If you’ve ever had a partner who snores, you’ve undoubtedly been woken up in the middle of the night more than once. Given that between 30-50% of adults report snoring, it’s more than likely that someone in your bed is snoring at night. Sometimes a gentle (or not-so-gentle) nudge will be enough to make your partner stop, but some cases require more advanced measures.
In this article, we’ll explore both the common causes and effective treatments for snoring, including use of the Somnowell™ anti-snoring device, so that both you and your partner can sleep soundly throughout the night.
What Causes Snoring?
We all know the familiar sound of snoring. A cross between a chainsaw and a motorboat, there are few sounds as irritating, especially when you’re trying to sleep. But what’s actually going on when someone is snoring?
Snoring is defined as noisy breathing during sleep. When throat muscles relax to the point that the air passageways become narrow and elastic, they start to vibrate, causing an audible noise. Snoring is also caused by the tongue falling backwards into the throat, causing partial or complete blockage of airways and an increase in air pressure, resulting in more vibration. When relaxation of the throat causes complete blockage of airways, breathing temporarily stops, which causes the snorer to awaken abruptly. This is known as Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA).
Some cases of snoring occur on a nightly basis, while others are more intermittent. On the surface, snoring is nothing but a nuisance, but in reality, snoring can cause detrimental effects on the health of everyone affected. Although still not fully understood by scientists, sleeping is an essential process for maintaining psychological and physical health. Frequently disturbed, irregular sleep can cause daytime dysfunction, an increased risk of heart disease, and other serious health issues.
If you have any of the following snoring-related symptoms, please consult a doctor:
- Excessive sleepiness despite regular sleep hours
- Headaches in the morning
- Weight gain despite typical eating and exercise habits
- Waking up frequently during the night, choking or gasping for breath
- Change in daytime cognitive function, including a reduction in attention level, concentration, or memory
Tips to Stop Snoring
While there are some home remedies you can try to help reduce snoring, it’s still recommended that you see a doctor if you experience breathing difficulties while sleeping. There is no surefire cure that works every time, but trying some of the following methods may help you or your partner stop snoring:
- Maintain a healthy weight and diet. Many people don’t realise that being overweight can significantly contribute to snoring. As fat accumulates around the neck, the fat tissue puts more pressure on the airways, increasing the likelihood of OSA. By keeping a healthy weight and diet, not only will you feel better across the board, but you’ll also put less pressure on your airways while you sleep.
- Drink lots of water and quit smoking. When you’re dehydrated, your nose and soft palate can become sticky, which makes it harder for air to pass through cleanly. Smoking can have similar side effects. By staying hydrated and quitting smoking, you can significantly improve the quality of your breathing.
- Sleep on your side. When you sleep on your back, your tongue can relax to the point that it falls back into your throat, impeding your airways and potentially causing OSA. The weight of fatty tissue under your chin can also contribute to this pressure. By sleeping on your side, you remove this unnecessary pressure to your breathing canal. If you have difficulty staying on your side, sleep scientists recommend sleeping with a full-body pillow that prevents you from rolling over onto your back.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol before bed. When you drink alcohol or consume certain drugs, your muscles become more relaxed. While this can make it easier to fall asleep initially, the relaxation of your throat muscles will contribute to increased vibration, which causes snoring. Ironically, even sleeping pills can contribute to increased snoring, as your muscles become more relaxed. Avoid drinking within three hours before bed, and consult with your doctor about use of medication.
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule. An erratic sleep schedule causes significant stress on your body. A lack of sleep can result in weight gain, cognitive fatigue, and other physical stress, which can result in snoring. Once you finally do get to sleep, deeper, more intense sleep can cause too much relaxation of the throat, which causes snoring. Keep a regular, balanced sleep schedule as much as possible.
- Keep nasal passages clear. When you sleep, you should be breathing through your nose, not your mouth. Having your mouth open can obstruct your breathing passages. Use allergy medications such as antihistamine tablets and nasal sprays to keep your nasal passage clear. Avoid allergens like dust by periodically cleaning your pillows, ceiling fans, or other bedroom items that may accumulate dust – especially if you only experience these symptoms while sleeping. A hot shower before bed or the use of a neti pot can also help clear up your nasal passageways before you sleep.
- Use an anti-snoring device. If the above home remedy options don’t help with your snoring, it’s recommended that you use an anti-snoring device. Anti-snoring devices range from nasal strips, to throat sprays, to CPAP devices, to appliances that hold your jaw in place. At Vitality Dental, we recommend the Somnowell™ sleeping aid as an effective long-term solution for combatting snoring and OSA.
The Somnowell™ Anti-Snoring Device at Vitality Dental
The Somnowell™ sleeping aid is a slim-line chrome cobalt mouthguard that maintains proper jaw positioning while you sleep. The device is custom-fitted to your mouth to ensure maximum comfort and effectiveness. The device is a durable, more comfortable option than plastic alternatives, lasting over 10 years, and it is far less painful and expensive than nasal and oral tract surgeries. This device is the most effective treatment for snoring, with studies showing that 95% of people who use the device experience an improvement in snoring.
At our Pulborough Sussex dental office, we can take a series of dental impressions and measurements that are sent to the medical experts at Somnowell™. You will then receive your device at your next visit, with our dental experts ensuring the device fits comfortably.