Snoring is a common issue for many adults. My husband and several friends of mine snore. In fact, snoring is way more common in men. Did you know that? From sawing logs to sleep apnea, snoring can range anywhere from annoying to downright dangerous.
Snoring can be as benign as simply making it hard for your partner to sleep or it can be as dangerous as sleep apnea, which causes people to stop breathing while they sleep. Today, I want to give you all some very important snoring facts and ideas for simple snoring remedies and lifestyle changes that can lead to better sleep and better health.
Types of Snoring and Their Causes
There are four types of snoring. They’re all variations on a theme, but the final one, sleep apnea is more than just loud. It’s dangerous, so pay attention and see your doctor if your snoring is worrying you or ruining sleep.
Nasal snoring is the result of partially blocked nasal passages. Because these passages are blocked, air is forced out through the mouth. This can be caused by nasal abnormalities such as a deviated septum or nasal polyps. It can also be the result of the common cold, flu, allergies, or sinusitis – inflammation of the sinuses. Whatever the cause, when blocked nasal passages force air through the mouth, the tissues of the mouth and throat vibrate, causing snoring. At times, the forced air can also cause partial collapse of the airway, leading to more severe snoring.
When we sleep, the soft tissue and muscle in our throat relax, as do the muscles of the rest of our body. Tongue snoring occurs when these tissues relax so much that the tongue actually slides back into the throat and blocks airflow. Tongue snoring can be exacerbated by alcohol or sleeping pills because they cause an even further relaxation of the throat area. Those who are overweight also tend to have a worse time with this type of snoring.
Mouth snoring is caused by the soft tissues of the soft palate and uvula vibrating against each other. This snoring is most common among those who tend to breathe through their mouths when they sleep. As with tongue snoring, mouth snoring can be worsened by excess weight.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
This is the one you need to pay attention to most. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) has been linked to many different long-term health effects. As with other types of snoring, OSA is caused by the relaxation of the soft tissues and muscles of the mouth and throat. Unlike other types of snoring, however, OSA, is truly dangerous.
With OSA, the tissues of the mouth and throat relax so much that they completely or almost completely block all airflow, causing those who suffer from it to stop breathing. This can last for up to 10 seconds and results in the brain sending out emergency signals to the body. These signals cause those with OSA to wake up, gasping for air, or to snort to open airways. This cycle of not breathing and then gasping for air can occur multiple times a night, leading to sleep that is far from restful. OSA is most common in those who are overweight.
What makes OSA so dangerous is its long-term health effects. Over time, OSA causes stress on the heart, which results in a higher risk of developing high blood pressure and a higher risk of stroke, heart attack, and diabetes.
How to Stop Snoring
Knowing the types and causes of snoring is only half of the snoring information you need to know. We also need to talk about how you can stop snoring. Believe it or not, there are a zillion snoring remedies on the market. But there are also a few super simple fixes to try at home first. If you can get your snoring under control, you’ll improve your overall health, and you’ll feel much more rested.
Any type of snoring is made worse by sleeping on your back. Try to sleep on your side to reduce or eliminate your snoring. Using a body pillow can help you sleep comfortably on your side and can reduce or eliminate snoring.
If you’ve put on a few pounds, consider trying to take them off again. Excess weight isn’t always the cause of snoring, but it is often a contributing factor. Losing those extra pounds may help you lose the snoring as well.
Drinking alcohol as much as four to five hours before sleep can worsen snoring. Alcohol and sedatives further relax your mouth and throat muscles, leading to a worsening of snoring, so avoid both if you can.
Practice Good Sleep Habits
It may sound odd, but sleeping “too hard” can cause snoring. Extra long days can lead to being overtired when you finally go to sleep. This causes your body to sleep “too hard”. This means that your body will plunge you into a deep, hard sleep where your body becomes so relaxed that the muscles in your mouth and throat become floppy, leading to snoring. For more on sleep habits check out this popular sleep habits post.
Keep Your Nasal Passages Clear
If you are a nose snorer, opening up those passages could help you reduce or eliminate your snoring. Take a hot shower before bed to help open up your nasal passages. A neti pot is also useful for helping to soothe an open nasal passages.
Don’t Neglect Your Pillows
Dust mites can and do take up residence in our pillows. These little creatures are invisible to the naked eye, but they can cause real issues with snoring. Dust mites and dander from pets that collect in our pillows can cause allergic symptoms which can aggravate snoring. Run your pillows in the air fluff cycle of your dryer every two weeks and replace them every six months to help with allergies that can cause snoring. Here’s one brand of pillow we like right now.
As with pretty much every other part of our body, our sinuses work better when we’re fully hydrated. The secretions in our noses and soft palates become stickier when we’re dehydrated, so push that water. Women should aim for 11 cups a day, while men should shoot for 16.
These are simple lifestyle habits and changes that can help various types of snoring. If none of these work then consult your doctor. Or you might try some of these.
Make Good Decisions with this Snoring Information
As they old saying goes, knowledge is power. Now than you have all of this snoring information, it’s time to put it to use. If you suffer from snoring, use the snoring information in this post to help you figure out what type of snoring you have and the best way to alleviate it. If you think you might be suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea, see your doctor as soon as possible to address this health issue.
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