Help, Their Snoring Is Driving Me Crazy

When passing from light sleep to deep sleep, the mouth, tongue, and throat muscles relax. When the tissues relax enough to block the airway partially, vibration occurs, better known as snoring. One of 70 identified sleep disorders, patients may also experience irritability, high blood pressure, difficulty concentrating, and a higher risk for motor vehicle accidents. Along with serious health concerns, snoring can also disrupt a patient’s bed partner. By scheduling an outpatient sleep study, patients can gain insight into snoring, while learning how to manage and minimize disruption.

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What causes snoring?

From weight and family history to gender and nasal defects, a variety of factors drastically raise the likelihood of frequent snoring. Mouth formation is a major factor, with snoring more likely in patients with a low or thick soft palate. Moreover, overweight patients may have extra tissues in the back of their throats that can exacerbate snoring. Obesity, nasal congestion, and using sedatives of any kind can increase the chances of snoring. To lower the likelihood of snoring, many physicians recommend managing weight as an initial plan of action. Adding an hour of walking per day can help patients stay active and achieve an optimal level of exercise.

Keeping it down

To minimize disruption and potential complications, there are several strategies to combat snoring. Since alcohol and medication can cause further relaxation of the soft tissue palate, doctors suggest limiting sedative intake before bed. Chronic nasal congestion can lead to snoring. Over-the-counter medications used to treat post-nasal-drip and related conditions can often provide enough relief for sleep. Since the throat naturally narrows, back sleeping is known to cause the loudest snoring. If used to sleeping on the back, consider shifting to the side until symptoms improve. While not viable for every patient, changing the lifestyle, diet and daily activities can often notably improve symptoms.

This is a no-snoring zone

Occasional snoring due to a cold is generally harmless, but constant or thunderous snoring can be a sign of an underlying health issue. Doctors recommend scheduling an outpatient sleep study to determine the personal causes of chronic snoring. To limit built-in risk factors, patients should focus on staying active and maintaining a healthy weight. Using over-the-counter medication to manage nasal congestion while shifting to side sleeping minimizes the likelihood of snoring. While lifestyle changes cannot solve all causes of snoring, nonsurgical treatments can effectively manage symptoms for countless patients.