How Can I Stop Snoring
Another sunrise and here you are saying once again “ How can I stop snoring ?”
Since time immemorial the question “ How can I stop snoring ?” remains a challenge; and you are here because you, your partner, family and friends are all seeking an answer. And there are answers, but like many things in life, it depends…
Apart from the sheer inconvenience and frustration, snoring has some serious potential repercussions and ramifications, including high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes and can be a cause of depression, especially later in life, and for men in particular.
The solution has three key steps – identifying what kind of snorer you are, aligning the solutions that suit your snoring type and your lifestyle and seeking medical advice from a doctor with experience and expertise in sleep disorders.
What Type Of Snorer Am I
There are five broad types of snorers, each readily identifiable with some simple observation by you or your partner.
- Nose – essentially your nostril tissues are flexible and a deep breath in will see them contract and limit airflow. A deep breath out will see them flare.
- Mouth – this relates to you breathing through your mouth when asleep
- Tongue – this is where your tongue sits towards the back of your mouth when at rest
- Soft Palate – the tissues towards the back of your throat above the base of your tongue and in excess or are very flexible
- Combination – slightly unhelpful is the “all of the above” – try to identify what might be the more prevalent element
Things Need To Change
Once you and your Sleep Disorder Specialist Doctor have a reasonable grasp of the type of snorer that you are – “I am a Nose Snorer!” – this begins to set the scene for the pathway to a remedy at best, or at least some minimisation of your snoring.
Principally there are four Tiers (not tears) to explore that should be approached generally in the following order.
Most snorers start their journey towards answering the question “ How can I stop snoring ?” by examining their lifestyle choices and experimenting with change, reduction or even complete elimination of some of the factors listed below.
- Fall Asleep Quicker – recent research has indicated that snoring can be more prevalent in the early phases of sleep, and during lighter sleep. The quicker you can fall to sleep, and into deep sleep, the more likely it is that your snoring may “skip” due to rapid deep sleep
- Change Sleep Position – whether you sleep on your back, side or front, if you are a snorer, then change position and practice getting to sleep in an alternate laying position. It will feel strange for the first few nights, but may be the answer
- Lose Weight – research conducted by recognised Sleep Disorder Physicians conducted over a ten year long term program have been able to clearly link reduction in snoring to lower levels of obesity. In one study, 50% of snoring was eliminated in participants who lost a minimum of 5.0kg over a six month period
- Stop Smoking – the human throat and airways are sensitive to smoke and will easily swell and become inflamed. In addition, nicotine has an inflammatory effect. These constrictions are the primary drivers of snoring
- Reduce Alcohol – to minimise alcohol interfering with your sleep and therefore increasing your risk of snoring, your alcohol consumption needs to be moderate to low, and you should not drink within 3 hours before you go to bed,
- Reduce Recreational Drugs – similarly (and related to) to smoking and alcohol consumption mentioned above, you need to stop using recreational and harder drugs at least 3 hours before bed
- Stay Hydrated – water plays a key role in our health generally, and with snoring staying hydrated is supported by clinical research to reduce snoring. Drink regularly throughout the day, and a large glass before bed, plus a glass by the bed will assist with the short term “dry throat/mouth” issues
- Change Your Sleep Hygiene Habits – Sleep Hygiene is simply a term used to describe good sleeping habits – getting enough sleep, the right kind of sleep, the right time of day and so on. Keep a diary of the time you go to bed, how soon you fall asleep, how frequently you wake, how long you sleep and what time you wake. Do that for a week and share the outcomes with you Doctor and you may be closer to the solution to “ How can I stop snoring ?”
Snoring Devices Equipment & Products
If the lifestyle or “natural” options above still leave you sounding like a chainsaw in an earthquake then it’s time to start exploring some of the equipment designed to assist snorers to resolve their snoring problem. Each of the antis-snoring devices mentioned in the following list links to a more detailed overview, specification and review.
There are a range of snoring medications available to assist with the prevention of snoring, from simple Over The Counter anti-inflammatories pills and nasal sprays to more complex prescription only corticosteroids and sleep assistance drugs. Your local Chemist can offer assistance with OTC anti-snoring products. It would be professionally and ethically inappropriate for the ASA to make any recommendations regarding prescription drugs other than to say, that throughout your “ How can I stop snoring ?” journey, you should be regularly consulting your General Practitioner, and in more significant situations, a Sleep Disorder Specialist. Together they may explore a suitable medicinal solution and advise you accordingly.
Clearly, anti-snoring surgery is a major decision and one that your General Practitioner and a Sleep Disorder Specialist will be your best source of advice.
There are currently four preferred surgical options, with new processes being explored as technology helps refine the delivery mechanisms for surgeons.
- Removing excess soft tissue above the tongue to widen the airway
- Nasal surgery to correct a septum abnormality or remove nasal polyps
- Bone grafts or bone removal in the upper airways
- Implants in the soft palate to reduce flapping by stiffening the tissues
Each has their own merits and advantages, as well as risks. Surgery is often a last resort for chronic snorers and unfortunately, as with all of the prior alternatives there remains no guarantee that you will discover the answer to “ How can I stop snoring ?”. However, by following these steps, about 75% of significant snorers find a way to satisfy their snoring problem.
The American Sleep Association (ASA) was founded in 2002 by a group of Sleep Professionalsseeking to improve Public Health by increasing awareness of the importance of Sleep in ensuring a high quality of life, as well as the dangers of Sleep Disorders. Through our own Research, and investing in the Research of others, the ASA Members and Board are committed educating millions of people on the importance of sleep health and to resolving Sleep Disorders, Insomnia and Sleep Apnea.
- The National Heart Lung & Blood Institute
- The Mayo Clinic Sleep Center For Sleep Medicine
- The US National Library Of Medicine
- The Stanford Center for Sleep Sciences and Medicine