What is Snoring?
Snoring is a rough, rattling noise made on inspiration during sleep by the vibration of the soft palate (the back of the roof of the mouth) and the uvula (the prominent structure dangling down at the back of the mouth).
On inspiration, air on its way to the lungs travels by the tongue, the soft palate, the uvula, and the tonsils. When a person is awake, the muscles in the back of the throat tighten to hold these structures in place and prevent them from collapsing and vibrating in the airway. During sleep, the soft palate and uvula may vibrate causing the sounds of snoring. Snoring is believed to occur in anywhere from 30 percent of women to over 40 percent of men.
Snoring itself can be a symptom of a health problem such as obstructive sleep apnea. Snoring has also been shown to increase one’s risk of stroke. Call us today if you’re overly sleepy during the day, if you snore often or very loudly, or if your partner notices that you sometimes stop breathing altogether. You might need medical help so you (and your loved ones) can get a good night’s sleep.
No matter your condition, whether it’s just snoring or something more serious, our treatments can help. Oral appliance therapy is able to provide relief from snoring, sleep apnea, and TMJ-related issues. Learn more about snoring problems below and discover how Dr. Argyle can help end your restless nights.
Causes of Snoring
There are multiples reasons why you may be snoring during sleep, including:
- Blocked nasal airways. Some people snore during allergy season or when they have a sinus infection. Problems in your nose, such as a deviated septum (when the wall that separates one nostril from the other is off-centered) or nasal polyps can also block your airways.
- Poor muscle tone in your throat or tongue. Throat and tongue muscles can be too relaxed, which allows them to collapse in your airway.
- Bulky throat tissue. Being overweight can cause this. Some children have large tonsils and adenoids that make them snore.
- Long soft palate and/or uvula. Having a long soft palate or uvula can narrow the opening from your nose to your throat. When you breathe, this causes them to vibrate and bump against one another, causing your airway to become blocked.
- Alcohol and drug use. Drinking alcohol or taking muscle relaxers can also make your tongue and throat muscles relax too much.
- Sleep position. Sleeping on your back can cause snoring as well as using a pillow that’s too soft or too large.
- Sleep deprivation. If you’re not getting enough sleep, this can cause your throat muscles to relax too much, causing snoring.
Luckily, Dr. Argyle offers comfortable snoring treatments to put an end to your snoring nights.
Snoring vs Sleep Apnea
Millions of people suffer from snoring activity during sleep. While some of these people are “simple snorers” or primary snorers, many have a more serious condition known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). It’s important to know the differences between sleep apnea and primary snoring and to seek treatment right away for both conditions.
The most obvious way to tell the difference between sleep apnea and primary snoring is how you feel during the day. Normal snoring doesn’t interfere with the quality of sleep as much as sleep apnea does, so you’re less likely to experience extreme fatigue and sleepiness during the day. Learn more about what sleep apnea looks like here.
Second Hand Snoring
Unfortunately, not only can snoring be a sign of the individual’s increased risk of having obstructive sleep apnea but their bed partner is significantly affected by their snoring as well. Research shows that people who sleep next to snorers may wake up as often during the night as people with documented sleep disorders.
One Mayo Clinic study found that spouses of snorers awoke at least partially an average of 21 times per hour, nearly as often as the 27 times the snorers were awakened by their documented sleep problem. They found that once the snorers were treated, the bed spouses gained the equivalent of one additional hour of sleep due to not being awoken by the snorers throughout the night.
Ongoing sleep deprivation has been shown to have the following consequences for both the snorer and their bed partner:
- Studies have shown that 80 to 90 percent of people who sleep beside a snorer have difficulty entering rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, or deep sleep you need for a good night’s rest.
- Sleep-deprived individuals are more likely to be more irritable, feel sleepy, and have poor concentration during the day which makes them less productive and more prone to making mistakes.
- Chronic sleep deprivation puts individuals at higher risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease, depression, and a weakened immune system.
- Nearly 20 percent of car accidents and related injuries are associated with drowsiness.
- Snoring can also negatively affect your relationship – a 2017 study found couples that don’t get enough sleep are more likely to argue.
Get a Quiet Night’s Sleep
Whether it’s normal snoring or a possible sleep disorder, Dr. Argyle can help you regain a better and quieter night’s sleep. With oral appliance therapy, snoring can be a thing of the past.
To learn more about how a custom-made oral appliance can give you a better night’s rest, schedule an appointment with Dr. Argyle at Argyle Dental Sleep and TMJ. Contact our Syracuse practice at (801) 416-3562 or fill out our convenient online contact form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.