Snoring is a very common condition that is characterized by a noisy breathing that occurs while you sleep. According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology (AAO), snoring affects up to up to 45% of American adults.
While most people snore every once in a while, some do it on a regular basis. Unfortunately, snoring, especially when it's chronic can be a nuisance to your partner and signify a serious health condition such as obstructive sleep apnea.
The good news is that losing weight, staying away from alcohol before bed, and laying on your side while in bed can resolve this issue. There are several other treatments that may get the job done as well.
Causes of Snoring
When you're snoring, your nose or throat may be partially blocked while you're sleeping. This can cause the air to move turbulently through your airway and create the snoring sound. In the event the air becomes obstructed completely, you have a condition called sleep apnea. The most common symptoms of sleep apnea are excessive daytime sleepiness, breathing pauses, choking during sleep, morning headaches, and difficulty concentrating.
Other common conditions that are correlated to snoring include:
- Nasal congestion
- Obstructive lung disease
- Swollen tonsils
You may be unaware that you snore until your partner informs you of this habit. Once you visit a doctor about it, they'll conduct a physical exam and search for swollen tonsils, a deviated septum, and other reasons your airways may be blocked. They may also perform imaging tests like x-rays, MRIs, or CT scans. A sleep study that will measure things like your breathing and heart rate may be necessary as well.
Snoring treatment depends on the cause of your condition. Your doctor may recommend you lose weight, refrain from alcohol before bed, don't sleep on your back, and make other lifestyle changes. They may also suggest an oral appliance that will move your tongue or jaw and keep your airways open.
If sleep apnea is the root cause of your snoring, a continuous positive airway pressure or CPAP machine may help. Although surgery is rare, it may be an option in certain situations.
There are a number of things you can do to prevent a minor case of snoring. Go to sleep at the same time every evening. Elevating your head by a few inches with an extra pillow, seeking treatment for persistent nasal congestion, and placing nasal strips on your nose prior to bed can all help.