Curbing Snoring

Around 40% of all adults snore. Snoring can be very annoying for a partner who is kept awake by the noise. Often, because of this, couples sleep in separate rooms.

I remember how Dr Jack Gibson, a FRCS surgeon and clinical hypnotherapist in Ireland, told me how he used to walk around his ward late at night, suggesting to a snoring patient without waking him or her to tone their palate and silence their snoring.

Gibson said that it can be an uncomfortable experience for a patient recovering from surgery to be sleeping beside another patient who snores.

 


What causes snoring?

Snoring in children is often caused by enlarged tonsils and adenoids. Some kids with buck teeth or a very small lower jaw can mean that the tongue is too large for the space available.

A very long soft palate (the soft part of the back of the roof of the mouth) will narrow the space between it and the back of the throat and can contribute to the snoring problem.

Also, restricted air passage through the nose, for example because of a deviated nasal septum (the cartilage which divides the two nostrils) can cause a vacuum when the person inhales. This can cause snoring.

The soft tissues of the upper respiratory tract will close more easily and vibrations of the palate can occur. This is also why people snore more when they have a cold. Nasal adenoids, nasal allergies and nasal tumors can also limit their passage of air through the nose.

Often obesity results in fatty tissue pressing on the upper respiratory tract and causing it to narrow. Most obese people snore.

 

What methods are available to curb snoring?

Almost all treatments for snoring revolve around clearing the blockage in the breathing passage. This is the reason snorers are advised to lose weight to stop fat from pressing on the throat; stop smoking as it weakens and clogs the throat and sleep on their side to prevent the tongue from blocking the throat.

Other treatment that are available, ranges from over-the-counter aids such as nasal sprays, nasal strips or nose clips, lubricating sprays, and “anti-snore” clothing and pillows.

We can also explore the natural complementary medicine and remedies. These can be in the form of herbal pills, acupressure devices or specialised acupuncture.

I remember that a wrong sleeping position made me snore. Sleeping with too many pillows can stretch and narrow the air passage. Use one pillow to avoid it. Also, lying on the back can cause snoring. So, a change in sleeping position can be a help.

Snoring can cause significant relationship issues, as well as health effects of sleep deficit for the partner. Earplugs may facilitate good sleep for people sharing the same bedroom with someone who snores.

External earmuffs are not designed to sleep with. Technically, it all boils down to whether your partner is a light sleeper.




 

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