Snoring is something so many of us live with, whether we ourselves snore or our partner or another household member does. But what causes snoring? And is there anything that can be done about it?
According to Australian estimates, 20% of Australians snore at night, with men snoring more than women – in fact, as many as a quarter of men snore regularly. This can lead to sleep deprivation, fatigue, and other significant health and quality-of-life issues.
According to studies, more men than women snore, and the typical Australian snorer is male, aged 35-65, overweight, and most likely also has high blood pressure. But snoring is by no means limited to this demographic and anyone of any age can experience snoring.
What is Snoring?
Snoring occurs when the airway (in the back of the nose and in the throat) and oral muscles (including the tongue) relax too much during sleep. This causes them to vibrate with breathing, causing the annoying noise we associate with snoring.
Almost all of us will snore at some time, however, when it is very loud or chronic, it can be incredibly disruptive to the quality of sleep of both the snorer and others who can hear them. Heavy snorers can be heard throughout a house. It can put a strain on relationships and be associated with harmful sleep-related breathing disorders, including obstructive sleep apnoea.
What causes snoring? There are numerous reasons why people snore. Some common causes of snoring include:
- Nasal congestion or stuffiness
- Allergies including hay fever
- Nasal deformities (e.g. deviated septum) or swelling of the palate
- Overeating at night or eating too close to bedtime
- Alcohol consumption, especially in excess or close to bedtime
- Obesity/being overweight
- Swollen tonsils or adenoids (common in children)
- Certain medications, including pharmaceutical sleep aids
- Sleeping on your back
- Disorders such as obstructive sleep apnoea
Do Any Lifestyle Factors Have an Impact on Snoring?
Lifestyle factors do have a significant impact on whether you snore and how severely you do so, and most of these can be addressed quite easily. These include, but are not limited to, being overweight, smoking cigarettes, eating patterns at night, consumption of alcohol, and the position in which you sleep.
While not everyone who is overweight will snore, weight gain most certainly will make snoring worse, and even a small amount of weight loss can make a big difference to snoring. This is because being overweight adds to the fatty tissue which is located in the back of the throat, and this narrows the airways.
Smokers are much more likely to snore than non-smokers are. This is because smoking causes the airway walls to retain fluid, which in turn results in oedema (swelling) which narrows the airways, making snoring and sleep apnoea worse. (Nicotine is also a major contributor to poor sleep and insomnia). Likewise, use of sleeping pills and alcohol, especially when used together or in large quantities, can also relax the muscles of the throat and cause narrowing of the airways.
Sleeping on your back causes the tongue, the uvula, and the soft palate to fall into the throat as they relax. The rate of breathing increases to compensate for the narrowed airway and the soft tissues vibrate, causing snoring. Sleeping on your side can reduce snoring.
How Can Snoring be Prevented?
Snoring can be prevented in a number of ways. Most of these are simple to implement.
The treatment approach needs to consider what causes snoring. The most appropriate treatment will vary, depending on the severity of the snoring, the age of the snorer, their body weight and general health, their medical history including the presence of heart disease, smoking status, and alcohol consumption, and the presence of sleep apnoea.
Some simpler snoring solutions may include:
- Lose weight
- Exercise regularly
- Eat a smaller dinner, earlier in the evening
- Moderate alcohol consumption; don’t drink close to bedtime
- Drink water before bedtime
- Stop smoking
- Avoid using sedatives or sleeping tablets
- Sleep exclusively on your side
- Replace old pillows (to relieve allergies)
- Use nasal steroids and allergy treatments
If you have nasal abnormalities that contribute to snoring, consider surgical correction of these. Children who snore severely may need their tonsils and/or adenoids removed.
SnoreMD to Stop Snoring
SnoreMD is an Australian company that is proud to offer a scientifically-designed, medical grade mandibular adjustment device. This device is worn in the mouth during sleep to help alleviate snoring.
The SnoreMD device’s revolutionary design is patented and it is among the most effective devices used globally to stop snoring. It is very affordable, comfortable and safe to wear, and may be used by adults aged from eighteen years.
By implementing some positive lifestyle changes and using the SnoreMD device, you can experience relief from snoring for a healthier life. Visit our website today to learn more about how SnoreMD can help you to stop snoring, or contact us today to order your device.