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Treating Snoring and Sleep Deprivation

Snoring occurs due to an obstruction of air in the nose and throat during sleep. It causes the surrounding tissues to vibrate, producing the snoring sound. While not always the case, snoring can be an indication of obstructive sleep apnea. To relieve snoring, one must figure out what the cause of their snoring is. Snoring has several different causes and once that is determined, it is possible to relieve symptoms.

The Causes of Snoring

There are several common causes of snoring including age and the way you are built. As you age, you lose muscle tone in your throat, which can increase snoring. There are throat exercises that can be done to prevent snoring. Men are more likely than women to snore due to the fact that they have narrower air passages. Snoring can also be caused by sinus and nasal problems such as a stuffy nose or blocked airways. Poor muscle tone and fatty tissue can also be a contributing factor in snoring in which case exercise and weight loss will often stop the problem. Alcohol consumption and smoking are also common causes of snoring.

Cures for Snoring

There are many different treatments available to deal with snoring, ranging from over the counter medications and products to medical procedures. Products and treatments meant to cure snoring are made with the purpose of clearing the blockage affecting the breathing passage.

  • Mandibular Advancement Splints – Mandibular Advancement Splints are dental appliances that are made to slightly advance the lower jaw, thus pulling the tongue forward to prevent snoring. These products have been proven to also be effective in treating mild to moderate sleep apnea.
  • Orthopedic Pillows – Orthopedic pillows may be one of the easiest solutions to reduce snoring. The pillows are specially designed to support the neck and head in a way that causes the jaw to stay open and slightly forward. Orthopedic pillows may not completely stop snoring but they have been effective in reducing it. It is also important to have a good mattress in addition to an orthopedic pillow.
  • Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) – A CPAP machine is most often used if you are suffering from sleep apnea and the associated snoring. The machine is a device that pumps a stream of air through a hose and into a mask worn either over the mouth, nose, or both.
  • Surgery – There are several types of surgery that can be performed to cure snoring. Traditional procedures include tonsillectomies, adenoidectomies, Thermal Ablation Palatoplasty, and Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP). Laser assisted uvulopalatoplasty is another surgical option in which the uvula (the soft, hanging tissue at the back of the throat) is shortened with a laser to prevent the vibrations that can trigger snoring.
  • Pillar Procedure – The Pillar procedure is a minimally invasive procedure that involves placing small plastic implants into the soft palate to prevent collapse which causes snoring.
  • Somnoplasty – A Somnoplasty is also a minimally invasive procedure that only takes about 30 minutes to perform and is done under local anesthesia. The procedure involves using radiofrequency heat at low levels to remove uvula and soft palate tissues.
Snoring effects 30-50% of adults and can indicate more serious sleep issues

Snoring effects 30-50% of adults and can indicate more serious sleep issues

Sleep Apnea and Other Serious Problems

Snoring can be a warning sign of more serious issues including sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious condition in which you stop breathing for periods of time during sleep. It is important to see a doctor so that any underlying medical conditions can be properly diagnosed. If you suffer any of the following symptoms, it could be a sign of a bigger medical issue.

  • Snoring very heavily and loudly and being tired during the day.
  • You choke, gasp, or stop breathing during sleep.
  • You cannot stay awake and fall asleep at times throughout the day.

Your doctor may suggest that you do a home based sleep test or visit a specialist at an overnight sleep clinic to determine your issue. If it is concluded that your snoring is not caused by an underlying medical problem, you can then try some of the treatment options listed above.

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About Author

Derek Hales

Derek Hales

Founder & Editor-in-Chief

Derek Hales is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sleepopolis. Derek has tested over 80 of the most popular online mattresses, and scores of other bedding accessories. His testing approach is grounded in objective criteria and personalized in-depth research. Derek lives in Phoenix, Arizona with his wife Samatha and dog Tibbers.

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