If snoring is affecting you or your partner, there are steps you can take today to curb or even stop it altogether.
While the sounds of grunting, wheezing and snuffling can be the subject of hilarity, snoring isn’t always a laughing matter. And with it affecting around 40% of us to one degree or another, it’s something that plays a part in most people’s lives.
So it’s no surprise that there’s a whole week dedicated to snoring. Taking place from 25 to 29 April, National Stop Snoring Week aims to make people aware that “nobody need suffer”1 because of snoring.
From straightforward lifestyle changes to surgical and non-surgical treatments, there are a range of choices to correct the causes of snoring. So whether you snore yourself or you’re the unfortunate partner listening to it all night long, here’s what you need to know about this common - and highly treatable – condition.
What causes snoring?
Snoring is caused by the vibration of soft tissue in your head and neck while you breathe. As you sleep the muscles that keep your airways open become too relaxed and narrow, creating partial blockages as a result. This obstruction of air flow and turbulence can happen anywhere from the tip of your nose to your vocal cords. Many snorers suffer from multiple blockages of varying degrees at the nose, soft palate, tonsils and the base of the tongue. Enlarged tonsils and colds can also lead to snoring.
Problems caused by snoring
As Prof. Anshul Sama
, an ear, nose and throat (ENT) consultant at BMI The Park Hospital
explains: “In most cases, [snoring] isn’t a cause for concern for the snorer, although their partner might tell a different tale!”
Indeed, the only solution for some couples is to sleep in separate rooms, but going to such measures for a good night’s sleep can spell disaster for a relationship.
While snoring does not generally pose any health issues for the snorer, it can be a symptom of sleep apnoea. This is a condition which stops you breathing for a period of time as you sleep, cutting off oxygen to the brain.
“This can occur multiple times each hour at night and leaves you with a muzzy-type headache and feeling sluggish in the morning,” explains Mr Lance Hollis, an ENT consultant at BMI The Droitwich Spa Hospital.
Sleep apnoea is commonly treated using a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airways Pressure) machine. If you’re the partner of a snorer, then you should monitor whether they actually stop breathing when their snoring stops. A visit to the GP is highly recommended if this is the case.
Making some lifestyle changes
For many people, stopping snoring can be as simple as making a few lifestyle changes. According to Prof. Sama:
“Common sense changes such as losing weight, not drinking alcohol within three hours of bedtime and stopping smoking can all have a beneficial effect…”
He also advises snorers to sleep on their side and use a thin pillow. Having pets in the bedroom is a definite no.
Surgical and non-surgical solutions
There are, however, cases where medical intervention is needed to stop snoring. Specialists in dedicated centres such as BMI’s sleep clinic
will conduct tests to assess where blockages are happening within a snorer’s airways. This will allow professionals to determine what kind of treatment will work best to stop the snoring.
Sometimes the best option to curb snoring requires a surgical procedure. A relatively straightforward septoplasty or turbinate surgery will open up nasal airways. If the blockage is in the palate, then a specialist may recommend an operation to reduce palate size or stiffen it up to stop vibrations. Tonsil surgery is also used to create space. A less common procedure involves surgery to the base of the tongue.
Non-surgical solutions can vary from simple earplugs for the snorer’s partner to improving the airway using mandibular advancement devices to bring the lower jaw forward.
Taking steps to a good slumber
If snoring is affecting you or your partner, it’s worth booking an appointment at BMI’s sleep clinic to see what options are available to you. In Mr Hollis’ words: “Snoring can be controlled but you have to take steps towards controlling it so that both you and your partner get a good night’s sleep.”
To book your consultation call us on 0808 101 0337 or make an online enquiry.