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Thread: Snoring: Causes and Cures

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    Snoring: Causes and Cures

    Snoring: Causes and Cures

    Just about everyone snores occasionally. Even a baby or a beloved pet may snore! But snoring can affect the quantity and quality of your sleep. Poor sleep can lead to daytime fatigue, irritability and increased health problems. And, if your snoring is so loud that your bed partner can't sleep, you may end up banished from the bedroom.

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    Sleeping in separate bedrooms doesn’t have to be the remedy for your snoring. In fact, there are many effective treatments for snoring. Discovering the cause of your snoring and finding the right cure will vastly improve your health, your relationships, and, of course, your sleep.

    How to stop snoring
    Snoring can often seem like a problem without a solution – especially when it is getting in the way of a good night’s sleep for you and your partner. If you want to stop snoring, it is important to consider the cause and severity of your snoring. Identifying the cause can help you choose the right cure.

    It also makes sense to try some simple non-invasive treatments first to see if they will reduce or prevent your snoring. See the section on Self help tips and remedies below for more information on these snoring cures.

    * Sleep on your side
    * Elevate the head of your bed
    * Limit alcohol and medications
    * Clear your nasal passages
    * Lose weight

    You may find that your snoring persists even after trying these changes. If your snoring results from a more serious cause, a cure may be more complex – but there are solutions. Your nights don’t have to be noisy! Read on to learn more about the possible causes of your snoring as well as treatment options. If you can uncover the cause of your snoring, you should be able to find a cure that is right for you.

    The causes of snoring

    People who snore often have too much throat and nasal tissue, or “floppy” tissue that is more prone to vibrate. The position of the tongue can also get in the way of smooth breathing. Evaluating how and when you snore will help you pinpoint whether the cause of your snoring is within your control or not. Enlist your sleep partner or keep a sleep diary to help you determine the possible cause of your snoring
    Tip: The way you snore may reveal why you snore!

    If you snore

    * With your mouth closed: a problem with the tongue is probably the culprit
    * With your mouth open: your snoring is likely related to the tissues in your throat
    * Only on your back: your snoring is probably mild – improved sleep habits and lifestyle changes may be effective cures
    * In all sleep positions: your snoring is more severe and may require a more comprehensive treatment

    Causes and Risk Factors of Snoring

    Causes out of our control
    * Heredity - A narrow throat, a cleft palate, enlarged adenoids and other physical attributes which contribute to snoring can be hereditary.
    * Being middle-aged or beyond - As you age, your throat becomes narrower, and the muscle tone in your throat decreases.
    * Being male - Men have narrower air passages than women and are more likely to snore.
    * Allergies, asthma, a cold, or sinus infections - Blocked airways make inhalation difficult and create a vacuum in the throat, leading to snoring

    Causes within our control

    * Being overweight or out of shape - Fatty tissue and poor muscle tone contribute to snoring.
    * A history of smoking – Smoking (or exposure to second-hand smoke) relaxes muscles and creates nasal congestion.
    * Alcohol or medications - Alcohol and medications increase muscle relaxation leading to more snoring.
    * Sleeping posture - Sleeping flat on your back allows the flesh of your throat to relax and block the airway.

    Snoring relief: Self help tips and remedies

    * Lose weight – Losing weight is often a very effective cure for mild to moderate snoring. Even a little bit of weight loss can reduce fatty tissue in the back of the throat and decrease snoring. See Healthy Weight Loss Your Way for some tips on getting started.
    * Sleep on your side – If you sleep on your back and snore mildly, sleeping on your side might cure your snoring altogether.
    * Elevate your head – Try elevating the head of your bed four inches, which may make breathing easier and encourage your tongue and jaw to move forward. Sleep without a pillow (or with a specially designed pillow) to make sure your neck muscles are not crimped.
    * Avoid certain foods, alcohol and medications before bed - Alcohol and certain medications increase relaxation of throat and tongue muscles, which makes snoring more likely. Sleeping pills or tranquilizers may help you sleep, but they will also relax your muscles and increase the chance of snoring. High-fat milk products or soy milk products cause mucus to build up in the throat which can lead to snoring as well.
    * Clear your nasal passages - Having a stuffy nose makes inhalation difficult and creates a vacuum in your throat, which in turn leads to snoring. Nasal decongestants or nasal strips may help you breathe more easily while sleeping. Antihistamines can help with allergies, but will relax throat muscles and cause snoring.

    Tip: The tennis ball trick

    Do you sleep on your back? Try the “tennis ball trick”: sleep with a tennis ball (or any ball of approximately the same size) attached to the back of your pajama top. (You can sew a pocket or safety-pin a sock to the back of the pajama top, then put a tennis ball in it.) The tennis ball is uncomfortable if you lie on your back, and you will respond by turning on your side. Soon you will develop side-sleeping as a habit and not need the tennis ball.

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