By: John Dare Okafor
Trust me, there’s nothing annoying in life like the inability to sleep because the next person in the room is snoring heavily. It gets more annoying when you have had a long day, and the plan is to come back home to have a goodnight rest only to keep vigil at night. It gets frustrating when you keep patting them at night to see if the progression of the snore will end, only for it to continue with a higher tempo. You see them the next morning, complain to them about your inability to sleep due to the harsh sound that came from them while they slept; they either deny it or they apologise about it. Truthfully, unless someone else tells them, most people who snore aren’t aware of it.
Snoring is the hoarse or harsh sound that occurs when air flows past relaxed tissues in your throat, causing the tissue to vibrate as you breathe. It is a sleep disorder. During sleep, the muscles loosen, narrowing the airway, and as we inhale and exhale, the moving air causes the tissue to flutter and make noise.
Sometimes, this indicates a serious health problem and for some people it can be a chronic problem. It can also be a nuisance and discomfort to your partner. There are situations whereby married couples don’t sleep in the same bedroom because the other person is a chronic snorer.
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Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a sleep disorder snoring is often associated with. But it’s important to note that not all snorers have OSA. Snoring can be caused by a number of factors, such as the anatomy of your mouth and sinuses, alcohol consumption, allergies, sleeping position, a cold and your weight. It’s important to seek a doctor’s help in some cases of snoring to get medical treatment. However, in the cases where snoring is being caused by other factors – like alcohol consumption – it can be treated with changes in lifestyle, which includes:
- Sleep on your side: This may be all you need to allow air to flow easily and reduce or stop your snoring.
- If overweight, lose weight: You can do this by reducing your calories intake and also by regular exercise daily.
- Make use of a pillow while sleeping: Raising your head up on your bed by four inches may help reduce your snoring by keeping your airways open.
- Limit or avoid alcohol before bed: Alcohol can relax the throat muscles, causing snoring. Try not to consume alcohol for at least two hours leading to your bedtime.
- Smoking should be stopped: Smoking only worsens your snoring, it is an unhealthy habit.
- Get enough sleep: Seven to eight hours of sleep is recommended for each night.
To treat snoring accompanied by Obstructive Sleep Apnea, your doctor may recommend treatments such as:
- Use of a CPAP ( continuous positive airway pressure) machine
- Upper airway surgery
- Correct structural problems in the nose
- Use of oral appliance
- Wear palatal implants
- Radiofrequency tissue ablation