Snoring is one of those subjects that people make semi-serious jokes about. Family members find themselves awake night after night and the person snoring is often oblivious to the upheaval. If you are the one snoring, you may not realize how much the snoring is affecting your health. In many cases, the “joking” is done because people are unaware that there are simple ways you can actually reduce or stop it. The first step to effective relief is to determine the cause behind your particular case of snoring.
Signs You Might be Snoring
If you live alone or with another snorer, you may not be aware of the extent of your snoring, but there are several symptoms that can be warning signs.
Having yourself evaluated by an Atlanta sleep specialist is highly recommended if you experience any of the following on a regular basis:
- Waking up with chest pain
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Difficulty concentrating
- High blood pressure
- Gasping or choking at night
Causes of Snoring
Snoring can result from a number of different causes. In order to follow the proper tips to stop your snoring, it is important to pinpoint the specific cause(s) impacting your condition. This can be done by seeing an Atlanta sleep specialist for an evaluation.
Here are the potential factors that the doctor will be looking for:
- Mouth anatomy – A long soft palate can cause snoring, as can any anatomical abnormalities inside your mouth, such as an elongated uvula, large tongue or narrow airway. Simply put, any variations in the mouth or throat structure can potentially create a problem.
- Nasal problems – Snoring isn’t only a mouth or throat issue. It can also be a result of nose problems such as a deviated septum, chronic nasal congestion or enlarged nasal turbinates, all of which can make it harder to get proper airflow during sleep.
- Alcohol consumption – Alcohol not only relaxes your body, it relaxes the muscles of the throat. If you consume alcohol too close to bedtime, the result could be increased airway obstruction from the tongue and other soft tissues in the mouth, leading to snoring.
- Obstructive sleep apnea – This is one of the most serious causes of snoring. When your throat tissues partially or completely cover your airway, this cuts off your normal airflow. In effect, your body stops breathing for seconds at a time before you can clear the obstruction and restart the breathing process. An Atlanta sleep specialist will be able to determine if your snoring is caused by this sleep disorder.
5 Tips to Stop Snoring
The cause behind your snoring will determine what you can do to reduce or eliminate the problem. Here are several tips that may help alleviate your symptoms:
- Change your sleeping position – Sleeping on your back is the worst position for snoring. With your head back, the tissues in your throat, including the tongue and the uvula, are subject to gravity pulling them down. This results in a greater likelihood that the airway will become obstructed. Changing your sleep position to your side to redirect the force of gravity is a good first step to improving symptoms.
- Treat nasal congestion at the first signs– By treating nasal congestion early, you make it possible to keep the air flowing freely through your nose. This eliminates the airway becoming partially obstructed by phlegm. For some people, this may mean regular use of allergy medicine or an expectorant to thin mucus during cold and allergy seasons.
- Avoid snoring stimulators – Snoring stimulators include sleeping aids, alcohol or eating too close to bedtime. Alcohol and sleeping aids both cause muscles to relax, leading to things like a limp tongue or sagging soft tissues in the throat. Relaxed muscles result in your body’s compromised ability to keep the airway clear. In addition, eating causes the stomach to expand, lessening room for the lungs to expand and increasing the chance of acid coming back up into the throat and blocking airflow.
- Lose weight – Maintaining a healthy weight through diet and exercise has many benefits, and lessening your chance of snoring is one of them. Losing weight will help reduce the excess tissue within your throat and less weight and more exercise also helps breathing ability.
- Consult a specialist – In the past, chronic snorers and sleep apnea sufferers were stuck with bulky CPAP machines as the primary mode of treatment. This is no longer the case. An Atlanta sleep specialist can offer minimally invasive, treatments that may eliminate the problem causing the snoring in just one office visit. Treatments available at the Snoring and Sleep Institute of Atlanta are customized to your particular needs.
Stop Snoring and Live Better
Despite all the jokes often made at a snorer’s expense, snoring is not a laughing matter. It affects your health, relationships and even mental wellbeing. The good news is that there are multiple ways you can improve, if not eliminate, your snoring. Options range from simple lifestyle modifications to advanced, minimally invasive procedures.
The first step to improving your sleep and your quality of life is to schedule a consultation with an Atlanta sleep specialist at the Snoring and Sleep Institute of Atlanta. You can get started by filling out the appointment form right on this page, or contacting our office to schedule your consultation.