Are you trying to stop snoring, – or get someone else to stop? Here, Dr Sam Thandar – Aesthetic Dentist gives us top tips to stop the snuffles – for a restful, peaceful sleep.
Snoring is a condition that affects close to 40 % of the population. People that snore often suffer from poor sleep, fatigue and lack of concentration during the day. It could also be the symptom of some underlying medical condition.
So what creates the noise during snoring?
Well, when your throat muscles relax during sleep, the soft palate closes in – creating a narrower passage for the inhalation of air. The velocity of inspired air increases, creating vibrations within the soft relaxed tissue -thus producing a noise that we call snoring.
There are various reasons why we snore:
- Age: as you age the muscle tone in your soft palate decreases, and the airways become narrower.
- Overweight and lack of exercise: this could have a negative effect on snoring by decreasing the muscle tone in the upper airways – and increasing fat deposits around the airways, which reduces the flow of air.
- Smoking, alcohol, and muscle relaxants.
- Sleep position and sleep posture.
- Sinus or upper respiratory tract problems.
- Testosterone: snoring is most common in men and increases with post-menopausal women.
In essence, studies show that there are two fundamental issues at play regarding the causes of snoring: hormones and airway architecture.
How do we find the right cure?
As snoring has a multifactorial cause, we need to start with a self-assessment of our snoring problem. If its’ exacerbated by certain lifestyle habits, we can start by addressing and dealing with these habits. Weight loss, exercise and developing a bedtime sleep pattern can help improve your snoring. Furthermore, we can also address and improve the symptoms with some simple remedies:
- Ensure that your nasal passages are clear and free from any congestion.
- Avoid any tranquilisers or sedative medication (including alcohol).
- Try sleeping in a more ‘neck supportive’ position. Memory foam pillows work really well to aid a more favourable sleeping position (or try sleeping on your side).
However, if none of these self-help remedies improve the condition, it may be time to seek some professional advice.
Consulting your physician or ear, nose and throat surgeon could be the initial way forward. There are various solutions available in this regard, such as: continuous positive airway pressure (a machine that delivers pressurized air via a face mask to maintain airway patency) – or conventional surgical procedures.
Alternatively, consulting a dental practitioner who specializes in anti-snoring mouthpieces can aid in improving the symptom, or eliminate the snoring altogether. There are various different types of mouthpieces available today. These are custom fabricated from impressions taken, and designed to facilitate a more advanced position of your lower jaw during sleep. The mouthpiece widens the respiratory opening of the upper airway (the part affected when we snore) – and by doing so, the velocity of inspired air decreases. This in turn creates less vibrations – thereby stopping you from snoring.
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