Snoring is a common problem that affects around 90 million American adults. It affects both genders although men make up the majority. It exacerbates as you age but tends to reduce after the age of 70. But what exactly makes a person snore? It happens when the throat narrows while breathing during sleep. The muscles relax and the tongue falls backwards. As you breathe in, your throat vibrates and produces the sound of snoring.
Snoring can be caused by several factors like nasal congestion, a deviated nasal septum, having a cold, drinking too much alcohol before sleeping, and even sleeping on your back as gravity narrows the airway. A more serious cause is obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) where the throat muscles relax to the point of blocking the airway.
We all know the dangers of smoking but you may be surprised to learn that it can contribute to snoring. It irritates the membranes of the nose and throat and causes swelling and catarrh (build-up of mucus). Quitting smoking is much easier said than done so you should aim to gradually reduce it.
Sleeping on the back can cause the tongue and soft palate to collapse to the back of the throat and hinder breathing. By sleeping on your side, your tongue is prevented from falling back. If you tend to sleep on your back, place a full body pillow to stop you from rolling so that you continue to sleep sideways.
Snoring can affect anyone although people who are overweight are more at risk. Since snoring and OSA go hand-in-hand and OSA is more common in those who are overweight, losing weight can significantly reduce or even eliminate the problem. If you’ve been diagnosed with OSA and weight is an issue, consider following a healthy diet and exercise plan to steadily lose weight.
Alcohol may make you drowsy enough to fall asleep but it also relaxes the airway muscles more than normal during sleep and causes snoring. Try to avoid having it at least three hours before bedtime so that it doesn’t interfere with your sleep.
Keeping yourself hydrated has many benefits, one of which is helping to reduce snoring. If you’re dehydrated, the mucus in your mouth and throat become thick and cause the surfaces to stick together. This could worsen snoring. Try to drink the recommended 6-8 glasses of water a day. Space it out so that you don’t need to drink too much before bedtime which will lead to frequent trips to the bathroom.
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For some, sleeping with the upper body elevated reduces snoring by allowing for a bigger inflow of air. A foam wedge is the perfect tool to keep your body raised although you can use ordinary pillows too.
A mattress that sinks and provides little support to your head will only worsen snoring. What you need is one that maintains the natural curve of your neck so that your head and neck don’t move into awkward positions and hinder your breathing. Nuvanna is one such mattress. It’s designed by an expert with over 20 years of industry experience resulting in a mattress that provides an even surface to sleep on and supports individual parts of your body for better sleep. It features a multi-layered construction with a cooling gel layer on top, a motion-absorbing middle layer, and a bottom support layer.
Surgery is always a last option and is only considered when other methods have been exhausted. If conventional treatments don’t work for you, your doctor may suggest undergoing surgery like a somnoplasty, uvuloplasty or a tonsillectomy. Snoring doesn’t just disrupt your sleep; it also keeps your bed partner awake. If you find yourself snoring, try making changes to your lifestyle by incorporating these snoring-reduction methods. Not only will you and your partner sleep better but you could also avoid the many health risks that are associated with snoring.