Updated: Jun 24, 2021
Laugh and the world laughs with you. Snore, and you sleep alone.
Snoring is no less than a recurring nightmare for a person living with a snorer. Snoring is quite common and we often take it lightly. In this blog, we are going to understand why we snore and why snoring is not always a laughing matter.
WHY DO WE SNORE?
Snoring is caused by the vibration of tissues within the airway of the nose and throat. When we sleep, all the muscles in our body relax, except for the ones needed to breathe, in our throat and in the nasal area. If these muscles also relax, it leads to a smaller airway and greater tissue vibration, causing the all too familiar snoring sound. Age and body weight are major contributors to snoring. Someone who is overweight is more likely to snore because of fatty tissues compressing the airway. As we get older, the breathing muscles in our neck naturally weaken.
WHY SHOULD WE TAKE SNORING SERIOUSLY?
Snoring is a sign that our body is struggling to breathe properly during sleep. Here are two solid reasons why we should be taking snoring seriously:
Snoring can lead to Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Snoring can sometimes be the only sign of a more serious, underlying problem. Studies show that people who snore heavily are prone to injuries in their upper airway, because of the constant vibrations from snoring. These injuries put snorers at a high risk of developing Sleep Apnea, an extreme sleep disorder associated with heart complications. To learn more about Sleep Apnea, click here.
Snoring can turn into a significant social problem: The partner of a snorer is likely to have fragmented sleep throughout the night, resulting in sleep deprivation over time. Snoring hampers personal relationships since sleeping next to a rumbling snorer night after night can be challenging.
HOW CAN WE TREAT SNORING?
Snoring can be treated with and without surgery. Surgical treatment is only recommended for extreme snorers if their snoring is leading to Sleep Apnea. Non-surgical treatments are just as effective in treating snoring. Some of them are:
Lifestyle changes: Usually the most effective and also the most difficult option in the list. Losing weight can reduce snoring. Sleeping on the back aggravates snoring, so it’s recommended to sleep on our sides. Alcohol and smoking make snoring worse.
Dental devices: Best made by a dentist, these oral appliances improve snoring in 70-90% of the cases. These devices hold the jaw forward to prevent the tongue from falling back and narrowing the throat airway and have to be worn every single night while sleeping.
Over-the-counter products: Nasal decongestants, steroid sprays, medications are some of the easily available over-the-counter solutions for snoring. However, we need to get them reviewed by our physician to ensure there are no underlying side effects to using them.
CPAP: CPAP or Continuous Positive Airway Pressure is commonly used by Sleep Apnea patients. It involves wearing a mask that is connected by a tube to a pump that keeps the inhaled air pressure higher than usual. Although CPAP is highly effective in treating snoring, some users may find it uncomfortable to use as it has to be worn every single night while going to bed.
With Dozee, we can monitor our sleep and vitals every night. Dozee records the intensity of our snoring, the restfulness of our sleep, and the number of awakenings throughout our sleep duration. These parameters can help us flag any possibility of sleep apnea in advance ( approx 50% of snorers also develop sleep apnea).