What is Snoring?
Snoring is the sound made by vibrations of the tissue in the mouth, nose & throat. It is caused by turbulence inside the airway during breathing. The turbulence is caused by a partial blockage anywhere from the tip of the nose to the vocal chords. The restriction is usually always there but becomes worse while we are asleep.
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Snoring commonly leads to the following risks
Serious memory loss
Poor mental concentration and judgment
Deterioration of work, family and personal relationships
Inefficiency, mental irritability, and unsociability
Sleep apnea. Read more about sleep apnea
Lifestyle Factors causing Snoring
Snoring is often the result of overindulgence in some of life’s pleasures. The following are the causes of snoring and by controlling them, you can become quiet at night.
Overeating and/or lack of exercise: Overeating and/or lack of exercise leads to an increase in fat around the throat. Being overweight by just a few kilograms can be the cause of your snoring.
Alcohol and Sleeping Pills: Alcohol travels to all areas of the body and slows the brain’s responses, causing the muscles to relax even more than during a normal night’s sleep. The added relaxation of the muscles causes the airway to collapse more readily causing further snoring. Additionally, alcohol can induce obstructive sleep apnea (where breathing stops for short periods during sleep) in individuals who are otherwise just snorers.
Smoking: Cigarette smoke irritates the lining of the nasal cavity and throat causing swelling. If the nasal passages become congested it is difficult to breathe through your nose because the airflow is decreased.
Sleeping Position: When sleeping on your back, gravity increases the tendency for the tongue and soft palate to fall back into the throat. This creates a narrowing of the airway and the likelihood of airway obstruction that leads to a number of breathing abnormalities.
Lifestyle changes for treatment of snoring
Snoring is something that cannot be stopped at will, neither is it something that can be ‘cured’. It can, however, be successfully controlled.
If you cannot stop drinking or smoking you can modify the effects by having your last drink or smoke at least 4 hours before you go to bed. This will give your body sufficient time to reduce the effects of the alcohol and smoke and help you to sleep without snoring.
Weight loss with accompanying fat reduction will certainly help to alleviate snoring.
It would seem desirable to prevent snorers from sleeping on their back.
Physical factors causing snoring
Snoring may be caused by physical abnormalities that need to be identified before a control can be found:
Fat deposits around the neck – double chin
Obstruction at the back of the tongue caused by a ‘weak chin’
Small or collapsing nostrils
Enlarged nasal turbinates and nasal polyps
Large soft palate or uvula
How to treat snoring?
A custom-made oral appliance is a highly effective way to treat snoring. Oral appliances work by advancing the mandible (lower jaw) which prevents the tongue from falling back and narrowing the airway.
Several studies have confirmed that physical therapy using mandibular advancement devices are beneficial for the treatment of snoring.
Recently we have introduced oral appliances like the ZQuiet® or EMA®. in India for the treatment of snoring. Oral appliances have been in use for decades in foreign countries and are safe, effective, reversible and a cost-effective treatment without major side effects.