Positional Therapy , Sleep Disorders , Case Studies , Snoring

SnoringWhen breathing is partially obstructed, a harsh or hoarse sound comes out while you are sleeping. Snoring occurs when then your throat tissues relax thus causing the tissues to vibrate as you breathe in and out. The vibration creates the “snoring” sound.

While snoring may seem trivial, it may also indicate a serious health or medical condition and could very well be an irritant to your partner and other family members. As much as half of adults snore on occasions and in some cases snoring can be stopped by making lifestyle changes such as sleeping on your side, losing weight and avoiding alcohol before bedtime. In some cases, disruptive snoring may be reduced or stopped through medical devices and surgery.

Causes of Snoring

There are factors that can cause your throat tissues to relax in such a way that it partially blocks your airway. When this happens, the throat tissues vibrate. The narrower you airway, the more the tissues vibrate which causes you to snore louder. Aside from the mouth and sinuses’ anatomy other factors such as cold, allergies, weight and alcohol consumption can lead to disruptive snoring.

Nasal problems such as chronic congestion and deviated nasal septum (crooked nose) are contributing factors to snoring.

People with low, soft and thick palate may have a narrowed airway while overweight people may have excess tissues at the back of their throat that could narrow their airways. An elongated triangular tissue hanging from the uvula (soft palate) can also obstruct the airway.

Consuming too much alcohol before bedtime can easily relax your throat muscles and thereby cause airway obstruction.

Obstructive sleep apnoea is a serious medical concern as the collapse of your airway could prevent you from breathing. OSA is generally characterised by loud disruptive snoring followed by episodes of silence when you stop breathing. Once you stop breathing, your brain prompts you to wake up snorting or gasping. This pattern can go on several times per hour during sleep which robs you of a peaceful and restful night’s sleep.

When to See a Doctor

Aside from the usual noise during sleep, other symptoms of snoring includes daytime sleepiness, restless sleep, difficulty in concentrating, sore throat in the morning, chest pain at night, choking or gasping at night and high blood pressure. These symptoms depend on the cause of snoring.

If your snoring causes you to wake up gasping or choking and that your snoring has become disruptive that your partner also experience a restless night’s sleep, it is time to consult a doctor as your snoring could be an indication of obstructive sleep apnoea. Note that children who snore can have obstructive sleep apnoea too.

How you snore is an indication of “why” you snore. If you snore with your mouth closed, your tongue may the cause of your snoring. If you snore with an open mouth, the problem may involve the throat tissues. Snoring while on your back may be an indication of positional snoring. Changing positions will most likely stop your snoring. However, if you snore at any position during sleep, the condition may be quite severe and may require a consult with a qualified doctor.

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