Snoring is very common. As many as 20 percent of men between the ages of 30 and 50 snore every night. 5% of women of the same age are snorers. With age, the number of both snoring men and women increases further.
Snoring is not just a disturbing or embarrassing phenomenon. It can also reveal things about human well-being and health.
1. Can a person snore unknowingly?
There are many types of snoring: snoring, which does not disturb the snore’s own sleep, but the sleep of the person sleeping next to him, and snoring, which also disturbs the snore’s sleep. In addition, there are snorers with breathing breaks. With the latter two, sleep does not nourish or relax, which impairs the next day’s state of alertness. Poor quality sleep can feel like fatigue, headaches and inability to concentrate. It can also threaten health and cause heart problems and depression. It is estimated that about half of people snore sometimes, for example, during the flu or after a night out.
2. Why do women start snoring after menopause?
It is estimated that one in five middle-aged men snores every night, and half as many women of the same age. The disorder becomes more common with age. Every second and every third female over the age of 60 snores.
After menopause, women begin to catch up with men. Hormonal causes may contribute to this, as a decrease in estrogen dries the upper respiratory mucosa, and in some people, dry nasal mucosa may be a contributing factor to snoring.
Probably the main reason for postmenopausal snoring is overweight and age-related loosening of the pharyngeal tissues.
Overweight people have accumulated fat around their necks, which constricts the airways. A snoring sound is formed when the air flow causes vibration in the tissues of the pharynx.
3. Is snoring dangerous?
Snoring is dangerous if it is accompanied by breathing breaks, as they can predispose to brain or heart problems, for example.
Snoring itself is also dangerous if it interferes with sleep and causes daytime fatigue. Drowsiness and fatigue increase the risk of accidents not only for the snorer but also for a person sleeping in the same room as him.
4. How can snoring be reduced?
Overweight person should lose weight. Even a few pounds of weight loss may help with snoring.
Some only snore on their backs. They can try to reduce their snoring with a shirt with a tennis ball pocket sewn on the back. Belts with cushions have also been developed for posture therapy. These means seem so unpleasant that a person prefers to sleep on his side.
Not taking a night cap and quitting smoking will help. Alcohol relaxes the throat muscles too much, and tobacco increases swelling in the upper respiratory tract. Sedatives predispose to snoring.
A stuffy nose and large tonsils make your breath loudly. Nasal congestion can be caused by allergies, benign tumors of the nasal mucosa, or nasal anatomical stenosis due to oblique nasal septum. Polyps are treated by a doctor and septal oblique needs a surgery.
5. Would changing the pillow help?
Sometimes snoring is removed by changing the pillow and mattress. The cushion affects the position of the head and neck. When the pillow is at a suitable height, it changes the position of the head. In this case, the cervical spine is slightly extended and the upper respiratory tract remains open. The pillow is always selected individually. When a mattress is unsuitable for its user, the sleeper often seeks a supine position.
6. Is there help for snoring at the pharmacy?
Sprays and patches are sold for self-care of snoring. They may help some, most do not, as the causes of snoring vary. If the cause is, for example, throat structure or bite problems, the patch will not help them.
Some have received help from a snoring rail placed between their teeth. It brings the lower jaw a little forward, allowing air to pass through the throat even better.
It is often a good idea to find out the cause of snoring first with a doctor and only then obtain treatment and possible equipment.
7. When should a snorer go to the doctor?
You should always see a doctor if snoring is harmful to yourself or your partner. If snoring repeatedly takes energy from the snorer the next day, medical help is needed.
The snoring sound can momentarily rise to 80 decibels, which is equivalent in volume to traffic or shouting.
Before long, the noise and the resulting fatigue will start to hurt the relationship.
8. What happens at the doctor’s office?
At the reception, the doctor examines the patient’s throat, checks the position of the nose, bite, jaws and neck, and weighs the patient. In addition, the patient’s symptoms, medications and diseases are reviewed.
It is a good idea to prepare for the reception by recording a snoring sound on your mobile phone. If sounds indicate breathing breaks, the patient undergoes sleep registration. To do that, he gets the device home for the night. The device registers, among other things, heart rate, blood oxygen pressure, breathing breaks, diaphragm movements, etc.
Based on the stored data, the doctor will be able to determine how severe breathing breaks are and decide on treatment.
9. How are breathing breaks treated?
If snoring is associated with severe breathing breaks, the patient will often have access to a CPAP device. CPAP device therapy keeps the constricted upper airways open during sleep. The treatment is performed with air pressure applied through a nasal mask. The device is used every night continuously.
Current CPAP devices are small in size and keep only a quiet hum. Most of those who received the device are happy with the treatment, as it has a big impact on the quality of sleep and the next day’s alertness.
10. Is there a surgical treatment for snoring?
Previous large pharyngeal dilation operations have been almost completely abandoned due to the associated disadvantages and poor results.
RFA, or radiofrequency therapy, can be recommended for snorers who have problems with a stuffy nose. The treatment reduces the bulges inside the nasal passages with an electrically heated electrode. Treatment is quick and can be done at the reception under local anesthesia.
If the snorer has large tonsils, removing them can make life and sleeping much easier.
7 reasons for snoring
1. The nose is stuffy
Among other things, the flu, sinusitis, allergies, smoking, dry air, and nasal septal skew can cause nasal congestion. When the nose is blocked, it may lead to snoring.
2. The person has sleep apnea
Snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea causes shortness of breath during sleep and often also snoring. A Breathing break typically ends in a wheezing and waking up. The quality of sleep suffers from waking up, so during the day the person may feel very tired.
Sleep apnea is most common in middle-aged men who suffer from mid-body obesity. In women, the incidence of sleep apnea increases after menopause.
3. Upper airway resistance syndrome
Upper airway resistance syndrome differs from sleep apnea in that it does not cause significant breathing breaks. Otherwise, the symptoms are similar: snoring, nocturnal awakenings, and daytime fatigue.
The syndrome is caused by narrowing of the upper respiratory tract, such as the pharynx. When there is increased resistance in the airways, inhalation intensifies and pressure fluctuations occur in the chest.
Patients with upper respiratory resistance syndrome are often younger than sleep apnea patients. They are also usually of normal weight.
4. Excess fat has accumulated in the body
Being overweight increases the likelihood of snoring. An overweight person may have excess fat in the neck and throat area that constricts the airways. Being overweight also predisposes to sleep apnea.
5. The structures of the throat are narrow
Snoring can sometimes be due to structural factors. For example, a thick and soft palate, large tonsils, and a long palate tab can constrict airways and cause snoring.
6. Alcohol or medications relax the pharyngeal muscles
Alcohol and sedatives make a person more likely to snore. They relax the muscles of the pharynx and upper respiratory tract and reduce a person’s innate ability to prevent airway obstruction.
7. The sleeping position is bad
Snoring is typically most common and intense when a person is sleeping on their back. This is because the airways can become constricted by gravity.