Snoring happens during sleep when normal airflow is obstructed or when the tissues in your throat vibrate as you breathe. It produces a hoarse or harsh sound that can vary in volume. Approximately 45% of adults snore occasionally and 25% are regular snorers.
While snoring is a common occurrence that does not warrant much concern, it could also indicate the presence of a sleep disorder. Sometimes, snoring can be so severe that it disrupts your partner’s sleep.
Several things that can affect airflow and trigger snoring include the following:
There are snoring treatments that you can receive at an ear, nose, and throat clinic to resolve chronic snoring issues. However, some people may find relief through minor adjustments to their lifestyle.
Here’s what you can do:
1. Change your sleep position
Lying on your back increases the risk of having the base of your tongue and soft palate collapsing to the back of your throat. When you breathe during sleep, this blocks your airflow and causes a vibrating sound. Lying on your side prevents this from happening. You can purchase body pillows and use them to support your body on its side to maintain the position and prevent snoring.
2. Lose weight
Snoring can be linked to obesity. This is because extra weight around the neck can compress the upper airway and narrow the internal diameter of the throat, hindering your ability to breathe during sleep.
3. Avoid alcohol
The muscles in the back of your throat relax when you’re asleep, and drinking alcohol loosens them up further. The soft muscle tissues then fall back even more, restrict airflow, and vibrate against each other when you breathe, causing you to snore.
4. Keep your bed clean
Allergens such as dust mites and pet dander may accumulate in your bedding, causing allergic reactions that can cause nasal obstruction that can lead to snoring. Keeping your bed clean reduces the amount of irritants that you come into contact with and prevents snoring.
5. Take a hot shower before bed
A hot shower before bed can provide nasal congestion relief, it allows air to move through your nasal airways slower and smoothly.
6. Stay hydrated
Secretions in your nasal passages dry out when you’re dehydrated, which can hinder breathing and result in more snoring. Drinking plenty of water keeps your body and your nasal passages hydrated.
If your snoring continues and is accompanied by the symptoms as stated below, you may have a sleep disorder known as sleep apnea . It is a condition in which your breathing is interrupted multiple times during sleep, increasing your risk of developing hypertension, heart attacks, stroke, and abnormal heart rhythm. Not all snorers have this condition, but it is important to seek treatment with an ENT specialist should you experience the following:
Learn More: What is Sleep Apnea? Is it Harmful for my Child?
Whether you’re snoring because of your lifestyle habits or due to sleep apnea, seeking treatment is key especially when it becomes disruptive. There are many effective snoring treatments that you can explore to improve the quality of your sleep.
Dr Jenica Yong and her healthcare team utilises evidence-based medicine to provide comprehensive ENT care in Singapore at their ear, nose and throat clinic. Schedule your consultation today.