We all know someone that snores and it could be very annoying especially for the light sleepers. We’ve all heard different reasons as to why people snore and the most commonly heard is ‘He/She is overweight that’s why they snore’ or ‘I’m very tired’. Well this isn’t entirely true as there are people that aren’t on the plus size and they snore too. So why do people snore? The reason is more complex than just having a long day or being overweight. Snoring occurs as a result of vibration of respiratory structures and the resulting sound due to obstructed air movement during breathing while sleeping.
Let me explain further, When you fall asleep, the progress is from a light to a deep sleep, and gradually the muscles in the top (roof) of the mouth, throat and the tongue (the pharynx) relax, partially blocking the air-passage inside the throat. These cause the tissues to vibrate: the narrower the passage gets, the greater the vibratory sound. This is also the reason why, if you are overweight, or have a longer uvula (the triangular tissue suspended from the palate) the extra tissues may further narrow the air-passage. That’s the reason why most overweight individuals snore. Asides that, there are various other reasons why people snore;
Why people snore?
- Being overweight or out of shape.
Fatty tissue and poor muscle tone contribute to snoring. Even if you’re not overweight in general, carrying excess weight just around your neck or throat can cause snoring.
As you reach middle age and beyond, your throat becomes narrower, and the muscle tone in your throat decreases. While you can do anything about growing older, lifestyle changes, new bedtime routines, and throat exercises can all help to prevent snoring.
- The way you’re built.
Men have narrower air passages than women and are more likely to snore. A narrow throat, a cleft palate, enlarged adenoids, and other physical attributes that contribute to snoring are often hereditary.
- Nasal and sinus problems.
Blocked airways or a stuffy nose make inhalation difficult and create a vacuum in the throat, leading to snoring.
- Alcohol, smoking, and medications.
Alcohol intake, smoking, and certain medications, such as tranquilizers like lorazepam and Valium, can increase muscle relaxation leading to more snoring.
- Sleep posture.
Sleeping flat on your back causes the flesh of your throat to relax and block the airway.
How do we fix it?
So a lot of research has been conducted and different solutions have been devised to cure/stop snoring. Some go as far as purchasing sleeping devices to help them become sound sleepers but end up looking like Darth Vader.
Snoring can be stopped by making certain changes both in one’s everyday life and bedtime rituals before sleeping
Lifestyle changes to stop snoring
- Lose Weight
If you’re overweight, dropping even a few pounds can reduce fatty tissue in the back of the throat and decrease or even stop snoring.
This can also help to stop snoring. As well aiding weight loss, exercising your arms, legs, and abs, for example, also leads to toning the muscles in your throat, which in turn can lead to less snoring. There are also specific exercises you can do to strengthen the muscles in your throat.
- Quit Smoking
Quitting is easier said than done, but smoking irritates the membranes in the nose and throat which can block the airways and cause snoring.
- Avoid alcohol, sleeping pills, and sedatives
These relax the muscles in the throat and interfere with breathing. Talk to your doctor about any prescription medications you’re taking, as some encourage a deeper level of sleep which can make snoring worse.
- Establish regular sleep patterns
Create a healthy bedtime ritual with your partner and stick to it. Hitting the sack in a routine way together can help you sleep better and often minimize snoring.
Bedtime remedies to help you stop snoring
- Clear nasal passages.
If you have a stuffy nose, rinse sinuses with saline before bed. Using a nasal decongestant or nasal strips can also help you breathe more easily while sleeping. If you have allergies, reduce dust mites and pet dander in your bedroom or use an allergy medication.
- Keep bedroom air moist.
Dry air can irritate membranes in the nose and throat, so if swollen nasal tissues are the problem, a humidifier may help.
- Change your sleeping position.
Elevating your head four inches may ease breathing and encourage your tongue and jaw to move forward. There are specially designed pillows available to help prevent snoring by making sure your neck muscles are not crimped.
- Sleep on your side instead of your back.
If you roll over onto your back, wedge a pillow stuffed with tennis balls behind your back. After a while, sleeping on your side will become a habit and you can dispense with the tennis balls.
- Try an anti-snoring mouth appliance.
These devices often resemble an athlete’s mouth guard and help open your airway by bringing your lower jaw and/or your tongue forward during sleep. While a dentist-made appliance can be expensive, cheaper do-it-yourself kits are also available.
Just incase you were wondering what the breathing facemask and mouthpiece looks like
With these you would at least be able to let other people and even yourself to sleep peacefully without the added background noise.