What is snoring?
Snoring is the sound that occurs during sleep when flow of air is obstructed in the area where the tongue and upper throat meet the soft palate and uvula. Snoring noises occur when these structures vibrate against each other during breathing.
It is estimated that 45 percent of all adults snore occasionally, and 25 percent habitually snore. Snoring is more common in males and people who are overweight, and worsens with age.
Snoring is obstructed breathing. In addition to disturbed sleep patterns and sleep deprivation, other serious health problems may result. Snoring may also be a symptom of other medical conditions.
What causes snoring?
Snoring may be caused by many factors, including:
Poor muscle tone
Excessively bulky throat tissue
Long soft palate
Stuffed or blocked nasal passages
Deformities of the nose
Deformities of the nasal septum
Can snoring be prevented?
Mild or occasional snoring may be helped by:
A healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and proper diet
Avoiding tranquilizers, sleeping pills, and antihistamines before bedtime
Avoiding alcohol at least four hours before bedtime
Avoiding heavy meals at least three hours before bedtime
Establishing regular sleeping patterns
Sleeping on your side
Tilting the head of the bed up about 4 inches
Heavy or chronic snoring may require medical care.
Treatment for snoring
Specific treatment for snoring will be determined by your doctor based on:
Your age, overall health, and medical history
Extent of the disorder
Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
Expectations for the course of the disorder
Your opinion or preference
Treatment may include a nasal mask that provides continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), or surgery.