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What is snoring and how is it resolved?

Updated on February 11, 2016

At some point in everyone’s life they will either come across a snorer or be a snorer. However, what exactly is it, what causes it, and are there any ways to rectify this issue?

What is snoring?

Snoring is a sound that is made when there is vibration of the nose, the throat and also the palate located in the mouth. The intensity of this will vary from person to person which are due to a variety of factors as discussed below.

Regardless, over time, for those with excessive levels of snoring it can result in an actual loss of sleep due to the fact that you can be wakened by these vibrations if they are particularly violent. The end result of this is that it can increase how tired an individual is.

This in turn can have a serious impact on their day to day living, and especially their job. It is of particular worry if the individual’s job involves constant concentration, such is the case with career drivers such as truck and bus drivers. A momentary lapse in concentration can result in dire and sometimes fatal consequences.

What factors can exacerbate snoring?

As mentioned, the vibration of various structures in the head and neck are responsible for snoring. This is itself caused by the relaxation of the airways that occurs in these areas when you are sleeping. Interestingly, there is also narrowing of the airways despite this relaxation. This in turn alters the normal pressure of the air ways, in turn causing the aforementioned vibration effect.

This won’t happen in everyone though and some people can live their whole life without actually go through a period of snoring.

However, as with other disorders of the airway, smokers are particularly susceptible to heavy snoring sessions. The reason for this is that due to the nature of smoking itself, there is already constriction of the airways. Therefore, when they are asleep the further aforementioned air way constriction will occur which ultimately drastically alters the pressure in the air ways.

Similarly, for those that are extremely overweight or obese they have the problem whereby if they either on their back or their side that they have an excessive amount of additional weight pushing down on their airway. This further narrows the airways and in turn results in an excessive amount of snoring.

Allergens in the air can also be the issue. It is not uncommon for dust mites in the fabric of beds to cause an allergic reaction in people, and one of the areas that this attacks is again the airways which, as with smoking and obesity also cause the airway to narrow. Thankfully though, the elimination of one (or all of these factors depending on your lifestyle) can help to alleviate snoring. However, it may not fully go away and instead some interventions may be required.

Ways to rectify the issue

An old fashion way that had very little merit at all to alleviate snoring was to sew tennis balls on the back of your pyjamas and then lie flat on your back. This partially worked, although the reason why it only partially worked is that when you were on your back, it was so uncomfortable that you couldn't actually fall asleep!

Whilst it did remove the problem for a short period of time, it soon returned when the person fell asleep whilst on their side. Therefore, it wasn’t exactly an ideal resolution to this problem.

Thankfully though, over the years there have been a plethora of anti-snoring devices released on the market with some being more successful than others. The most successful devices to treat snoring come in the form of anti snoring mouthpieces. There are other options on the market, but these are usually anti-snoring nasal strips which do little to alleviate the problem, but certainly cost a lot of money.

It may seem surreal initially to have anything in your mouth whilst you sleep, but it is the most effective way of curing snoring. When it comes to any anti-sleep device though, clearly a crucial aspect of it is the comfort of this device. Due to this it is best to opt for a mouthpiece that is composed of flexible material. The benefit of this is that it will be free to adapt to the shape of your mouth whilst you sleep.

Alternatively, there are also options on the market that allow you to mould the mouthpiece to the exact shape of your mouth (including your teeth). This is more akin to a mouth guard that rugby players use.

Regardless of what type of device you purchase, it is extremely important that it has been approved by the appropriate regulatory bodies in your country. Further, an extensive Google search as well as recommendations from your doctor should form the basis on which anti-snoring device you purchase.

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