Snoring is the most irritating thing in the world. People avoid it but avoiding it can be a problem. If it is left untreated it can be a serious problem. Snoring is a raspy noise produced in the nasopharynx during sleep. It is quite common, occurring in about 57% of men and 40% of women; prevalence increases with age.
The sound ranges from barely audible to an extremely bothersome noise that may be loud enough to hear in another room. Snoring is distressing, usually to others (typically a bed partner or roommate trying to sleep) rather than the snorer; uncommonly, snorers wake up to the sound of their own snoring. Try home remedy for snoring to sleep peacefully.
Snoring sound and it’s intensity can vary from a very light sound to a very rough and funny sounds. Some people snores like the sound of a mechanical motor and are very loud. These sounds can be trouble for your partner or anyone around you.
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Statistics on snoring are often contradictory, but at least 30% of adults and perhaps as many as 50% of people in some demographics snore.
Now you can understand the severity of snoring. I am going to discuss snoring, its different types, symptoms of snoring, possible causes that are responsible for snoring, complication, and risk factors and in the end, I will tell you some tips to prevent snoring and home remedies.
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What is snoring
Just about everyone snores occasionally, and it’s usually not something to worry about. Snoring happens when you can’t move air freely through your nose and throat during sleep. This makes the surrounding tissues vibrate, which produces a familiar snoring sound.
People who snore often have too much throat and nasal tissue or “floppy” tissue that is more prone to vibrate. The position of your tongue can also get in the way of smooth breathing.
If you regularly snore at night it can disrupt the quality of your sleep leading to daytime fatigue, irritability, and increased health problems. And if your snoring keeps your partner awake, it can create major relationship problems too. Thankfully, sleeping in separate bedrooms isn’t the only remedy for snoring.
“Vibrations that cause particles in the air to form sound waves. For example, when we speak, our vocal cords vibrate to form our voice. When our stomach growls (borborygmus), our stomach and intestines vibrate as air and food move through them.
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While we are asleep, turbulent airflow can cause the tissues of the palate (roof of the mouth) and throat to vibrate, giving rise to snoring. Essentially, snoring is a sound resulting from turbulent airflow that causes tissues to vibrate during sleep”
Types of snoring
There are the following types of snoring according to the severity.
Light, infrequent snoring:- It is normal and doesn’t require medical testing or treatment. Its main impact is on a bed partner or roommate who may be bothered by the occasional noise.
Primary snoring:- It occurs more than three nights per week. Because of its frequency, it is more disruptive to bed partners; however, it is not usually seen as a health concern unless there are signs of sleep disruptions or sleep apnea, in which case diagnostic tests may be necessary.
Obstructive sleep apnea associated with snoring:- It is more worrisome from a health perspective. If OSA goes without treatment, it can have major implications for a person’s sleep and overall health. Unchecked OSA is associated with dangerous daytime drowsiness, and serious health conditions including cardiovascular issues, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, and depression.
Snoring vs sleep apnea
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a breathing disorder in which the airway gets blocked or collapsed during sleep, causing repeated lapses in a breath. At the same time, snoring is the vibration of respiratory structures and the resulting sound due to obstructed air movement during breathing during sleeping.
However snoring during sleep may be a sign, or first alarm, of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Symptoms of snoring
Snoring is often associated with a sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Not all snorers have OSA, but if snoring is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, it may be an indication to see a doctor for further evaluation for OSA;-
- Witnessed breathing pauses during sleep
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Morning headaches
- Sore throat upon awakening
- Restless sleep
- Gasping or choking at night
- High blood pressure
- Chest pain at night
- Your snoring is so loud it’s disrupting your partner’s sleep
- In children, poor attention span, behavioral issues, or poor performance in school.
Causes of snoring
Some people snore regularly without any other sleep-related symptoms.
There are the following many possible reasons that a person may have a chronically narrowed or blocked airway during sleep that causes snoring.
Obstructive sleep apnea
Not everyone who snores has obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), but most people with OSA snore. OSA is a common sleep-related breathing disorder that frequently goes undiagnosed. OSA is marked by repeated pauses in breathing.
During sleep due to partial or complete collapse of the airway. People with sleep apnea tend to snore loudly with periods of silence as breathing stops. When they resume breathing, it can sound like gasping or snorting.
OSA is associated with adverse health outcomes such as depression, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
Alcohol and smoking consumption
Alcohol and other sedatives cause snoring by relaxing the muscles that support tissue around the airway. So, chronic snorers, including those with OSA, who drink alcohol experience more severe snoring.
Cigarette smoking is another risk factor for snoring. It’s not clear exactly why people who smoke are more likely to snore, but researchers propose that it may be due to upper airway inflammation.
Quitting smoking has been shown to improve snoring, but it can take time.
Head and neck anatomy
The size and shape of certain structures can constrict the airway and lead to snoring. Having a small jaw, and having an enlarged tongue or tonsils can contribute to snoring.
Chronic nasal congestion
Having a stuffy nose during sleep may lead to snoring by reducing the flow of air through the airway and causing the airway to collapse. Allergy or infection are the most common causes of nasal congestion.
When these conditions persist over time, nasal congestion can become chronic and lead to habitual snoring. A study of middle-aged adults found that those who indicated that they experienced nasal congestion at night “always” or “almost always” were three times more likely to be habitual snorers.
Snoring occurs more often when you are laying on your back, also called the supine position. When you are on your back, gravity pulls the tissues surrounding your airway downward, which makes the airway more narrow. Research on snorers has shown that the frequency and intensity of snoring decreases in some patients when they lay on their side also called lateral position.
Having extra tissue in the neck can lead to a smaller airway size and an increased susceptibility to airway collapse. Weight loss may improve snoring in individuals who are overweight.
A study found that men who lost at least six pounds experienced reductions in the frequency of their snoring, with greater weight losses being associated with the near elimination of snoring.
Older age is associated with a number of sleep changes, including increased snoring. The tongue and the muscles that surround the airway may become weaker as we get older.
Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland under-functions and does not produce enough thyroid hormone. If left untreated, it leads to symptoms such as a puffy face, hoarse voice, slow speech, and slow heart rate. It can also contribute to snoring. Researchers administered sleep studies on twenty hypothyroidism patients and found that all of them snored.
Complications and risk factors
There are the following complications and risk factors;-
Although snoring itself has no known adverse physiologic effects, obstructive sleep apnea may have consequences
e.g;- hypertension, stroke, heart disorders, diabetes.
There are the following risk factors;-
- Older age
- Use of alcohol or other sedatives
- Chronic nasal congestion or blockage
- A small or posteriorly displaced jaw
- Postmenopausal status
- Abnormal structures that can block airflow.
Tips to prevent snoring
Snoring can be prevented by the following tips;-
Overweight people are more likely to snore. Fatty tissue and poor muscle tone, especially around the throat make one snore. So this gives you another reason to lose weight.
Quit smoking and drinking
Alcohol can relax the throat muscles which causes snoring. So avoid alcohol consumption, two hours before going to sleep.
Sleep in an adequate position
When you sleep lying on your back, it makes the base of your tongue and soft palate collapse to the back wall of your throat. This makes one snore. Sleeping sideways can reduce snores.
Avoid sleeping pills and sedatives
Sedative medicines make one get a very deep sleep which gives the throat a lot of relaxation and causes snoring. Instead, try home remedies to cure insomnia.
Avoid gluten and dairy products
Dairy and gluten products are known to cause inflammation in nose and throat tissues. One should not entirely stop consuming milk, but a glass of plain tea some time before hitting the bed is a good way to reduce snoring.
Drink enough water
Dehydration causes the formation of mucus which is one of the reasons for snoring.
Drinking 3.7 liters of water for men and 2.7 liters for women is highly recommended to stop that irritating snores.
Sleep on your side instead of your back
Try attaching a tennis ball to the back of a pajama top or T-shirt (you can sew a sock to the back of your top then put a tennis ball inside).
If you roll over onto your back, the discomfort of the tennis ball will cause you to turn back onto your side. Alternatively, wedge a pillow stuffed with tennis balls behind your back. After a while, sleeping on your side will become a habit and you can dispense with the tennis balls. You can also read our detailed guide on how to sleep fast and easily.
Home remedy for snoring
There are the following home remedies that can be effective in snoring;-
Spearmint and Fenugreek
Snoring can also occur due to digestive problems. Spearmint and fenugreek are excellent home remedies against snoring caused by digestive issues. Fenugreek also is effective against sleep apnea.
Way to use spearmint and Fenugreek:- Take a few fenugreek seeds and soak it in water for half an hour and then drink it before you hit the bed. You can also mix a teaspoon of fenugreek powder in a glass of water and drink this solution before sleeping. Spearmint tea is another option you can try.
Olive oil and honey
Olive oil and honey contain anti-inflammatory properties, which help ease the obstruction in the respiratory tract and reduce swelling. They also lubricate the throat and reduce snoring.
Way to use olive oil and honey:- Take half a teaspoon of honey and half a teaspoon of olive oil. Mix it properly and drink it before going to bed. You can also add a tablespoon of honey to a glass of water and drink it before bed.
Turmeric contains antibiotics and antiseptic properties, which help cure inflammation and snoring. It will help ease breathing and improve your immunity.
Way to use turmeric:- Take a glass of warm milk and add two tablespoons of turmeric. Mix well and drink it before going to bed.
Eucalyptus oil is one of the most effective remedies for snoring. It will also help fight chest congestion and clear your nose.
Way to use eucalyptus:- Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to the steam inhaler and inhale the steam before hitting the bed. You can also use a container of hot water to inhale the steam. Take a bowl of hot water and add about five drops of eucalyptus oil and inhale the steam. Cover your head with a towel to make it more effective.
Garlic is a miracle herb and is quite effective in clearing the respiratory system. It prevents the buildup of mucus in the nasal passage and reduces snoring.
Way to use garlic:- Take a few garlic cloves and chew them. Now, drink a glass of water to swallow the garlic. Do this before going to bed. You can also add extra garlic to your food.
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