Snoring is a hoarse or harsh sound from nose or mouth that occurs when breathing is partially obstructed while sleeping causing the tissue to vibrate. Statically, most of the snores but it can be acute or chronic indicating a serious health problem.
Causes of Snoring
- Mouth anatomy: A thick, low soft palate can narrow airway. Obese people have extra tissues in the back of their throats which narrow their airways. Likewise, if the triangular piece of tissue hanging from the soft palate is long, airflow can be obstructed and vibration increased.
- Alcohol consumption: Snoring can also be brought on by excessive alcohol consumption before bedtime. This relaxes the throat muscles and decreases the natural defenses against airway obstruction.
- Nasal problems: Chronic nasal congestion between the nostrils (deviated nasal septum) may contribute to the snoring.
- Insomnia: Inability to sleep can lead to further throat relaxation.
- Sleep position: Snoring is most frequent and loudest when sleeping on the back as gravity’s effect on the throat narrows the airway.
Risk factors of Snoring
- Gender: Men are more likely to snore or have sleep apnea than are women.
- Overweight: Overweight or obese people are more likely to snore or have obstructive sleep apnea.
- Narrow airway: People with long soft palate, or large tonsils or adenoids, which can narrow the airway and cause snoring.
- Drinking alcohol: Alcohol consumption relaxes the throat muscles, increasing the risk of snoring.
- Nasal problems: Nasal problems, such as a deviated septum or nose is chronically congested causes the risk of snoring to be greater.
- Hereditary: Having a family history of snoring or obstructive sleep apnea
Types of snoring
- Nasal Snoring: This occurs when the nasal passage is partially blocked. The sounds vary between consistently loud rumbling sound and whistling sound. Nasal snoring can be caused by allergy, sinus infection, deviated nasal septum, and nasal septum making it difficult to breathe through the nose and also common cold can caused nasal congestion.
- Mouth snoring: People suffering from mouth snoring tends to have blocked nasal passage, they breathe through their mouth when sleeping. This caused the soft tissue inside the mouth to vibrate and produced low rumbling sound. Also, enlargement of the tonsil may also caused mouth snoring.
- Tongue snoring: Tongue can easily be identified by inconsistent high pitched sound. This occurs when the tongue becomes too relaxed and fall back into the throat obstructing the airflow. Alcohol consumption, use of sleep medication, overweight also contribute to the occurrence of tongue snoring.
- Throat snoring: This is the loudest and chronic type, it is caused by apnea. It occurs in all sleep position with noise of no rhythm, the muscle and tissue in the throat becomes relaxed resulting in throat collapsed in which air cannot pass through the lungs.
Symptoms of Snoring
The symptoms of snoring includes
- 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
- Lousy breathing when sleeping
Diagnosis of snoring
Snoring can be diagnosed in the following ways:
- Physical examination: Questions were asked by the health care provider ranging from medical history in other to know the severity and types
- Imaging: Imaging test, such as an X-ray, a computerized tomography scan or magnetic resonance imaging. These tests show the structure of the airway for problems, such as a deviated septum.
- Sleep study: Based on the severity of the snoring and other symptoms. Sleep study will be conducted. However, for detection of other medical problems and other sleep symptoms, an in-depth analysis of the breathing during sleep by a study, called a polysomnography. In a polysomnography, there is connection of too many sensors and observed overnight, the following will be observed during the test
- Brain waves
- Blood oxygen level
- Heart rate
- Breathing rate
- Sleep stages
- Eye and leg movements
Treatment of snoring
Home remedies for snoring are:
- Lose weight: People who are overweight tend to have extra tissues in the throat that contribute to snoring. Losing weight can help reduce snoring.
- Sleeping position: Lying on the back allows the tongue to fall backward into the throat, narrowing the airway and partially obstructing airflow. Sleeping on the side prevent snoring.
- Raising the head of the bed: Raising the head of the bed to about 4 inches may help to stop snoring
- Nasal strips or an external nasal dilator. Using of adhesive strips applied to the bridge of the nose help to increase the area of the nasal passage, enhancing breathing. A nasal dilator is a stiffened adhesive strip applied externally across the nostrils that may help decrease airflow resistance to breathe easier. Nasal strips and external nasal dilators are not effective for people with obstructive sleep apnea.
- Treat nasal congestion or obstruction: Having allergies or a deviated septum can limit airflow through the nose. This forces to breathe through the mouth, increasing the likelihood of snoring.
- Limit or avoid alcohol and sedatives: Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages at least two hours before bedtime. Sedatives and alcohol depress your central nervous system, causing excessive relaxation of muscles, including the tissues in the throat.
- Quit smoking: Smoking cessation may reduce snoring, in addition to having numerous other health benefits.
- Get enough sleep: Adults should aim for at least seven hours of sleep per night. The hours of sleep for children vary by age but usually between 10 to 13 hours.
Snoring accompanied by obstructive sleep apnea treatment include,
- Oral appliances: Oral appliances are form of dental mouthpieces that help the position of the jaw, tongue and soft palate to keep air passage open.
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP): This approach involves wearing a mask over the nose or mouth while sleeping. The mask directs pressurized air from a small bedside pump to airway to keep it open during sleep.
- Upper airway surgery: This procedure involves opening of the upper airway and prevent narrowing during sleep using different methods. This technique includes uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), maxillomandibular advancement (MMA).
Complications of snoring
Aside from disrupting a bed partner’s sleep, if snoring is associated with Obstructive sleep apnea, there are other complications, including:
- Daytime sleepiness
- Frequent frustration or anger
- Difficulty concentrating
- High risk of high blood pressure, heart conditions and stroke
- Behavior problems, aggression or learning problems.
- Increased risk of motor vehicle accidents due to lack of sleep