Snoring is one of the most common symptoms and signs of sleep apnea, although it can be a problem for many people without sleep disorders! The reality is that many of us will snore once in a while, and around 40% of people reportedly snore on a regular basis.
Can You Really Just Stop Snoring?
Learning that you are a noisy sleeper from a friend, family member or partner can be an embarrassing and concerning experience, so it is natural to want to find a way to stop snoring as soon as possible. Addressing the reasons behind snoring, and how to eliminate triggers that cause episodes to occur is the first step to a quieter, more restful night. However, it’s important to stop and note that although it is possible to avoid snoring completely, we usually advise patients to reduce episodes, rather than see treatments as a total cure because occasional snoring is normal for everyone!
The Best Way to Get Rid of Snoring While Sleeping…
…Starts with understanding what snoring actually is and how it may be related to conditions like sleep apnoea. Many patients are puzzled about the science behind their noisy sleep behaviors, but there is a very simple explanation for what leads us to snore at night. Firstly, medical research, especially those based in hospital based settings, has confirmed that snoring is caused by vibrations that are triggered by air passing over relaxed tissues in your mouth, nose, and throat. When these tissues relax, they then partially obstruct the airway, which disrupts air flow, causing them to vibrate. These vibrations, often related to based sleep studies, create a sound as you breathe during sleep.
Apena Patients Can Suffer From Loud Snoring!
As much as snoring may be an embarrassing and often inconvenient condition, in most cases it is generally harmless for a patient. The muscles in our body relax naturally when we sleep, occasionally triggering a snoring episode. For apnea patients, snoring is only a problem when presented with several other symptoms and is followed by a disruption in airflow or pauses in breathing entirely. This is often heard as a cough, choke, or gasp during snoring intervals. These type of episodes are a result of a patient’s muscles relaxing the excessive or abnormal tissues in the throat, narrowing and obstructing the airways. As a result, the body begins to work harder to pull oxygen into the lungs, increasing the flow of air over the tissues, meaning greater vibrations and louder snoring. It’s essential to prioritize lung care during these episodes. If the patient exhibits symptoms such as persistent cough or shortness of breath, they may have lung nodules which require attention. A study referral to a reputable study hospital can help in assessing and addressing any underlying respiratory conditions.
You Can Reduce Snoring Through Treatment and Lifestyle Choices
There are certain medical conditions and lifestyle factors that can contribute to the likelihood of snoring as well as a diagnosis of sleep apnea. Fortunately, removing snoring triggers, managing other health conditions, or undergoing preventative treatments can reduce the likelihood of a snoring episode. Some dental issues might also contribute to problems in the airway, leading to increased snoring. It’s crucial for families to be aware of these potential issues and consider regular checks at a dentistry practice to address any oral-related concerns.
Medical Conditions Closely Linked to Snoring
Obesity or being overweight
Using sedating medications (even those prescribed to you)
Smoking or vaping
Certain sleeping positions, such as sleeping on your back
Congestion in the airways, caused by colds, allergies, etc.
Small growths in the nose called nasal polyps
Abnormalities in nasal passage anatomy, such as bends, blockages
Underactive thyroid Swelling of the tonsils and other tissues around the throat
Hoping to Quit Snoring? You’ll Need to Determine First If it’s Sleep Apnea
Treatment and reduction of snoring episodes is more effective when a patient understands the causes of their problems. It can also be essential for those suffering from frequent episodes to rule out any serious medical conditions, ensuring their bedtime behavior isn’t a sign of a larger issue like sleep apnea. You may require the help of a partner or medical practitioner to determine if your snoring is a sign of a sleep condition such as apnea, as someone will need to monitor breathing patterns, and any episodes of disrupted breathing, gasping, or choking during the night. To stop certain types of snoring, one might need to look into dental solutions, as issues in the airway might be related to dental problems. Visiting a dentistry practice can provide insights and potential treatments that target the root cause of the snoring.
When It’s Time To Speak To a Doctor About a Snoring Concern
Normal snoring should not have any effect on breathing. Although it may be an annoyance to anyone sharing a bed with you, these episodes are usually harmless, with little to no effect on your health. If your snoring is accompanied by common sleep apnea symptoms such as partial awakenings, fragmented sleep, and daytime sleepiness, it may be time to consider a discussion with a specialist. Sometimes, issues related to the dental structure and teeth can cause obstructions in the airway, leading to exacerbated snoring or even sleep apnea. Visiting a dentistry practice can provide insights into whether the shape or position of your teeth and jaw might be contributing to your nighttime noises.
Get Help For Sleep Apnea If These Symptoms Accompany Loud Snoring:
Frequent episodes of loud snoring Pauses in breathing during sleep Waking up gasping or choking Waking in the morning with a dry mouth or sore throat Daytime sleepiness or fatigue, with or without a morning headache Frequent nighttime urination Changes in mood, including depression Difficulty focussing Cardiac issues, such as high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease
Testing for Sleep Apnea
Only sleep clinics and medical practitioners with specialist expertise and equipment can test for a confirmed apnea diagnosis. Screenings can take place physically in a clinic or from the comfort of your home, based on preference, current health conditions, and budget. Bodily functions and behaviors are analyzed overnight to assess any unusual changes in heart rate, snoring, muscle movement, sleep staging, and breathing patterns. If the testing confirms a sleep apnea diagnosis, treatment can be arranged that targets both the snoring and other ongoing symptoms.
Treat Sleep Apnea to Stop Snoring at Night
There are a range of Sleep Apnea treatments on the market to help patients reduce snoring episodes and manage other ongoing symptoms, from the common CPAP machine to alternative holistic treatments such as dental devices and lifestyle changes. Many of these approaches focus on widening the narrowed airways caused by apnea, allowing airflow to move freely into the lungs, reducing vibrations in tissues, and limiting snoring episodes.
Common Apena Treatments To Reduce Snoring While Sleeping
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy is an effective and well-known treatment method for apnea and is reported to reduce the likelihood of snoring. The machine delivers continuous airflow to a patient through a breathing mask or tube, pushing air through the respiratory system into the lungs, and widening the airways during the process.
Unfortunately, CPAP machines are notoriously noisy, so although treating your apnea may relieve snoring issues, it will likely only be replaced by the humming sounds of the system running through the night.
Surgery is only usually a recommended option for those suffering from apnea and snoring if other treatments have not been successful or tolerated well. The procedure works to reconstruct parts of the upper airways to make breathing easier. Success rates for the most common OSA and snoring surgery, Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) can range from 16-88% for apnea symptoms (according to a 2021 study published in BJBMS) with a clinical success rate of 70-95% for eliminating snoring successfully (reported in JAMA Otolaryngology Laser-Assisted Uvulopalatoplasty for Snoring).
Surgery comes with risks and complications, which need to be considered when weighing up treatment for apnea and snoring issues. Short-term problems include bleeding, risk of infections, mouth dryness, oral pain, and difficulties with eating and drinking. However, more long-term, complex conditions can also develop, such as voice changes, taste disturbances, nasal regurgitation, damage to teeth and mouth, and in more severe cases, death.
Can I stop snoring without a CPAP or surgery?
It is possible to treat snoring and apnea without a mask or surgery, depending on the severity of your condition, other health issues, and ongoing symptoms. Our team has an invested interest in holistic and alternative therapies for both apnea and snoring treatments, helping patients have a more restful, quieter night’s rest with more approachable and convenient treatment options.
Dental appliances can be used to treat both apnea and snoring, meaning you don’t need an apnea diagnosis to acquire one. They work by re-positioning the lower jaw forward, and holding the tongue in place so it does not block the airway. Our specialized dental appliances (or oral devices) are a popular long-term treatment option for patients and often the chosen therapy for sleep apnea.
BenefitsPositional Therapy Sleeping positions can play a major part in your snoring troubles, and also provoke apnea episodes. Adjusting sleeping positions can relieve airways that become narrow during the night, using positional therapies such as side sleeping or adjusting pillows to raise the head (we recommend a 60-degree angle). Those struggling with mild apnea symptoms and snoring issues can also invest in devices fitted across the waist or back, that help maintain ideal sleep posture.
Support With Lifestyle Changes: Your lifestyle choices affect many areas of your health and impact the body’s ability to achieve restful and quiet sleep. Our team works with many patients on positive lifestyle changes, prescribing adjustments in diet, and physical activity, and removal of bad habits to target well-known triggers that aggravate apnea and snoring episodes. Alcohol is well-known for its impact on good quality sleep, but many patients are surprised to learn of the consequences it can have on snoring and apnea symptoms. The relaxation well-loved from drinking can often ease the muscles in the airway, allowing tissue to restrict and obstruct the airway. Limiting drinking, or avoiding alcohol 3 hours before bed can help improve symptoms. Quitting smoking offers many health benefits, so if you’re suffering from apnea symptoms or snoring troubles this should always be one of the first on your list! Cigarettes, cigars, pipes (and potentially vaping, as suggested in recent studies) can influence sleep disturbances, inflamed airways and increase fluid retention issues. Sleeping pills can aid restless sleep when needed but come with side effects for those suffering from sleep apnea and snoring. Similarly to alcohol, the sedating effects of these medications can increase the relaxation of the throat, triggering apnea and snoring episodes. The relationship between body weight, apnea, and snoring has been studied in many patients, with weight loss seen as a recommended treatment for reducing snoring and improving apnea symptoms. This is because as body size decreases, the tissues in the throat also reduce in the airways, helping to ease breathing during the night.
Contact The Sleep Matters Apnea and Start Sleeping Without Snoring
Sleep Matters LLC is dedicated to helping you get a good night’s sleep and improving your overall quality of life, which is why we provide accessible treatments and screening for patients across Kansas to confirm a diagnosis and get them the help they deserve. Our team understands that snoring can be a frustrating and embarrassing issue, and you need a dedicated clinic to ensure treatment is tailored to your specific needs. We offer guidance and compassion from your first contact with the Sleep Matters Team through to diagnosis and treatment, working with you to develop a realistic and successful treatment plan that improves both sleep and overall health.
Start Sleeping Better Today…
If you’re concerned about your snoring troubles, it’s time to take the first step towards more restful sleep and better health! Contact our office today to schedule a sleep apnea testing appointment and start sleeping soundly.