What is snoring?
Snoring is noisy breathing during sleep. It is a common condition that affects anyone, although it is more common in men and people who are overweight. Snoring gets worse with age.
Snoring once is usually not a serious problem. This is especially frustrating for your bed partner. But if you have chronic snoring, it will not only disrupt the sleep patterns of those close to you, it will damage your own quality of sleep.
It is a symptom of a health problem such as obstructive sleep apnea. If you snore frequently or too loudly, you (and your loved ones) may sleep better, so you may need medical help.
When we are asleep, the turbulent airflow causes the tissues of the palate (roof of the mouth) and throat to vibrate and cause snoring. In particular, it is a noise caused by a turbulent airflow that causes tissues to vibrate during sleep.
- It is caused by vibrating tissues in the airways of the nose and throat.
- The vibrations that cause snoring are caused by turbulent airflow through narrow airways.
- It is affected by sleep, sleeping position, and drug and alcohol use.
- It can be a problem for family members and sleeping partners.
- It can also be a sign of an underlying medical problem.
- Treatments for snoring are surgical and non-surgical.
Why do people snore?
To breathe at rest, the ideal is to breathe through the nose. The mouthpiece acts as a humidifier, heater, and filter for the incoming air. When you breathe through your mouth, these changes take place a little bit in the air that goes into your lungs. Our lungs can still use cold, dry, dirty air; But you may have noticed that breathing in very cold, dry, or dirty air can be uncomfortable. Therefore, our bodies naturally want to breathe through the nose if possible.
The nose has two parallel tubes, one on each side, called the nasal cavities. They are separated by a thin wall (septum), which is a relatively flat wall of cartilage, bone, and lining tissue (called the nasal mucosa). On the lateral side of each duct (near the cheek wall of the nose), there are three nasal turbines, which are elongated cylindrical structures that run parallel to the floor of the nose. Turbines contain many small blood vessels that work to control airflow. As the blood vessels of the turbinate increase in size, the total bulging of the turbinate and the airflow decrease. If the vessels are narrow, the turbines become smaller, and the airflow increases.
Almost everyone has a natural nasal cycle, generally shifting to the side that breathes the most every 2 to 6 hours. For example, if the right nostrils are inflamed, too much air will flow into the left nostril. After about 6 hours, the right nasal turbinate becomes smaller, and the left nasal turbinate swells, converting more breath into the right nasal passage. You may notice this cycle when you have a cold or if you have a chronic (chronic) swollen nose. The turbinates can also cause swelling from allergic reactions or external stimuli such as cold air or dust.
Symptoms of snoring
Snoring is often associated with a sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Not all snoring has OSA, but if snoring has any of the following symptoms, it may be advisable to see a doctor for further OSA evaluation:
- Witnesses breathing stops while they sleep
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Difficult to focus
- Morning headache
- Sore throat upon waking
- Sleep without rest
- Gasping or choking at night
- Chest pain at night
- Your snoring is so loud that it can interfere with your partner’s sleep
- In children, little attention, behaviour problems or poor school performance
OSA is often characterized by loud snoring, followed by silence when breathing stops or almost stops. Eventually, this shortening or pause in breathing may signal you to wake up and you may wake up with loud snoring or swelling.
You can easily fall asleep due to sleep disturbances. These respiratory breaks are repeated several times during the night. People with obstructive sleep apnea often experience periods when their breathing slows or stops at least five times every hour during sleep.
Causes of snoring
An illustration showing how narrow airways contribute to snoring. Snoring is caused by a number of factors, including the anatomy of your mouth and sinuses, alcoholism, allergies, colds, and weight.
When you fall asleep and go from light sleep to deep sleep, the muscles of the roof of the mouth (soft palate), tongue and throat relax. The throat tissue can partially block the airways and vibrantly relax.
The narrower your airway, the more powerful the airflow becomes. This increases the vibration of the tissues, which makes your snoring louder.
The following conditions affect the airways and cause snoring:
- The anatomy of your mouth: Having a short, thick soft palate can narrow the airway. Overweight people may have extra tissue in the back of the throat that can narrow the airway. Similarly, if the triangular part of the tissue that hangs from the soft palate (uvula) is elongated, the airflow can become obstructed and the vibration can increase.
- Alcohol: Snoring can also be caused by drinking more alcohol before going to bed. Alcohol relaxes your throat muscles and reduces your natural defences against airway obstruction.
- Nasal problems: Chronic nasal congestion or crooked parting between the nostrils (crooked nasal septum) can contribute to your snoring.
- Sleep deprivation: Not getting enough sleep can lead to a more sore throat.
- Sleeping position: Snoring is very frequent and loud when sleeping on your back because of the effect of gravity on the throat narrows the airways.
Risk factors for snoring
Risk factors that contribute to snoring:
- Human being: Men are more likely than women to have snoring or sleep apnea.
- Being overweight: People who are overweight or obese have snoring or obstructive sleep apnea.
- You have a narrow airway: Some may have a long soft palate or large tonsils or adenoids that narrow the airway and cause snoring.
- Drinking alcohol: Alcohol relaxes the throat muscles and increases the risk of snoring.
- Nasal problems: If you have a structural defect, such as a deviated septum in the airway, or if your nose is chronically congested, you are at increased risk of snoring.
- You have a family history of snoring or obstructive sleep apnea. Heredity is a risk factor for OSA.
To diagnose your condition, your doctor will review your signs and symptoms and your medical history. Your doctor will also do a physical exam.
Your doctor may ask your partner some questions about when and how she snores to assess the severity of the problem. If your child is snoring, ask yourself about the severity of your child’s snoring.
Your doctor may order an imaging test, such as an X-ray, CT scan, or MRI. These tests check the structure of your airways for problems such as an altered septum.
Depending on the severity of your snoring and other symptoms, your doctor may order a sleep study. Sometimes sleep studies can be done at home.
However, depending on your other medical problems and other sleep symptoms, you may need to stay in the sleep centre overnight for an in-depth analysis of your breathing during sleep through a study called polysomnography.
In polysomnography, is connected to many sensors and can be observed at night. During a sleep study, the following information is recorded:
- Brain waves
- Blood oxygen level
- Heart rate
- Respiratory rhythm
- Stages of sleep
- Eye and leg movements
What are some objective tests to measure sleep?
For those who report falling asleep during the day, it can sometimes be helpful to measure how much you sleep. Also, after treating sleep problems, we sometimes want to measure the improvement in daytime sleepiness.
Sleep can be measured with the Multiple Sleep Latency Test (MSLT). Generally, MSLT measures how fast a person sleeps during the day. This should be done after the nocturnal sleep study (polysomnogram) has been recorded the day before adequate sleep opportunity and after untreated obstructive sleep apnea. The test consists of four to five “naps,” each of which lasts 20 minutes and lasts for two hours. The person is instructed to “try to fall asleep.” Average sleep time is calculated for four or five tests. The normal time is more than ten minutes before going to bed. Excessive sleep is defined as falling asleep within five minutes.
The maintenance of wakefulness test (MWT) also measures daytime sleepiness. The person doing this test is instructed to “try to stay awake.” This is repeated for four 40-minute sessions over a two-hour period. Insomnia in all four tests is a strong target for daytime insomnia.
Some companies use these tests to prevent their employees from sleeping too much at work. In particular, airline pilots and truck drivers who experience sleep require a test to ensure public safety and productivity on the job. Unfortunately, there is no test that guarantees that someone will not fall asleep while working or driving.
What are the treatments for snoring?
The goals for treating snoring are difficult to identify. Snoring is often a problem for a bed or a roommate. Therefore, successful treatment must also include the goal of achieving a satisfactory night’s sleep for the bed or roommate. This makes treating snoring challenge. For example, If your bed partner is happy, then the snoring problem is “cured”. However, someone else’s snoring may decrease from low noise to a heavy breathing level, although there may be an unhappy bed partner.
Most procedures to treat snoring focus on reducing flapping or movement of the soft palate (roof of the mouth). Refers to palatal snoring. If the snoring originates from the back of the tongue or the sidewalls of the throat, palatal procedures are less effective.
It is advisable to look at the “success” reports of various treatments with a critical eye. If the number of nights a bed partner leaves the room is reduced from seven nights a week to one night a week, is it a success? Some would say yes. However, the bed partner (or snorer) still has to leave the room one night a week. It is important to know what the prognosis of “prevention” is before considering any treatment.
Home remedies to stop snoring
Try these other solutions for better sleep.
- Lie on your side instead of on your back.
- Raise the head of the bed a few inches.
- Use elastic strips that adhere to the bridge of the nose to widen the nostrils.
- Use decongestants to open your airways. Do not use them for more than 3 days without checking with your doctor.
- Stick to a sleep schedule.
- Snoring doesn’t seem to have a problem. But sleep apnea can cause problems.
- Even if you don’t realize it, he often wakes up from the dream.
- Light sleep. Sleeping too many times at night interferes with your normal sleep pattern, so you may spend more time in light sleep than in deep, restful sleep.
- Stress in your heart. Chronic obstructive sleep apnea often raises blood pressure and enlarges the heart with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Sleep poorly at night. It can make you sleepy during the day, alter your quality of life, and increase the likelihood of car accidents.