How to Stop Snoring Without Surgery
Snoring is a frustrating condition to have. Not only is it noisy, but since you're asleep when you do it, it's not really something you can consciously avoid doing unless you get help.
At least one in four people in the United States snore, and when you consider that many of these people share rooms, either with spouses, partners, siblings, or roommates, the number of people who deal with snoring on a daily basis skyrockets.
The good new is that it is possible to reduce or stop snoring, even if you don't want an invasive procedure.
What Causes Snoring?
Finding out what causes your snoring can take some time. The basic cause is that something is obstructing your airway in the back of your mouth or in your throat, and that something is just loose enough to vibrate as air tries to make its way in and out of your respiratory system while fighting the negative air pressure created by the obstruction.
The specific reason you're snoring, though, may not be as immediately apparent. You can have one or more specific causes at play:
- Congestion: If you've had a cold or are suffering from allergies, mucus could be to blame. If the congestion is chronic, such as with long-term allergies, then the snoring can recur as long as you have the congestion.
- Deviated septum: Your nose contains cartilage and bone in the center, and if these tissues are off-center, they can partially block the airflow in and out of your nose.
- Soft palate: The back portion of the roof of your mouth is known as the soft palate, and sometimes this portion is very thick or hangs down rather low. The uvula -- the bit of tissue hanging at the back of your mouth -- can also be rather long. All of this tissue can potentially hang down into your throat when you lie down, creating an obstruction.
- Excess weight: This can cause two problems that lead to snoring. One is that you may have additional tissue in your throat that can create a partial obstruction. The other is that the weight you carry around your neck and chest could press down on your throat and airway as you sleep.
- Alcohol: If you've been drinking alcohol, either in large amounts or close to your bedtime, you could be relaxing your throat muscles too much. The tissue can droop, creating a narrower airway and making you snore.
- Sleep apnea: Sleep apnea, also called obstructive sleep apnea or OSA, is a condition in which the obstruction fully blocks your airway to the point where you stop breathing. This is not a condition you want to ignore as it can lead to several severe side effects.
How Do You Know if You're Snoring?
Snoring's most obvious symptom is the noise, but if you sleep alone, you may never realize you're making that sound. However, there are other symptoms you can look out for:
- Waking up feeling like you're gasping for air, or like you've been choking
- Feeling like you've got a sore throat
- Having unexplained high blood pressure or nighttime chest pain
- Feeling like you never get a good night's sleep
- Being constantly drowsy during the day
- Having trouble concentrating
Can You Stop Snoring Without Surgery?
Luckily, there are ways you can stop snoring without surgery. But if you still need help, or if you've already tried remedies like a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask, you may want to look into something called an oral appliance.
Oral appliance therapy, or OAT, can help people who can't use CPAP masks or who have relatively mild or moderate snoring or OSA. This is a non-invasive procedure using a small device similar to an oral mouth guard. It helps keep your soft palate and uvula up and out of your throat, thus making your airway stay open when you lie down and sleep.
It's usually better to stop snoring without surgery, but if needed, OAT can be used alongside surgery or CPAP for more severe cases. You can also use OAT when managing your weight to reduce your snoring.
How to Get an Evaluation for OAT
Even if you think you know what's causing your snoring, you would benefit from meeting with a snoring specialist to ensure there are no other factors contributing to the condition. At eos dental sleep, we can see whether OAT would be appropriate given what's causing your snoring.
We want you to have relaxing, quiet sleep that contributes to a great quality of life. Whether you think you're just snoring or you think you might have sleep apnea, contact our snoring specialists to schedule a consultation now.