Just about everybody snores sometimes. Sometimes even a baby will or your pet dog or cat. However, if the snoring is chronic and very loud, it can be very disturbing not only for your partner, but sometimes even for everybody at home. This is usually caused due to the constriction of the airway. With the airway getting narrowed, it hinders smooth breathing, thus creating the sound. By finding out about the causes and the ways to stop snoring, apart from improving your sleep and health, it will also make a great difference to your relationships too.
What Causes Snoring?
Snoring is basically caused either because of abnormalities in the soft tissues of the throat or because of poor posture while sleeping. The air passages in the nose and throat usually become constricted due to too much nasal and throat tissue, which is also known as 'floppy' tissue. Hence, the air that is inhaled and exhaled has to force its way through a narrower passage. This, as has been mentioned above, is what causes the snoring. The tongue's position can also hinder the smooth passage of air through the air passages.
It can either be mild, which means that it stops when the person who snores wakes up and shifts the position of his/her body or it can be severe, meaning that the person continues snoring, irrespective of his sleeping position.
The causes and its risk factors vary. While some are within our control, others are not.
Causes That You Cannot Control
- Advancing Age: With advancing age, not only does the tone of the muscles of the throat decrease, but in addition there is also narrowing of the throat passage.
- Hereditary Factors: Usually physical features like a narrow throat or the other physical abnormalities that have been mentioned above are inherited genetically.
- Being Male: Compare to women, men have narrower nasal and throat air passages, and hence are more liable to snore.
- Sinus Infections, Cold, Asthma, or Allergies: Breathing problems like these block nasal air passages, making inhalation difficult, which then causes a vacuum to be created in the throat, leading to noisy breathing.
Causes That You Can Control
- Being a Smoker: Smoking causes the muscles to relax while also creating congestion of the nasal passages and the lungs. This includes being exposed to second-hand smoke.
- Being Out of Shape or Overweight: Excessive weight results in fatty tissue accumulating in the neck, which results in the throat getting constricted. Loss in muscle tone and slack muscles are also contributory factors to snoring.
- Medications and Alcohol: Certain medications and alcohol lead to the relaxation of the muscles in the tongue and throat, which increases the likelihood of smoking.
- Sleeping Posture: Lying flat on the back while sleeping leads to the relaxation of the throat and tongue muscles, thus blocking the air passages.
How to Stop Snoring by Using Self-Cure Methods
If the snoring is a mild problem and is not associated with sleep apnoea
, home remedies can alleviate it. Curing your problem will lead to an improvement in the quality of life both for you and the people who live with you. Given below are some tips that will help you to prevent snoring or at least provide some relief.
- Get into Shape: One of the best remedies is shedding excess weight will help in reducing fatty tissue accumulations around the air passages. By exercising and eating healthy food, you can improve the ability of breathing easily and freely while sleeping.
- Stop Smoking: Quitting smoking or reducing being exposed to second-hand smoke can go a long way to providing relief by helping with the intensity and noise.
- Improve Your Sleeping Posture: If you sleep lying on your back, chances are high that you are aggravating your snoring problem. In this position, the soft tissues that are at the base of the throat along with your tongue have a propensity of sliding backwards, thus obstructing your air passages. If your problem is mild, changing your sleeping position by lying on your side may be one of the best remedies.
- Change the Position of Your Head: Try doing without a pillow while sleeping. Because your neck is bent when you use a pillow, it blocks the air passages. Or, you may opt for an anti snoring pillow which keeps your head at an elevated position during sleep and thus reduces snoring.
- Avoid Sedatives, Alcohol, and Certain Foods Before Bed: If you are in the habit of drinking alcohol in the evening, it is best to try to cut it down. Alcohol relaxes the muscles, including those in the air passages, which will exacerbate the snoring. Similarly, if you take tranquilizers or sleeping pills as sleeping aids, you need to be aware that these too relax the muscles. It is also advisable to avoid soymilk products and high-fat dairy milk products before going to bed. These products, due to their thickness, can prevent mucus from getting drained properly. Mucus in the throat causes the same problem of obstruction of air passages, leading to snoring.
- Keep Your Nasal Passages Clear: Breathing becomes difficult if you have a stuffy nose, which leads to noisy breathing. As a matter of fact, non-snorers or those who snore occasionally will find themselves snoring when they are afflicted by a cold or allergies that affect the nasal passage. In order to clear the nasal passages, nasal decongestants or homeopathic solutions, such as nasal strips, can be used. Nasal clips and nasal braces also help in the same way. Inhalation of steam and nasal irrigation could also prove beneficial in the treatment of nasal congestion. However, you need to avoid using antihistamines for stuffiness or allergies because these will relax the muscles of your throat, resulting in snoring.
- Throat Exercises: One of the easy ways to stop snoring at night is to do some throat exercises. There are many throat exercises to cure this problem one of the easiest exercises is to say the vowels out loud. Even if you do not say them loud, it is fine. Another best way is to stick out your tongue and then move it from left to right, without bending it. The best part of these exercises is that they can be performed any-time.
Consult your ENT doctor
in order to find out more about the medical treatments that are available and to make a decision about which one will be most suitable for curing your snoring problem.