Snoring can be a point of tension within the household between loved ones, friends and family. Snoring could inadvertently affect their own quality sleep while also causing issues for yourself. This can have adverse effects on both parties, making both of you feel frustrated and tired, affecting the ability to work or study during the day.
Snoring is a sign of airway obstruction and can be associated with a medical condition called Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA). Proven evidence shows people with untreated OSA will develop other health problems in the future. If you have OSA, you are more at risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, heart attack, stroke, or even depression.
Snoring can occasionally be caused by: allergies, a deviated septum, sinus infections or enlarged tonsils and adenoids. However, the main cause of snoring is due to the relaxation of muscles in the airway during sleep. When you are awake, muscles of the pharynx (located right behind your tongue) hold the airway open. However, when you sleep, these muscles relax resulting in narrowing or “collapse” of the airway. When you breathe in, the disruption in airflow causes soft tissue in the palate and throat to vibrate. This vibration creates noise that is usually recognised as snoring.
Normal airway and breathing
Sleep apnoea: the lower jaw, palate and tongue drop back causing airway obstruction
Oral Appliance: the oral appliance holds the jaw forward keeping the airway open
About 40% of men and 30% of women snore. Out of 10 Australians older than 40, 7 are likely to snore at any given time. Up to 70% of adults who regularly snore have obstructive sleep apnoea and are usually unaware of it.
Snoring can be a sign of airway obstruction and a medical condition called Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA). However, snoring is only one sign of OSA and not all those with OSA will snore. In fact, if a long time snorer no longer snores, it may actually indicate that his or her OSA has increased in severity and that there is now a complete blockage of the airway.
For more information, please see Obstructive Sleep Apnoea.
There are several treatments available for snoring. Many of our patients have already tried nasal strips, chin straps and other products to combat snoring without success. Surgery with an ENT may be an option to open the airway for those with enlarged tonsils and adenoids, or a deviated septum.
At Dental Sleep Clinic Australia, we offer Mandibular Advancement Splints (MAS) to combat snoring. These splints are specialised dental appliances, which are widely regarded by sleep physicians to be the best available treatment for primary snoring and mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnoea.
If you are overweight, losing weight might help the problem. Try avoiding alcohol for at least four hours before sleeping. If snoring is made worse by an allergy, try and stay away from whatever may set it off. Sleeping on the side rather than on your back can often reduce but not completely eliminate snoring.
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