While you are sleeping, snoring can occur when the soft tissues of your tongue and neck relax, narrowing your airway.
When the airway gets narrowed, and then you try to breathe in, it makes the soft tissue in your throat vibrate, and the noise it makes is snoring.
Snoring is more likely if you sleep on your back and with your mouth open.
Anything that narrows your airway can cause snoring, including:
- Large tonsils
- An enlarged uvula (the tissue at the back of your throat)
- A deviated septum (the thin wall between your nostrils is misaligned)
- Nasal congestion
- Excess weight
- Drinking alcohol
While snoring is very annoying for your sleep partner, in most cases is a benign (not serious) issue. However, in about 20% of cases, snoring is a symptom of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (click here to find out more about Obstructive Sleep Apnea) which is a medical condition that can have implications for your health.
Can snoring be treated?
You bet! Surgery may be a solution for large tonsils, an enlarged uvula or a deviated septum. Your Family Doctor or Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) Specialist can advise you if these options are right for you.
Doctors also often recommend lifestyle changes such as refraining from alcohol and losing weight to help chronic snorers reduce their snoring.
Another option can be a SomnoMed® oral appliance. The oral appliance will pull your bottom jaw forward, stretching the muscles around your tongue, and opening up the airway so that it doesn’t vibrate anymore. For more information about SomnoMed® oral appliances, click below to view our products.
Who should I see about my snoring?
If your sleep partner is begging you to do something about your snoring, it’s best to talk to your GP or Family Physician.
As snoring is related to sleep apnea in about 20% of patients, it is worthwhile to ask your doctor for a sleep test to check if you do have this serious medical condition. Your doctor may also refer you to a specialist to determine if you are suitable for surgery.
If your doctor decides surgery is not suitable for you, you may be referred to a dentist for an oral appliance. If you don’t have a dentist that you go to regularly, SomnoMed® can help you find one that can fit you with a custom-made oral appliance in your local area.