June 02, 2020
Snoring Solutions: What Causes Snoring and How to Prevent It
Everything You Need To Know About Snoring
Everyone knows what snoring sounds like, and everyone knows how irritating it can be. But what exactly is snoring, and what causes it? It may not be as benign as you think.
Snoring occurs when air passes through the relaxed muscles in your breathing airway. This air passing through causes the excess tissue in your throat to vibrate, and in turn, produces the awful sound that your partner is always complaining about! And the more excess tissue you have in the throat area, the worse the snoring will be!
What causes snoring?
Since extra tissue near the throat increases your chances of snoring, it’s no surprise that people who are overweight and women who are pregnant frequently snore.
There are also genetic factors that can contribute to snoring. These include having enlarged adenoids, tonsils, and a long uvula.
Allergies and congestion can also play a role. Really, anything that prevents you from breathing normally can cause snoring. This includes alcohol and muscle relaxants, since they relax the muscles in your throat.
Normal aging also tends to cause these muscles to relax, which explains why snoring is more common in the elderly population.
Sleeping on your back may also make you more likely to snore, which is due to gravity and the tongue falling into the back of your throat. When that happens, the diameter of the throat becomes smaller and you’ll be more apt to snore.
It’s important to know that everyone has the possibility to snore once in a while.
In fact, around 40% of men and 24% of women are habitual snorers. Light snoring might not even disrupt your quality of sleep. The problems that occur are related to heavy snoring.
Chronic, loud snoring can be an excellent indicator that you may have a disorder called sleep apnea. This disorder is serious business. It is a risk factor for high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, heart disease, and other health problems. Sleep apnea affects approximately 25 million Americans and almost a billion people worldwide, and 80% of people remain undiagnosed, left puzzled as to why they seemingly can’t get a good night’s sleep! Don’t be one of those people!
Besides snoring, what are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
If you have any of the following symptoms in conjunction with your snoring, you may be suffering from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA):
- Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS)
- Choking or gasping while you sleep
- Pauses in breathing noticeable to your bed-partner
- Nighttime heartburn
- Morning headaches
- Morning jaw pain
- Sore throat when you wake up
- High blood pressure
- Chest pain at night
- Moodiness or depression
- Frequent urination throughout the night
Frequent, habitual snoring is more than just a nuisance for you and your partner and may be indicative of sleep apnea. If you experience any of the above symptoms along with your snoring, download Ognomy, our innovative telemedicine application. The app will allow you to book an appointment with a board certified sleep medicine practitioner who will be able to answer your questions and make an assessment of your sleep-related breathing, and you will be one step closer to a better night’s sleep!
How do you prevent snoring?
There are some behavioral changes that can help to prevent snoring, such as:
Weight Loss—Weight loss can help to reduce the excess tissue around your throat which can help to reduce snoring. If you are overweight, losing weight should be a priority.
Positional Therapy—Snoring is most common if you sleep on your back. Changing the position of how you sleep may help reduce snoring.
Avoiding Alcohol—Avoiding alcohol and other muscle relaxants can decrease snoring. These drugs relax the tissue in your throat, which causes snoring as air vibrates against that tissue as you breathe.
Note: If your snoring is due to Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), these treatments may not work and you’ll require more extensive treatment and care.
Depending on the severity of your snoring, our doctors at Ognomy may want to conduct an at-home sleep apnea test. These tests are referred to as a home sleep test (HST) or home apnea test (HAT).
What does a home sleep test entail?
A home sleep apnea test is a simplified monitor that tracks your oxygen and breathing levels including airflow and breathing effort while you sleep.
You will receive a package containing easy to read instructions and testing equipment. The equipment includes a small probe that goes over your finger to measure oxygen and pulse rate, and a small probe that goes close to your nostrils to measure airflow. A comfortable belt is also placed around your chest to measure its rise and fall as you breathe.
You wear the device for a single night, then you send it back in the next day. Your study is hand scored by a registered sleep technician and read and interpreted by your doctor. You’ll then be notified to schedule a follow-up telemedicine visit, all through the Ognomy app, to review the results with your doctor.
This home test is usually much more convenient, comfortable, and less expensive than an in-lab sleep study. However, sometimes the HAT is unreliable and an in-lab study might be necessary. The doctors at Ognomy work closely with in-lab sleep centers and will recommend a study in the center if necessary.
Snoring is harmless, what’s the big deal?
Does your partner complain of your snoring?
Do you often feel drowsy the next day even though you think you got enough sleep?
If you answered yes to one or both of these questions, you should download Ognomy. Snoring my seem harmless to you, but it could be a symptom of an underlying condition like sleep apnea. Our doctors will get you on track to better, more restful sleep in no time, and you never even have to leave the comfort of your own home! Sleep apnea comes with devastating side affects, like problems with cognition and depression.
If you are a frequent snorer, you do not want to let it go untreated. No matter what causes snoring for you, we’re here to help you to prevent it. Download Ognomy for sleep apnea care made smart.