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Stop Snoring Now

Updated on July 25, 2010

Snoring wrecks lives - cure it

'Stop snoring!'

How many times have I woken up to those words, either in bed or on the sofa in front of the TV?

Of course it isn't as easy as that. You can't just decide to stop snoring - but you can decide to work towards stopping. And you HAVE to make that decision. Snoring is not a problem that will just go away. In fact, it's likely to get worse, and the consequences can be severe - and by 'severe' I mean potentially fatal.

I got into the area of sleep disorder therapy for personal reasons - to save my marriage and, as I quickly discovered, to save my life. Now, four years later, my practice has grown to the point where I'm doing almost as much anti-snoring treatment as I am dentistry, which goes to show you the size of the problem - especially as the vast majority of snorers don't even acknowledge that they HAVE a problem.

And as befits a big problem, this is a large subject, so I'll cover it in a series of articles, offering advice and appropriate links as we go.

So let's start with the basic question: 'What is snoring?'

The main cause of snoring is partial closure of the airway during sleep. The airway closes because weak or excessively relaxed muscles 'sag' into it, causing a blockage. We still need to get the same amount of air into and out of our lungs but, because of this partial closure, it now has to pass through a narrower tube. This causes the soft tissue in the upper throat to vibrate, making the sound we know as snoring.

Some snorers stop breathing for a few seconds at a time - sometimes as often as once a minute. This is called Obstructive Sleep Apnoea ('Apnea' if you're in America). This is caused by the airway closing completely during sleep and is where things start to get serious. We'll deal with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) in a future article.

Certain factors increase the likelihood that you will snore:

  • Physiology – The shape and size of the airway in some people makes snoring more likely.

  • Being Overweight – Excess body fat increases the chances of snoring - especially excess fat around the neck and jaws.

  • Age - As we get older our throat muscles can weaken, making them less resistant to the 'sagging' that causes snoring.

  • Lifestyle - Alcohol increases the likelihood of snoring because it causes extra relaxation of the muscles in the neck and throat. The same applies to sleeping tablets.

  • Being male - 55% of snorers are men.

In the next article, We'll look at the problems snoring can lead to. We shall also discuss the steps you can take to stop snoring, sleep well and live better.

You'll find a few ads for anti-snoring devices around this post. I don't endorse them because I don't know whether they work or not. I can, however, fully recommend the cheap and effective therapy this link will take you to:

http://dentistintown.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=11&Itemid=15

Tom Nolan is a dentist with over 30 years’ experience.

If you found this article useful, you should check out his book

Watch Your Mouth – An Owner’s Manual.

Also available as a download. This book is packed with practical advice and will tell you everything you need to know to keep your mouth healthy, trouble-free and beautiful for the rest of your life.

You can get in touch via Tom's practice: The Dentist in Town

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