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What is snoring?

Chronic snoring could signal a more serious issue. Fortunately, there are simple steps you can take to address it. So, what is snoring?

Unlike the peaceful, rhythmic breathing while sleeping, snoring produces loud, unpleasant noises. Those who snore emit rattling, vibrating sounds while breathing, disrupting sleep's quality. Although everyone snores occasionally, chronic snoring can significantly disturb the sleep of both the snorer and their partner, affecting overall well-being.

Snoring is quite common, especially among men, with nearly 24% of men regularly snoring. Women are not exempt, with 17% also experiencing snoring. If a partner or family member's snoring disrupts your sleep night after night, you understand the impact it can have. Addressing snoring is crucial not only for personal health but also for those people around.

Signs of snoring include waking up feeling unrested, daytime fatigue or irritability, and a dry, sore throat upon waking. Factors like evening alcohol consumption or the use of sleep aids such as tablets or sedatives can increase the likelihood of snoring. Additionally, some people only snore when sleeping on their backs, while others snore regardless of sleeping position.

  • Sleeping on your back

    When you sleep on your back, gravity causes the relaxed muscles in your mouth and tongue to fall back, potentially restricting your airway.

  • Mouth structure

    Some individuals have thick tissues at the back of their mouth, such as an enlarged uvula or tonsils/adenoids, which can contribute to snoring.

  • Fatigue

    Not getting enough sleep can lead to increased muscle relaxation during sleep, potentially exacerbating snoring.

  • Nasal congestion

    Allergies, hay fever, colds, and flu can lead to a stuffy nose, blocking the airway and causing snoring. Chronic sinus infections can also contribute to snoring.

  • Alcohol

    Drinking alcohol in the evening relaxes the muscles in the back of the throat, increasing the likelihood of snoring.

  • Medications

    Taking sleeping tablets or sedatives to aid sleep can also relax throat muscles, increasing the risk of snoring.

  • Depending on the underlying cause of your snoring, there are various options available for management. Initially, simple home remedies can be attempted. However, if these prove ineffective, alternative solutions may be explored.

  • It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate treatment options based on individual circumstances and the underlying cause of snoring.

  • If home remedies do not alleviate snoring, medical interventions may be considered. These can include oral appliances designed to keep the airway open during sleep, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, which involves wearing a mask that delivers pressurized air to keep the airway open, or surgical procedures to correct anatomical issues contributing to snoring.

  • It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional to determine the most appropriate treatment options based on individual circumstances and the underlying cause of snoring.

    • Nasal snoring results from partially blocked nasal passages, producing sounds ranging from consistent loud rumbling to whistling noises.

    • Causes include allergies, sinus infections, nasal polyps, or a deviated nasal septum, with common allergens including dust mites, mold, animal hair, and pollens.
    • Mouth snoring typically occurs when nasal passages are obstructed, prompting mouth breathing during sleep. Vibrations of soft tissues inside the mouth lead to a low rumbling sound.

    • Enlarged tonsils can also contribute to mouth snoring, potentially leading to infections due to the lack of nasal filtration.
    • Tongue snoring is characterized by inconsistent high-pitched sounds, often resulting from a relaxed tongue obstructing airflow by dropping back into the throat. Factors such as alcohol consumption, sleep medication use, and obesity can increase the risk.

    • Using a mouthguard while sleeping can help alleviate tongue snoring, and devices preventing back sleeping may also prove beneficial.
    • Considered the most serious type, throat snoring is associated with sleep apnea, where breathing interruptions occur multiple times during the night.

    • Throat snoring lacks a rhythmic pattern and can occur in any sleeping position. Relaxation of throat muscles and tissues leads to throat collapse, obstructing airflow to the lungs.

Identifying the specific type of snoring can guide the selection of appropriate interventions to alleviate symptoms and improve sleep quality.


Source: accessed 14 June 2019.