An old English nursery rhyme includes the line, "it's raining, it's pouring, and the old man is snoring!" This typifies the common attitude to this condition. Relatively few consider it a medical issue that needs treating but rather as a source of amusement and material for jokes. It indeed differs from most other health issues since it affects other people rather than the person with the problem. It also definitely does not indicate any sickness, but there is still a very good reason to pay it serious attention – the real disturbance it causes to whoever needs to share a room with the snorer.
There is an indisputable link between weight and snoring since overweight individuals are one of the groups most likely to snore. Admittedly, snoring is low on the list of the dangers excess weight poses, but the distress it causes to a spouse or roommate makes it into an issue. Some light sleepers find it very difficult to share a room with someone who snores. When you take into account the significant benefits to cardiovascular health and the many other gains from losing weight, ending the annoyance storing causes should add to the motivation to start that diet or join the exercise class.
It is hard to imagine that any of the stop smoking campaigns will encourage smokers to quit with the promise that this could cure their snoring habit. These campaigners obviously focus on the high risk of life-threatening disease facing cigarette smokers. However, perhaps the pressure on them to quit will increase when their close ones learn that smoking could be the cause of their snoring. In addition to the unpleasant smell of cigarettes, knowing how much this snoring irritates a friend or spouse might finally persuade them to give it up.
Heavy drinking of alcohol is another of the common causes of snoring. As is the case with smoking, since snoring does not damage the snorer's health, anti-drinking campaigners concentrate on stressing the damage such drinking does to the liver. It definitely makes sense to stop binge drinking out of these health concerns, but extra social pressures can also help to get the snorer to abstain from their heavy alcohol use. Someone who is annoyed by his or her snoring will give them the necessary encouragement.
Some people might be reluctant to consider going on a diet, cutting down on alcohol or stopping smoking. Even though all of these steps are highly recommended, and bring positive health benefits, the snorer might feel they lack the willpower. Maybe they could solve this issue in a less-demanding way. This might be possible; changing sleeping position might be sufficient to end the storing. Studies show that those who sleep on their backs are more likely to become snorers.
Certain types of drugs, in particular, sleeping pills, increase the chance of snoring. It seems ironic that because someone finds it hard to get to sleep at night they need to take sleeping pills, and consequently they start to snore and prevent someone else from getting to sleep! If the other person in their life is unwilling to wear earplugs, the snoring must consider managing without sleeping pills unless the doctor believes these are essential to their wellbeing.
Doctors find that in a few cases the position of the tongue within the mouth is the cause of the snoring. For example, some snore if their tongue blocks part of the passage of air from the back of their throat. The doctor might decide to give this patient a contraption to place in their mouth to force the tongue forward, so it no longer causes a blockage. They call this a mandibular advancement device. It might not be so comfortable to sleep with this placed in the mouth.
This expression comes up frequently enough in quarrels, but it also has a much more specific use in connection with a possible snoring cause. For whatever reason, some people's mouths tend to fall open while they are sleeping and this produces snoring. Shouting at them to shut their mouths is not useful since they are not opening them voluntarily. Doctors might decide to give this person a unique strap to wear on the chin that keeps the mouth shut or even a vestibular shield that fits over the mouth and compels them to breathe nasally.
It is also possible that the snoring happens because one of the passages in the nose is blocked or too narrow to allow for free breathing. If the doctor finds this is the case, he or she might suggest that the patient use a nasal dilator, or perhaps some strips that keep nasal passages open during sleep. Sometimes a nasal spray can also help to remove the cause of the snoring.
Sleeping in an arid environment is another possible explanation why snoring occurs. Putting a humidifier in the bedroom could resolve the problem. As its name indicates, the function of this device is to make the air more humid. The extra moisture from the humidifier moistens the throat and reduces the likelihood of snoring during the night. Humidifiers are cheap to buy and run so this is an experiment worth trying.
Larger than normal tonsils is another possible cause of snoring. Removing the tonsils offers the prospect of a solution. Last century doctors often performed this operation since they did not appreciate that the tonsils had any useful function, and they wanted to reduce the risks of tonsillitis. Medical opinion has now turned against this routine removal of tonsils. While some doctors continue to perform surgery to cure snoring, they might be reluctant to do so, not least because the snoring sometimes returns afterward.
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