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Causes and symptoms
- Excessively relaxed throat muscles. Alcohol, drugs, and sedatives can cause the throat muscles to become lax, and/or the tongue to pull back into the airway.
- Large uvula. The piece of tissue that hangs from the back of the throat is called the uvula. Individuals with a large or longer than average uvula can suffer from snoring when the uvula vibrates in the airway.
- Large tonsils and/or adenoids. The tonsils (tissue at the back of either side of the throat) can also vibrate if they are larger than normal, as can the adenoids.
- Excessive weight. Overweight people are more likely to snore. This is frequently caused by the extra throat and neck tissue they are carrying around.
- Nasal congestion. Colds and allergies can plug the nose, creating a vacuum in the throat that results in snoring as airflow increases.
- Cysts and tumors. Cysts and/or tumors of the throat can trigger snoring.
- Structural problems of the nose. A deviated septum or other nasal problems can also cause snoring.
- Uvulopalathopharyngoplasty (UPPP), a surgical procedure which involves removing excess throat tissues (e.g., tonsils, parts of the soft palate) to expand the airway.
- Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP) uses a surgical laser to remove part of the uvula and palate.
- Palatal stiffening is a minimally-invasive surgical technique where a laser or a cauterizer is used to produce scar tissue in the soft palate in order to stop the vibrations that produce snoring.
- Radiofrequency ablation is another technique which uses scarring to shrink the uvula and/or soft palate. A needle electrode is used to shrink and scar the mouth and throat tissues.
- Mechanical devices. Many splints, braces, and other devices are available which reposition the nose, jaw, and/or mouth in order to clear the airways. Other devices are designed to wake an individual when snoring occurs. Patients should consult a dentist or orthodontist about these devices, as most require custom fitting. In addition, persons with certain types of gum disease or dental problems should not be fitted with oral appliances to stop snoring.
- Nasal strips. Nasal strips that attach like an adhesive bandage to the bridge of the nose are available at most drugstores, and can help stop snoring in some individuals by opening the nasal passages.
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Some chronic snorers find relief by sleeping with a nasal mask which provides air pressure to the throat.
- Decongestants. Snoring caused by nasal congestion may be successfully treated with decongestants. Some effective herbal remedies that clear the nasal passages include golden rod (Solidago virgauria) and golden seal (Hydrastis canadensis). Steam inhalation of essential oils of eucalyptus blue gum (Eucalyptus globulus) or peppermint (Mentha x piperata) can also relieve congestion.
- Weight loss. Snoring thought to be caused by excessive weight may be curtailed by a sensible weight loss and exercise program.
- Sleep position. Snoring usually worsens when an individual sleeps on his or her back, so sleeping on one's side may alleviate the problem. Those who have difficulty staying in a side sleeping position may find sleeping with pillows behind them helps them maintain the position longer. Other devices include a new vest designed to prevent the sleeper from lying on his or her back.
- Bed adjustments. For some people, raising the head of the bed solves their snoring problem. A slight incline can prevent the tongue from retracting into the back of the throat. Bricks, wooden blocks, or specially designed wedges can be used to elevate the head of the bed approximately 4-l6 in (10-41 cm).
- avoid alcohol and sedatives before bedtime
- remove allergens from the bedroom
- use a decongestant before bed
- sleep on the side, not the back
Although snoring is a sign of sound sleep, it is sometimes desirable to reduce or eliminate it. If the mouth breathing is stopped, the snoring will also stop. An obvious reason for mouth breathing is lying on the back, in which position the mouth tends to hang open. Further, when a person is in deep sleep and lying on the back, the tongue may rest back in the throat, partly blocking the air passage and helping to make the snoring sounds. Gently rolling the snorer onto the side can sometimes eliminate the snoring in these cases.
Snoring may be an indication of obstructive sleep apnea. Other functional reasons for snoring include a common cold or allergy, causing mucus to stop up the nose. Growths, called polyps, may obstruct the nasal passages. A deformity of the nasal septum (the bony portion dividing the nasal cavity into two compartments) may make nose breathing difficult. Correction of sleeping habits and of nose or throat troubles may lessen snoring. However, there is little that can be done to change the sleeping habits of an elderly person who has been snoring regularly for many years.
Associations Alcoholism, arthritis, asthma, cerebrovasular events, coronary ischaemia, daytime drowsiness, depression, diabetes, hypertension, insomnia, obesity
Management Isolated snoring needs no treatment; it may be decreased with a nasal dilator, or surgery to tighten redundant soft palate
snoringA noise caused by vibration of the soft palate and other soft tissue in the upper airway by turbulent air flow. Snoring occurs during sleep usually when the mouth is open and is thus commonest when the snorer is lying on the back or when the nose is blocked. Snoring is never heard by the person causing the sound. Snoring may be treated by oral appliances to advance the mandible, by surgical palatoplasty or by hypnotherapy.
Patient discussion about snoring
Q. In what way snoring is related to ADHD? My 5 year old son snores at night. He has disturbed sleep too and as a result the very next morning he remains sleepy for the day. This makes him tired and he is showing the signs of denial to go to school and make excuses. I have taken him to the doctor for the snoring problem. After some rounds of check up and some tests and with the help of a psychologist he was confirmed for ADHD. In what way snoring is related to ADHD?