Snoring occurs when the structures in the tongue, upper throat, soft palate, and uvula vibrate against the tonsils and adenoids. Snoring deteriorates with age. It is a common condition that can affect anyone, although it occurs more frequently in men and people who are obese or overweight.
Snoring occasionally is usually not life-threatening, though it is mostly a nuisance for your bed partner and also affect the quality of your own sleep.
Why Do Some People Snore?
Snoring occurs when there is an obstruction to the flow of air through the mouth and nose. Air flow can be obstructed by some factors such as:
- Obstructed nasal airways: Some people snore only when they have a sinus infection or during allergy seasons.
- Nasal polyps: Deformities of the nose such as nasal polyps can also cause obstruction which can lead to snoring.
- Poor muscle tone in the tongue and throat: Tongue and throat muscles can be too relaxed, which allows them to collapse and fall back into the airway. This can be as a result of excess intake of alcohol, sleeping pills, or deep sleep. The aging process can also cause further relaxation of these muscles.
- Bulky throat tissue: Being obese can lead to bulky throat tissue. Children with large tonsils and adenoids often snore.
- Long soft palate and/or uvula: Uvula is the dangling tissue in the back of the mouth. A long uvula or soft palate can narrow the opening from the nose to the throat. When these structures vibrate and bump against one another the airway becomes obstructed, thereby leading to snoring.
Health Risks Associated With Snoring
Health risks of habitual snoring includes:
- Interruptions of breathing. This condition is known as sleep apnea, where breathing is interrupted for a few seconds to minutes during sleep caused by partial or total obstruction or blockage of the airway.
- Light sleeping. Waking up so many times a night interferes with the normal pattern of sleep.
- Strain on the heart. Prolonged suffering from sleeplessness often causes high blood pressure (hypertension) and may cause enlargement of the heart, with higher risks of stroke and heart attack.
- Poor night’s sleep. This leads to sleepiness during the day and can interfere with your quality of life and increase risk for car accidents.
- Frequent waking from sleep, even though you may not realize it
Home Remedies for Snoring
- Instead of lying flat on your back, get a few extra pillows and prop yourself up in bed. This will prevent the tissues in your throat from falling into your air passages.
- Raise the head of your bed by placing several flat boards under the legs at the top end of the bed.
- Sleep on your side with your arms wrapped around a pillow. Though you may not be able to remain in that position all through the night, but it helps. Sleeping flat on your back should be avoided because it causes your tongue and soft palate to rest against the back of your throat, thereby blocking the airway.
- In cases of extreme snoring, you can use a neck brace – the kind people with whiplash wear – to stop their snoring. It works by keeping your chin extended so your throat doesn’t bend and your airway remains open. You don’t have to use a stiff plastic brace.
- Reduce bedroom allergens such as pet dander, dust, and mold to ease nasal stuffiness by vacuuming floors and drapes. Change sheets and pillowcases often.
- Quit smoking because tobacco smoke irritates mucous membranes, causing your throat to swell and narrowing the airway. Smokers also have more problems with nasal congestion.
- For people who are overweight, losing 10 percent of your body weight can help by easing constriction of the upper airway.
- Don’t eat a heavy meal or drink alcoholic beverages within three hours of your bed time.
- If you’re regularly taking any kind of medication, talk to your doctor if you are regularly taking medication that hinders your sleep. Some drugs can make snoring worse, including sleeping pills and sedatives.
Also, you can try drinking up to three cups of tea made from stinging nettle herb if your snoring is a seasonal problem. This drink helps soothe inflammation caused by pollen allergies.
To prepare the tea:
- Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1 tablespoon of the dried leaf.
- Cover the tea and let it steep for 5 minutes.
- Strain and drink.
- Drink one cup of tea just before bedtime.
Image source: medicalnewstoday.com
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