Have you ever wondered why you snore? Is it your partner that makes sleeping at night a difficulty? Or your flat-mate? Here are common reasons why people snore and what you can do about it:
- Obesity causes snoring, as well as having a thick neck, because the extra fat around the throat prevents the smooth flow of air. It is worsened by excessive alcohol intake, use of sedative drugs which relax the throat muscles, and smoking which makes the breathing tubes swell and become narrow. Losing weight helps greatly, you can achieve this by having regular and appropriate exercise, and changing your diet. Sleeping on your side also makes a marked difference
- Inhaling a foreign body like a bead or groundnut. This often happens in young children during play and can be associated with catarrh, snoring, noisy breathing, irritability. Picking this early is important, the offending object is removed and if need be, associated infection is treated.
- Nasal polyps are lumps inside the nose that block airflow. They cause snoring, headaches, frequent catarrh. They are treated with special nasal drops and occasionally require surgery to remove them. So you should see your healthcare provider.
- Problems with the vocal cord like injury or paralysis narrow the airway and cause snoring, along with speech difficulty or hoarseness. Enlarged tonsils block the airway partially and also cause snoring during sleep. A shift to one side of the thin wall inside the nose also blocks airflow and causes snoring. Surgery may be needed in such cases.
- Allergic rhinitis also blocks airflow. The catarrh and swelling inside the nose make it difficulty to breathe so you breathe through your mouth and snore when you sleep. Drugs like Piriton, Loratidine help reduce the swelling, as well as inhaling steam, and most importantly avoiding the triggers
- OSA (obstructive sleep apnoea) is caused by repeated closure of the airway in the throat which makes you stop breathing, wake slightly and then resume breathing. This happens often and disturbs sleep so much that you find yourself sleeping a lot during the day or at work, and have headaches in the mornings. It is common in obesity and the first step is to reduce weight, and stay away from tobacco and alcohol
- Cancers in the throat, nose and mouth may also cause snoring. Expert care is needed if this is suspected
As you can see, snoring is rarely done on purpose. (Well, except in movies!) It can be a pointer to something sinister happening in the throat, and can be treated by the simple steps already outlined.
Don’t hesitate to TELL us about your opinions and experiences with that partner, friend, room mate, parent or sibling that snores.