faster the water rushes through.”
Your nasal passages work similarly. If your nose is clogged or narrowed due to a cold or other blockage, the fast-moving air is more likely to produce snoring.
A hot shower before you go to bed can help open nasal passages, Slaughter says. Also, keep a bottle of saltwater rinse in the shower. “Rinse your nose out with it while you’re showering to help open up passages,” Slaughter says.
A neti pot could also be used to rinse out the nasal passages with a salt-water solution.
Nasal strips may also work to lift nasal passages and open them up — if the problem exists in your nose and not within the soft palate.
6. Change Your Pillows.
Allergens in your bedroom and in your pillow may contribute to snoring. When did you last dust the overhead ceiling fan? Replace your pillows?
Dust mites accumulate in pillows and can cause allergic reactions that can lead to snoring. Allowing pets to sleep on the bed causes you to breathe in animal dander, another common irritant.
“If you feel fine during the day but obstructed at night, these things may be contributing to your snoring,” Slaughter says.
Put your pillows in the air fluff cycle once every couple weeks and replace them every six months to keep dust mites and allergens to a minimum. And keep pets out of the bedroom.
Beware before spending money on special pillows designed to prevent snoring, Chokroverty says. “They may work if it props up your head, which fixes nasal issues, but can cause neck pain.”
7. Stay Well Hydrated.
Drink plenty of fluids. “Secretions in your nose and soft palate become stickier when you’re dehydrated,” Slaughter says. “This can create more snoring.” According to the Institute of Medicine, healthy women should have about 11 cups of total water (from all drinks and food) a day; men require about 16 cups.
Overall, get enough sleep, sleep on your side, avoid alcohol before bedtime and take a hot shower if nasal passages are clogged, Slaughter says. “These simple practices can make a huge difference in reducing snoring.”
Your own doctor, or sleep specialist, will talk to you in detail about each of the above treatment approaches, their chances of success, possible complications, and costs. They will be able to advise you which of the above treatment approaches is the correct one for you.
People who suffer mild or occasional snoring, who wake up feeling refreshed, and function well during the day may first try the following behavioral remedies, before consulting their doctor:
- Lose weight
- Avoid tranquilizers, sleeping pills, and antihistamines before bedtime
- Avoid alcohol for at least four hours and heavy meals or snacks for three hours before retiring
- Establish regular sleeping patterns
- Sleep on your side rather than your back