What is Snoring?
While you sleep, the muscles of your throat relax, your tongue falls backward, and your throat becomes narrow and floppy. As you breathe, the walls of the throat begin to vibrate —generally when you breathe in, but also, to a lesser extent, when you breathe out. These vibrations lead to the characteristic sound of snoring. The narrower your airway becomes, the greater the vibration and the louder you snore. Sometimes the walls of the throat collapse completely so that it is completely closed, creating a condition called apnea (stoping breathing). This is a serious condition which requires medical attention.
Sitting down with a qualified dentist may be just what you need! In more ways than you might realize, snoring can have a significant negative effect on you and those around you. Qualified dentists, such as our doctors, would love to find a way for you to conquer snoring and finally get a quiet night’s sleep!
Is it normal for my child to snore?
Most children snore occasionally, particularly when they are in their deeper stages of sleep. However, extremely loud and regular snoring may be a sign of a cold, allergy, or in about one to three percent of children, it could be a symptom of sleep apnea. If your child’s loud snoring is accompanied by gasps for breath, consult your pediatrician.
What You Didn’t Know About Snoring
A Symptom of a More Serious Problem
We may tease Grandpa for snoring on the recliner while “watching” the game, but snoring is no joke. Snoring is sometimes a symptom of a more serious health problem like sleep apnea or carotid atherosclerosis (plaque buildup in the main arteries of the neck), which could cause a stroke. Approximately 90 million Americans snore.
This may disrupt their own and their bed partner’s sleep, leaving them groggy and un-refreshed the next day. Men, women, and children may snore on occasion, but it’s most common in men and individuals who are overweight. No one should have to suffer from this condition. If you or your partner suffer from snoring, call our office today for a consultation to see how we can help.
People who suffer mild or occasional snoring, but wake up feeling refreshed, and function well during the day may first try the following before consulting their sleep doctor:
How can I stop snoring?
- Lose weight
- Avoid tranquilizers, sleeping pills, and antihistamines before bedtime
- Avoid alcohol for at least four hours and heavy meals or snacks for three hours before retiring
- Establish regular sleeping patterns
- Sleep on side rather than back
When should I talk to my sleep doctor about snoring?
Consult your sleep doctor if you snore and have any of the following symptoms or signs:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Morning headaches
- Recent weight gain
- Awakening in the morning not feeling rested
- Awakening at night feeling confused
- Change in your level of attention, concentration, or memory
- Observed pauses in breathing during sleep
Sleep better. Snore less. Schedule an appointment today to learn how!
Frequently Asked Questions
Linked Health Issues
Snoring and Sleep Apnea is also considered a risk factor for several serious health problems, such as:
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart Attack
*Note that most insurance companies consider the treatment of snoring as a “cosmetic” issue, and therefore won’t cover the cost of treatment.
Affects Children Also
Sleep apnea also affects children. Usually this is due to the child having large tonsils that obstruct the airway; just like in adults, often snoring is a sign of an obstructed airway. Some of the problems common in children that have been linked to sleep apnea include:
- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
- Mood disorders
- Bed wetting
- Problems learning
- Growth problems
To see if your child may be at risk, view the video of sleep apnea in children.
Affects Sleep Partner
Sleep apnea and snoring can also adversely affect the sleep of the bed partner. Please click the link to read a study done by the Mayo Clinic on the effect of sleep apnea and snoring on the bed partner.
How is Snoring Treated?
If your physician believes that your snoring is not a symptom of a more serious sleep disordered breathing problem, an oral appliance can be used to quiet your snoring and improve the sleep of your bed partner! Our sleep doctors have brought many couples back to the same bedroom by eliminating snoring. Since snoring is currently viewed as a “cosmetic” issue by insurance companies, your insurance will usually not help with the cost of your care. However, snoring is often a symptom of sleep apnea or upper airway resistance syndrome. Our sleep doctors recommend evaluation by a knowledgeable sleep specialist, ENT, or neurologist prior to any treatment for snoring.