Snoring: Snoring is the vibration of respiratory structures that can affect anyone and resulting sound due to obstructed of the air movement during breathing while sleeping. The sound may be soft, but in most cases, it can be loud and unpleasant. Snoring during sleep may be the first alarming sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Occasional snoring is not very serious and is mostly a nuisance for your bed partner.
Snoring occurs when air flow through the mouth and nose is physically obstructed. Airflow may be obstructed by a combination of factors, including:
Obstruction of the nasal passages: Some people may be snore only during allergy seasons or when they have a sinus infection. Deformities of the nose such as a deviated septum or nasal polyps can also cause obstruction.
Muscles to weakness in the throat and tongue: When we are asleep, the area of the back of the throat sometimes narrows as the muscles relax, and even close off temporarily. Evidence suggests that snoring will get worse over time if untreated. The vibrations that occur in snoring appear to damage blood vessels that supply muscles in the head and neck. Over many years, this causes the muscles to weaken. Normal ageing causes further relaxation of these muscles.
Soft palate: A long soft palate or a long uvula can narrow the opening from the nose to the throat, causing snoring.
Overweight: Overweight may cause bulky throat tissue. Children with large tonsils and adenoids often snore.
Snoring is a noticeable sound when you breathe in during sleep. Healthcare professionals use a grading system to assess the severity of snoring. There are three grades of snoring-
Grade one snoring- also known as simple snoring, is where a person snores infrequently and the sound they make isn’t particularly loud.
Grade two snoring-is where you snore on a regular basis that is more than three days a week.
People with grade two snoring can experience mild to moderate breathing difficulties during sleep. This affects sleep quality, making tired and sleepy during the day.
Grade three snoring- is where you snore every night, so loudly it can be heard outside the room.
With grade three snoring have a related condition known as obstructive sleep apnoea. This is where the airways partially or totally blocked for about 10 seconds.
The lack of oxygen triggers your brain to take out of deep sleep into a lighter state of sleep, or to wake up for a short period to restore normal breathing. Repeated episodes can occur throughout the night, causing to feel very sleepy the next day. This may have an adverse impact on day-to-day activities.
- Lifestyle changes are usually advised by your physicians as a first step to treat snoring. These include:
- Losing weight if overweight
- Not drinking alcohol
- Quit smoking if you smoke.
Exercising regularly – this help strengthen neck muscles, which can help prevent the airways narrowing
If lifestyle changes don’t help, a number of anti-snoring devices that can help prevent snoring. The different types of anti-snoring devices are below.
If snoring is mainly coming from the nose, you may benefit by using nasal strips or nasal dilators.
If snoring is mainly coming from the mouth, you may benefit from chin strips or a vestibular shield. Chin strips are strips of tape placed under the chin, which help to stop mouth falling open while you sleep.
A vestibular shield is a plastic device that is similar to a gum shield. It fits inside the mouth and blocks the flow of air.
Mandibular advancement device (MAD)
If snoring is mainly due to the base of the tongue vibrating, a mandibular advancement device (MAD) may be recommended.
Medication can’t directly treat the symptoms of snoring, but it helps treat some of the underlying causes.
Such as, if allergic rhinitis is causing snoring, an antihistamine nasal spray may relieve the symptoms.If your snoring is particularly troublesome of having a blocked nose, a short course of nasal decongestants can help. Nasal decongestants, never use for more than seven days in a row because it makes your symptoms worse.
Your physicians can advise whether medication will help your snoring.
Several surgical techniques can also be used to correct snoring.
Surgery isn’t usually recommended for people with sleep apnoea because there are more effective treatments available, such as using breathing devices to help with breathing.
If there are obvious anatomical problems contributing towards snoring, such as having large tonsils, remove the tonsils may be recommended.
Otherwise, there are four main types of surgery that are used to treat snoring:
- Palate implants Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)
- Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)
- Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) of the soft palate
- Uvulopalatoplasty (UP)