What Is Snoring?
Snoring: The loud, un-ignorable interruption in the middle of the night that keeps you or your partner from getting a full night’s rest. Snoring happens to just about everyone, but for some people, it can be a chronic issue that causes discomfort, and/or emotional friction between a snorer and their partner.
Sometimes, snoring is nothing more than a nuisance, but occasionally, it’s a sign of a more serious health condition. So if you or your partner are experiencing chronic snoring, it’s important to learn more about what causes and treatments of snoring, and when you should see a physician.
When you doze off, your muscles relax. Sometimes, the tissues in the back of your mouth collapse to obstruct your airway. As air passes through your relaxed tissue, it makes the tissue vibrate and causes you to snore. The more your airway narrows, the louder your snoring becomes. Snoring only occurs when there is total facial and throat relaxation, which is why it doesn’t happen when you’re awake.
There are many factors that can lead to snoring. The anatomy of your airway can play a big role. If your mouth has a low, thick soft palate or an elongated uvula, or if you are overweight, your airway may narrow and become obstructed as your mouth and throat relax during the sleep cycle. Inflamed, enlarged, or swollen sinuses can also cause or exacerbate snoring, as can blocked nasal passages or a deviated septum. Alcohol consumption can trigger snoring, as it is a depressant that relaxes the muscles of the throat. Swelling in the throat from allergies or a cold can also contribute to snoring.
Additional risk factors include:
- Being a man
- Sleep position
- Family history of snoring
- Nasal problems – Deviated septum or chronic congestion
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Certain medications
Snoring can disrupt a healthy, well-rested life. Unfortunately, one of the most challenging aspects of snoring is that it occurs during sleep, making it difficult to self-diagnose without someone present to observe your patterns during sleep. If you share a bed, ask your partner if you show any of the following symptoms while asleep:
- Irregular breathing during sleep
- Headache and fatigue
- Decreased concentration
- Sore throat and headaches in the morning
- Restlessness and sleep disruption
- Gasping and choking at night
- High blood pressure
- Nighttime chest pain
- Children: Low attention span, irritability, poor academic performance
Snoring is often paired with the symptoms above. If you notice any of these symptoms with your snoring, don’t ignore them. Instead, talk to your physician about treatments of snoring.
Treatments of Snoring
Although snoring can be nothing more than an annoyance, snoring is also the main symptom of more serious sleep disorders, including sleep apnea, which is why you shouldn’t ignore it. For more on sleep apnea, read our blog.
When to see a physician:
It’s important to call your physician if your snoring persists or causes disruption to you or your partner. Call your physician if you or your partner experiences the following:
- Loud, disruptive snoring
- Excessive sleepiness during the day
- Falling asleep unexpectedly
- Not breathing, choking, or gasping for air while sleeping
If your snoring isn’t indicative of a more serious sleep condition, your physician can recommend at home treatment options that may include losing weight, changing your sleeping position, and avoiding drugs and alcohol.
If the problem persists or is a symptom of something more serious, your physician may recommend further treatments of snoring such as surgery, implants, or the use of allergy medication or special airway devices.
Snoring at WWMG
If you or a loved one is concerned about snoring, talk to a WWMG Sleep Specialist about home treatments for snoring, and additional testing. If you’re concerned about yourself or a loved one’s snoring, request an appointment with one of our Sleep Medicine physicians today, and put your worries to rest.