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Snoring can be an embarrassing issue to deal with, especially if you have a bed partner. However, did you know that it can potentially affect your health for the worse too?
Chronic snoring occurs when the airflow is obstructed, either via the nose or the mouth, for a long period. There are various causes behind the occurrence of this condition, and understanding them can help you treat it better.
In this article, we will explore everything that you need to know about chronic snoring causes and treatment. We will also check out a few treatment options for the same. Let us begin!
When air can’t flow smoothly through your nose and throat, the tissues of these two regions vibrate and produce a sound - which is referred to as snoring. Chronic snoring should not be ignored because it may imply the presence of sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea. It also leads to disrupted sleep and sleep deprivation, making you feel fatigued during the day.
Nose-based snoring occurs due to obstruction of airflow through the nasal pathway. There are various reasons that may trigger snoring, such as physical blockage in either (or both) of the nostrils and allergies leading to nasal congestion.
You may also struggle with nose-based snoring if you have a common cold. Some medicines in particular can obstruct your nasal airflow too, causing you to snore at night.
If your nasal pathway is blocked, the only way your body can continue breathing is by using your mouth as the new pathway. When you start breathing through your mouth, the air quickly enters your throat without any filters (that are present in your nose). As a result, the soft tissues in your throat muscles and long soft palate start vibrating, causing you to snore.
If your tongue gets extremely relaxed while you sleep, it can obstruct the flow of air into the lungs - thus causing you to snore at night. Consuming alcohol before bed or taking excessive sleep medications might lead to this form of snoring since they relax muscles in your airway organs.
It might seem like a good idea to consume alcohol before you sleep to relax better. But here’s the thing - this can lead to chronic snoring and health concerns!
Alcohol and other sedatives like clinical sleep medicine make your tongue and long soft palate muscles relax, which causes them to slip back and obstruct the airflow to your lungs. As a result, the path of airflow gets narrow and the throat tissues start vibrating.
Conditions like obesity or a high body fat percentage can lead to excessive fat accumulation around the neck region. As a result, there might be an increased amount of continuous positive airway pressure exerted on your airway. This can cause your throat issues to vibrate, causing you to snore at night.
Breathing through your nose can become a difficult task if you are suffering from nasal congestion or inflammation. There are various reasons why these conditions might occur, such as colds, flu, and allergies. Moreover, the irritants present in the air you breathe may cause nasal congestion or inflammation, leading to obstructed nasal airflow and hence, snoring and sleep apnea.
Snoring can imply the presence of a sleep disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea. People with this medical issue find their airways completely blocked when they sleep, which causes them to stop breathing altogether for short durations at a time. It may lead to conditions like damaged internal organs, high blood pressure, and so on.
The vibrations that occur due to snoring can potentially damage your blood vessels and cause inflammation. These conditions may lead to heart attacks, heart strokes, high blood pressure, and so on.
Since chronic snoring might be a symptom of sleep apnea, people suffering from it are also at a greater risk of suffering from mental health issues. Studies have found that getting inadequate sleep due to sleep apnea can be associated with mental issues, such as depression and anxiety.
This is understandable since excessive snoring or sleep apnea deprive you of the good night’s sleep that your body needs every night. Hence, you might end up being cranky and depressed in the morning.
Studies have found that people with sleep apnea (associated with chronic snoring) also commonly suffer from Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). This is because a negative pressure is created during the snoring or apneatic event, which draws the stomach acid up the esophagus to the back of one’s throat.
The best way to stop snoring is to introduce some changes to your sleeping habits. You should begin by getting enough sleep at night, and the hours that you sleep should lie within the range of 7 to 9 hours.
And make sure you sleep in a side sleep position to prevent your tongue from rolling back. Also, use pillows to rest your head a few inches high to keep your airways open.
If you’re snoring due to a narrow nasal passage, nasal strips can help you eliminate this problem to a great extent. It is supposed to be placed on the bridge of your nose to increase the nasal passage space, and is proven to reduce snoring.
You can also use a nasal dilator, which is an external adhesive strip that should be placed on top of your nose (across the nostrils). This tool can decrease airflow resistance, thus decreasing or eliminating snoring.
Habits like taking sedatives (such as a sleep medicine) or drinking alcohol right before bed are connected with chronic snoring and sleep apnea. Hence, you should consider not drinking at least 3 hours before your bedtime. In the case of sedatives, it is best to consult your doctor for alternatives.
Studies have also found smoking to worsen the condition of obstructive sleep apnea. Hence, it is best to quit this habit by either using nicotine patches or consulting a doctor to seek help..
If you make healthy lifestyle changes but still find yourself snoring at night, your anatomical structures might be the culprit. People may be born with a deviated nasal septum or suffer an injury that causes one, leading to chronic snoring.
This misalignment of nose walls restricts airways and should be corrected as soon as possible to prevent long-term damage. The best way of treating snoring due to this structural condition is getting surgical procedures like septoplasty done.
Allergies can block your nasal passages, which will force you to breathe through your mouth. As such, you will be more likely to snore loudly, as discussed above - which is why you should treat your allergies as soon as possible to stop snoring.
You should consider consulting a doctor in such cases. Over-the-counter medicines or prescription pills can help eliminate chronic snoring by making your allergies get better. You may be prescribed anything from nasal sprays to liquids.
Bulky throat tissue might be the leading cause of your chronic loud snoring, so it is best to prevent unnecessary weight gain. To do so, you can either control your calorie intake or consult a professional to help you out in the process.
Regular exercise can help your body get the much-needed body movement, which can help you maintain a healthy weight. Further, throat exercises can help you tone your throat muscles, which can prevent issues like obstructive sleep apnea.
Working out regularly can also strengthen your cardiovascular health. This will keep you decently immune to any heart complications that may occur due to chronic snoring.
Although chronic snoring may seem like a difficult problem to deal with, it is curable. Identifying the causes behind its occurrence and applying the solutions that actually work are a few of the many ways through which you can overcome this problem.
You can easily treat snoring by making certain sleep habits, using nasal dilators or strips, treating your allergies, and so on. It is also advised to maintain a healthy weight and exercise regularly to prevent this condition.
Chronic snoring can lead to extreme daytime sleepiness, which can lead to something as severe as motor vehicle accidents. Hence, it is always a good idea to fix this issue as soon as it is identified!