Loud and frequent snoring can be more than just a nuisance to your partner. Snoring may indicate a serious health condition, and it can disrupt your household.
Snoring is common. Almost half of adults snore at least occasionally. Snoring occurs when air flows past relaxed tissues in your throat, causing the tissues to vibrate as you breathe, creating hoarse or harsh sounds.
Lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, avoiding alcohol close to bedtime or sleeping on your side, can help stop snoring.
In addition, surgery is available that may reduce disruptive snoring. However, surgery isn't suitable or necessary for everyone who snores.
Snoring occurs when air flows past relaxed tissues, such as your tongue, soft palate and airway, as you breathe. The sagging tissues narrow your airway, causing these tissues to vibrate.
As you doze off and progress from a lighter sleep to a deep sleep, the muscles in the roof of your mouth (soft palate), tongue and throat relax. The tissues in your throat can relax enough that they vibrate and may partially obstruct your airway.
The more narrowed your airway, the more forceful the airflow becomes. Tissue vibration increases, and your snoring grows louder. Snoring may be an occasional problem, or it may be habitual.
What contributes to snoring?
- Your mouth anatomy. Having a low, thick soft palate or enlarged tonsils or tissues in the back of your throat (adenoids) can narrow your airway.
- Being overweight contributes to narrowing of your airway.
- Alcohol consumption. Snoring can also be brought on by consuming too much alcohol before bedtime. Alcohol relaxes throat muscles and decreases your natural defenses against airway obstruction.
- Nasal problems. Chronic nasal congestion or a crooked partition between your nostrils (deviated nasal septum) may be to blame.
- Sleep apnea. Snoring may also be associated with obstructive sleep apnea. In this serious condition, your throat tissues obstruct your airway, preventing you from breathing. Sleep apnea is often characterized by loud snoring followed by periods of silence that can last 10 seconds or more. Sometimes, complete obstruction does not occur, but rather, while still snoring, the airway becomes so small that the airflow is inadequate for your needs. Eventually, the lack of oxygen and an increase in carbon dioxide signal you to wake up, forcing your airway open with a loud snort or gasping sound. This pattern may be repeated many times during the night.
To prevent or quiet snoring, try these tips:
- If you're overweight, lose weight. Being overweight is a common cause of snoring.
- Sleep on your side. Lying on your back allows your tongue to fall backward into your throat, narrowing your airway and partially obstructing airflow. To prevent sleeping on your back, try sewing a tennis ball in the back of your pajama top.
- Treat nasal congestion or obstruction. Having allergies or a deviated septum can limit airflow through your nose. This forces you to breathe through your mouth, increasing the likelihood of snoring. Don't use an oral or spray decongestant for more than three days in a row for acute congestion unless directed to do so by your doctor. Ask your doctor about a prescription steroid spray if you have chronic congestion. To correct a deviated septum, you may need surgery.
- Limit or avoid alcohol and sedatives. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages at least four hours before bedtime, and let your doctor know about your snoring before taking sedatives or hypnotics.
Will the Oxygen Pillow cure my snoring?
Perhaps. Or it may help mitigate your snoring. Snoring is a complex problem with numerous contributing factors—some of which a pillow can’t address. However, our research, testing, and experience have indicated there is a critical relationship between body position and breathing. When the head, neck, and shoulders are in a neutral, open, aligned posture, it makes breathing easier. The Oxygen Pillow was designed to help stabilize sleep posture and maximize airflow. For some snorers, this makes a modest difference, but for some it can be profound. And when it comes to improving nighttime breathing (and snoring), every bit counts.