Sleep plays a vital role in our mental and physical health. It is well documented in the medical community that sleep provides the body the opportunity to repair tissues and consolidate memories.
The harsh, irritating sound of snoring can disrupt a person’s sleep and can even be a nuisance to a bed partner. However, it can also be a symptom of an underlying health condition. If left untreated, complications attributed to snoring and a lack of sleep can often lead to a variety of health issues.
Knowing When to Seek Treatment
According to the Cleveland Clinic, an estimated 45 percent of adults snore, but many are undiagnosed. Although snoring may appear harmless, it is important to seek treatment when any symptom attributed to snoring becomes apparent.
Those who snore and experience disruptions to sleep can cause sleep deprivation, which is linked to a variety of problems — it can cause you to feel groggy throughout the day, make you unfocused, and even adversely affect your memory. Over a long period of time, these problems may develop into more severe health problems. There may be an increased risk for diabetes, heart failure, stroke, or even dementia.
What Treatments are Available?
There are a variety of ways to stop snoring. Simple lifestyle changes may be enough to stop snoring, although there are affordable treatments available as well.
- Avoid alcohol and other sedatives several hours before bedtime – Sedatives are known to relax the muscles in the throat and increase the likelihood of snoring.
- Losing weight reduces extra fatty tissue in the neck area – Excess weight around the neck places pressure on the airway. Many people have treated their snoring problem simply by losing weight.
- Sleep on your side rather than your back – Those who sleep in the supine position may benefit by sleeping on one’s side instead. This prevents tissues in the throat from relaxing and narrowing the airway.
- Address any allergy problems – Taking antihistamines and other allergy medicines may alleviate snoring. Allergies are known to cause nasal congestion and aggravate the airway.
Custom oral appliances and snoring mouthpieces hold the lower jaw in a forward position to maintain an open airway during sleep. These devices are well-received and tolerated by most users.
CPAP (Continuous Positive Air Pressure)
A CPAP machine provides pressurized air using a mask and tube that connects to the nose and mouth. The increased pressure forces an open airway and prevents it from collapsing during sleep. Although CPAP is regarded as a high effective treatment option, compliance is low due to discomfort of wearing a mask and the noises created by the machine. Individuals who have been diagnosed with sleep apnea are often prescribed a CPAP.
Upper Airway Surgery
If traditional snoring treatments are unsuccessful, a surgical procedure may be required to keep an open airway during sleep. Depending on the physical obstruction that is blocking the airway, surgical options may include removing tissue in the upper airway or soft palate.
Find a Snoring Treatment That Works for You
Snoring can affect your health, both physically and mentally. It is important to find a solution for your snoring. Simple lifestyle changes such as voiding sedatives or alcohol before bedtime, changing sleep positions, losing weight, or even surgery can often alleviate snoring naturally. If you decide to use a snoring aid, it is important to consider comfort. Those who are unable to tolerate your treatment will simply not use it.
If you believe that you have sleep apnea, contact a medical professional. A sleep study may be necessary to determine the best treatment plan.