What is snoring?
For most people, mention of the word ‘snore’ would conjure up not-so-pleasant memories of having to hold a pillow over one ear to drown out the incessant, nail-on-chalkboards sound of a parent or a partner snoring away at abandon while in blissful sleep. Snoring is a phenomenon where a person is forced to produce a wheezing, sometimes whistle-like, mostly jarring noise during sleep. This occurs mostly when there is a fair amount of loose, relaxed tissues present in either the throat or the nasal cavity. Snoring has long been seen as a chief source of irritation for someone who is forced to share a room with a snorer, but it’s only in more recent times that people who snore are being looked at as having serious potential health issues.
Is snoring a sign of bad health?
The answer to the above is not unilateral. Most people have experienced some degree of snoring at some stage(s) of their lives, with vastly varying degrees of severity and occurrence. Many people experience it right from birth—baby snoring is a fairly common occurrence according to pediatricians. The occasional snore might not pose much of a health problem; however, those afflicted with chronic snoring are staring at a serious health hazard. Chronic and loud snoring is most commonly the result of partial closing of the upper respiratory tract, which occurs due to a multitude of problems such as breathing problems, excessive weight in the neck region or enlarged tonsils—many of which occur in individuals past the age of 40. An excess of loose tissue in the upper respiratory tract can lead to bigger sleep-related problems such as sleep apnea, or a steep drop in blood oxygen levels (in extremely severe cases). It has also been discovered that excessive snoring could lead to a narrowing of arteries in the neck region, which can considerably increase the chances of having a stroke.
When is snoring a sign of sleep apnea?
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), more commonly referred to as just sleep apnea (mentioned in above paragraph) is deeply associated with snoring. While not all people who snore suffer from OSA, the following symptoms along with snoring are certainly an indicator of the same:
It is advisable to see a doctor if an individual exhibits any of the above symptoms.
Cures available for snoring
There are various remedies available to lessen the intensity of snoring or to eliminate it altogether. Some of the most common cures are avoiding alcohol and sedatives before going to bed, a shift in the sleeping posture—sleeping on one side instead of lying on the back (considered the best way to stop snoring by many medical health professionals)or getting your nose wall alignment corrected by surgery (in case of people who suffer from a deviated septum of the nose). Anti-snoring pillows (sometimes anti snoring mattresses) could also come to a snorer’s aid.
Can a good mattress stop snoring?
Often, the bed one sleeps on might not be the best bed for snoring. That means, often beds have mattresses which sag in the middle, which serve to push the loose tissues in the nose and throat closely against one another, thereby increasing snoring. On that note, we arrive at the topic of anti-snoring mattresses. As said in the last paragraph, many a times anti-snoring mattresses and pillows are used to treat and address the problem of snoring. It has been found in studies that mattresses made from memory foam or latex can considerably reduce snoring, because of their medium universal firmness which provide more support to the tissues and contours in the throat and nose, and prevents any loose tissue in those cavities from getting squeezed in too close to each other and narrowing the passageway. Many brands sell anti snoring bedding, and it is advisable to try them.
How effective are Nasal strips?
The snoring problem can be cured or addressed to a great extent by trying on stick-on nasal strips. These are normally placed on the bridge of the nose to facilitate an increase in the space in the nasal cavity. This usually serves to make breathing more effective and eliminate/reduce snoring.
A nasal dilator is a similar aid, which is a stiff adhesive strip that’s stuck on to the nose across the nostrils. This effectively decreases airflow resistance, making breathing easier.
In conclusion, we can say that snoring is a fairly common health issue, like common cold, but in some cases, it might be a symptom of a bigger underlying health issue, or it might snowball into one later. While there’s no reason to lose sleep over the occasional snoring (pun intended), more chronic, severe cases of snoring should be immediately tended to and given the requisite medical attention it deserves.