Snoring. It’s hard to find someone who hasn’t been bothered by snoring, the sound generated during sleep by vibration of loose tissue in the upper airway.
Snoring is one symptom of a group of disorders known as sleep disordered breathing.
It occurs when the soft palate, uvula, tongue, tonsils, and/or muscles in the back of the throat rub against each other and generate a vibrating sound during sleep.
Twenty per cent of all adults are chronic snorers, and 45 per cent of normal adults snore occasionally.
As people grow older, their chance of snoring increases.
Approximately half of all individuals over 60 snore regularly.
In some cases, snoring is a symptom of a more serious disorder called obstructed sleep apnea (OSA).
Snoring is associated with physical problems as well as social stress.
People who don’t suffer from OSA may be diagnosed with socially unacceptable snoring
(SUS), which refers to snoring that is loud enough to prevent the sleeper’s bed partner or roommate from sleeping.
There are several major causes of snoring, including:
- Excessively relaxed throat muscles. Alcohol, drugs, and sedatives can cause the throat muscles to become lax, and/or the tongue to pull back into the airway.
- Cysts and tumours. Cysts and/or tumours of the throat can trigger snoring.
- Large uvula. The piece of tissue that hangs from the back of the throat is called the uvula. Individuals with a large or longer than average uvula can suffer from snoring when the uvula vibrates in the airway.
- Large tonsils and/or adenoids. The tonsils (tissue at the back of either side of the throat) can also vibrate if they are larger than normal, as can the adenoids.
- Excessive weight. Overweight people are more likely to snore. This is frequently caused by the extra throat and neck tissue they are carrying around.
- Nasal congestion. Colds and allergies can plug the nose, creating a vacuum in the throat that results in snoring as airflow increases.
- Structural problems of the nose. A deviated septum or other nasal problems can also cause snoring.
Several surgical procedures are available for treating chronic snoring, and there are a number of alternative remedies for snoring, but all need to be discussed with your doctor.
Adults with a history of snoring may be able to prevent snoring episodes with the following measures; avoid alcohol and sedatives before bedtime; remove allergens from before bed; and/ or sleep on your side, not your back.