More than 45% of adults snore occasionally, and one in four snorers are chronic. Snoring can harm or even destroy your marriage. One British survey showed that 12% of divorces are due to the fact that one of the spouses snored heavily. There are many reasons for snoring: stuffy nose, being overweight, using drugs and alcohol, as well as the wrong position of the nasal septum. This low, rattling sound occurs due to the relaxation of the soft palate and uvula during sleep and manifests itself in the form of vibration of the soft tissues of the larynx and pharynx, which depends entirely on the individual anatomical features of the person.
Snoring can be dangerous. If your snoring is interrupted by long breath holdings, you should immediately consult a doctor. This may be a symptom of sleep apnea - frequent stops in breathing during sleep. Such stops prevent the flow of oxygen into the body and the removal of carbon dioxide. Sleep apnea is diagnosed in 6.4% of Canadians. Those affected can wake up to 300 times from deep sleep during the night, experience chronic fatigue and sleepiness throughout the day, and are at risk for high blood pressure and heart problems.
Sleep apnea can be diagnosed by an otolaryngologist, who examines the mouth and throat for abnormalities, and through a sleep study, which requires an overnight stay in the lab.
The most common treatment for sleep apnea is using a CPAP device, which is a mask with a pump that fits over the nose and mouth and blows air down the throat to keep the airways open at night. However, the reality is that only about half of CPAP users adhere to it, since using this device during sleep can be very uncomfortable.
If the cause of snoring is not related to sleep apnea, then it may be due to being overweight. Losing weight can greatly improve your sleep and solve your snoring problem. In one study of the nature of snoring, subjects who lost 10% of their total body weight noticed that they snored much less.
If the reason is still not overweight, perhaps you should learn a new hobby - playing the didgeridoo - an Australian Aboriginal wind musical instrument, which is a huge pipe of an atypical shape. Swiss researchers have found that regular practice on this unusual musical instrument strengthens the muscles in the throat of snorers and can even become an alternative to the inconvenient CPAP device.
Many people use nasal strips for snoring, but they are unlikely to be effective, because the causes of snoring lie in problems with the tongue, palate and throat. Snoring can come from different areas of the mouth and throat. Using an endoscope - a thin camera with light - doctors can determine where vibrations are coming from, which in turn will help doctors choose the most effective treatments for snoring.