Snoring is usually caused by a narrowing of the upper respiratory tract. Behind such a narrowing can be different - usually harmless - causes stuck. Snoring is dangerous only when it comes to breathing interruptions during the night. In such a case one speaks of a sleep apnea. This severe form of snoring should definitely be clarified by a doctor. In contrast, you can prevent harmless snoring yourself by using various means and measures - such as the right sleeping position or a nasal patch. Read here what you can do to avoid annoying snoring.
Snoring is common
Snoring is a phenomenon that occurs relatively frequently - especially with age, more and more people are snoring. About 60 percent are affected in men and 40 percent in women. While in many people the snoring sounds are relatively quiet, in some cases they are very loud and disturbing. For example, the Guinness Book of Records notes a snore volume of 93 decibels. This corresponds roughly to the noise of a busy highway.
Causes of snoring
During sleep, the respiratory muscles relax. Once the muscles have relaxed, they can be made to vibrate by the airflow when inhaling and exhaling. Affected are often the uvula and the soft palate, in rare cases, the throat and the tongue base. The sounds caused by the vibration of the muscles are called snoring.
Snoring is often caused by a narrowing of the upper respiratory tract. Because the airways are narrowed, the flow rate of the inhaled air increases and the pressure in the throat decreases. This promotes the vibration of the relaxed muscles.
There are several causes for a narrowing of the upper respiratory tract:
- (allergic) cold
- Inflammation of the paranasal sinuses
- Curvature of the nasal septum
- nasal polyps
- Enlargement of the tonsils on the palate and in the throat
- shortened lower jaw
- Fat accumulation in the throat due to overweight
Sleep apnea is dangerous
Normal snoring, in which the air easily enters the lungs, is not dangerous. The own sleep quality usually does not suffer. The situation is different with so-called sleep apnea. It is a pronounced snoring, which may be associated with recurrent respiratory arrest. These can last up to 30 seconds or even longer.
The deterioration of the quality of sleep can lead to symptoms such as daytime tiredness, exhaustion, nervousness and difficulty concentrating. Studies also indicate that the risk of certain conditions such as high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke is increasing. This is due to the fact that the lack of oxygen during the night in the body causes a significant stress reaction.
Prevent snoring - 5 tips
If snoring only occurs at short notice - for example in the context of a cold - no treatment is necessary. However, if you snore regularly and disturb your partner's sleep, it makes sense to do something about snoring. We'll give you some simple tips and tricks to help you prevent snoring.
- Especially in the supine position is snored. Try to sleep on the side or on the stomach. You can help to change the sleeping position by sewing tennis balls into your pajamas or by wearing a sleeping vest.
- Avoid alcohol, tranquilizers, sleep aids and muscle relaxants, as they provide additional relaxation of the respiratory muscles.
- If you are overweight, try reducing your weight. As a result, the fat deposits on the throat and throat and the airways are less blocked.
- Try to stem the snoring with nasal patches from the pharmacy. The patches widen the nostrils and facilitate breathing. They are especially recommended if a cold is the cause of snoring.
- In case of an allergic rhinitis - for example due to a house dust mite allergy - the use of special allergy coatings is recommended to reduce the symptoms.
What to do against snoring?
If our first aid tips do not improve your snoring, you should consider further treatment options. If you snore with your mouth open, a snore bandage can be helpful. Here, the lower jaw is fixed by means of an elastic belt so that the mouth is locked at night.
The same effect is also the use of an oral atrial plate is placed between the lips and the front teeth. It is equipped with a pressure gauge that gives information about the correct fit of the plate. Breathing through the mouth is suppressed by the use of the atrial plate. In addition, the tongue is pressed against the anterior teeth, which opens the airways.
A jaw protrusion splint keeps the lower jaw in a fixed position during sleep. As a result, the tongue can not fall back and the airways remain free. Such a splint leads to an improvement of the complaints in more than 50 percent of the cases.
A palate clasp ensures that the soft palate is fixed. The clasp prevents the air duct from closing behind the soft palate. The air can thus pass through the respiratory tract without resistance during sleep and the formation of snoring sounds is prevented.
Treat sleep apnea
If you suspect that you are experiencing respiratory distress during your sleep, ideally you should visit a sleep laboratory. Here you can check if you really have sleep apnea. If this is the case, wearing a breathing mask at night can help. The mask increases the pressure in the airways and prevents them from collapsing. This prevents snoring.
Still in the test phase is the tongue pacemaker, which prevents the tongue muscle from relaxing by emitting electrical impulses. The small device is planted under the skin in the area of the clavicle. How big the benefit of the pacemaker and whether there are risks in the application, still needs to be reviewed.
OP as a last resort
Snoring can sometimes be repaired by surgery. However, an operation is not always successful - so it should always be considered as a last resort. In addition, have your doctor tell you in detail about the risks and side effects of the procedure before surgery.
In some cases, surgery can lead to injuries to the palate, teeth, suppository and tongue as well as to unpleasant scars. In some cases, patients may experience difficulty swallowing or speaking after a snoring operation.
Common surgical procedures
Below is an overview of common surgical procedures:
- Palate (sail) plastic: Here, the soft palate is sewn up a piece. In addition, some tissue is vaporized on the underside of the lower turbinate. This should be remedied the narrowing of the airways.
- Uvulo Palato Pharyngo Plastic: In this procedure, the throat and mucous membrane of the throat are tightened and the suppository partially removed. Nowadays, gentler procedures such as the laser-assisted uvula-palato-plastic are recommended.
- Radiofrequency Therapy: In this method, tissue from the pharynx is ablated by high-dose radio waves. In addition, the tissue in the throat is tightened by artificial scarring under the mucous membrane.
Too much almonds, polyps in the nose, a curved nasal septum or inflammation of the maxillary sinuses for the narrowing of the airways, can also correct this surgically. Let yourself be informed in advance thoroughly about possible risks.