Snoring Can Affect Your Quality of Sleep and Your Overall Health
Snoring not only results in disruptive sleep for you, but it can also mean sleepless nights for your partner. While often merely thought of as an annoyance or inconvenience, snoring may additionally have a negative impact on your oral and overall health. Dr. Knight offers various forms of snoring prevention in his practice serving Louisville, KY and Radcliff, KY.
What Causes Snoring?
It is estimated that over 80 million North Americans suffer from snoring. Factors will differ in each patient. Snoring typically occurs when the soft tissues in the throat become relaxed. This causes the opening of the airway to decrease in size, making it difficult for breath to pass through. You may develop snoring due to any of these factors:
- Excess weight: One of the most common risk factors for snoring is being overweight. Poor muscle tone and fat tissue can exert unnecessary pressure on your airways and negatively impact breathing.
- Sleep apnea: This common sleep disorder occurs when someone goes for extended periods of time without breathing, resulting in decreased oxygen intake. Among several symptoms, patients may experience interrupted sleep, headaches, chronic fatigue, and snoring.
- Sleep aids: Certain sleeping medications can have an extreme sedative effect, resulting in excessive snoring.
- Alcohol intake: In the same way sleep aids relax the body, alcohol consumption can have a sedative effect. If you suffer from chronic snoring, be sure to keep your alcohol intake to a minimum, and do not drink alcohol within three hours of going to bed.
- Enlarged tissues: Snoring can occur when the soft tissues in your throat are enlarged or inflamed. Some patients are genetically predisposed to certain anatomical irregularities, such as a large tongue or tonsils. In other instances, the tissues may become inflamed due to illness or mouth breathing.
Because each patient has unique needs, treatment methods for snoring can vary depending on your situation. Our goal is to help patients achieve optimal restful sleep by the least invasive means available. Here are some treatment methods used to prevent snoring:
- A mandibular advancement device: Sometimes referred to as a snore guard, a custom mandibular advancement device (MAD) is the most common solution for chronic snorers. By gently stabilizing the lower jaw in a forward position, it helps widen the airway for better breathing. A MAD also keeps the tongue from obstructing the airway, resulting in a more peaceful night’s sleep.
- CPAP: In cases of severe snoring, a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine may be recommended. In this method, a steady stream of air is used to gently keep the airways open during sleep. The patient must wear a mask over the nose and/or mouth throughout the night.
- Tongue stabilizing device (TSD): Generally considered to be an alternative to more traditional methods, a tongue stabilizer holds your tongue in a forward position to open the obstructed airway.
- Positional therapy: The idea behind this method is that sleeping on your side may eliminate breathing-related sleep issues. Some patients may benefit from wearing a device around their waist to encourage proper positioning. Others may find an anti-snoring pillow helps to achieve a more favorable sleep posture.