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What You Can Do About Snoring

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SnoringSnoring happens when air is unable to move freely through your nose and throat during sleep. This causes the surrounding tissues to vibrate, producing the familiar snoring sound. People who snore often have too much “floppy” tissue in the upper airway that is more prone to vibrate.

We list the common causes of snoring and what you can do about it.

A Stuffy Nose


You may snore if you are unable to breath easily through your nose. So a cold, flu or allergy which causes nasal congestion may cause snoring. Over-the-counter medicines or nasal strips can help open up your nasal passages, but talk to your doctor if you find your blocked nose not going away. 

The Shape of Your Nose


If you have a deviated nasal septum (symptoms include nasal congestion typically one side more than the other), it can make it harder for you to breathe and cause you to snore. Speak to your doctor if you think something like this is going on with you -- surgery can sometimes fix it.

You Sleep on Your Back


This can cause you to snore or make your snoring worse. Sleeping on your side is better, this is because if you are lying on your side, the base of your tongue will not collapse into the back of your throat, obstructing breathing. Some studies have estimated that about half of all snorers are "positional snorers", meaning that they only snore in certain positions (typically lying on the back).  So, if you are a positional snorer, simply switching to sleeping on your side is likely to help. 

The Shape of Your Mouth


If you have a low and thick soft palate, it can narrow your airway and make you snore. If the back of your tongue is large, or if your tonsils are enlarged, they can also obstruct your airway during sleep. You may be born with these things, but they can get worse if you’re overweight. Surgery can sometimes help with this, too.

Is It Your Medication?


Sedatives, muscle relaxants, and some antidepressants can relax your tongue and the muscles in your throat, causing you to snore.  Talk to your doctor if you find that the medicines you have been prescribed are causing you problems with snoring.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea


Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is a potentially serious sleep disorder. It causes breathing to repeatedly stop and start during sleep. Symptoms suggestive of OSA include snoring, daytime fatigue, excessive sleepiness, headaches or a sore throat in the morning. It’s linked to stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, so see your doctor if you think you might have sleep apnoea.

If Your Child Snores


It’s not uncommon for kids to snore once in awhile, especially if they have a cold or upper respiratory tract infection. But if the snoring is persistent, the child should be evaluated by a doctor. Children can have OSA as well. 

You Are Overweight


Obesity is the strongest risk factor for the development of OSA. The more overweight you are, the higher the risk . Losing some weight may help keep it in check -- talk to your doctor about a plan that would be suitable for you.

You Consume Alcohol


If you drink, drink moderately. Alcohol relaxes the muscles in the throat, and makes you more likely to snore.  Drink no closer than three hours before bedtime, to avoid having alcohol interfere with your sleep and increase your risk of snoring.

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Further Reading

 
The article above is meant to provide general information and does not replace a doctor's consultation.
Please see your doctor for professional advice.