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    Snoring – what to do?

    Doesn’t snoring seem comical? Maybe it is not a big deal for you? If so, either you don’t have a family member who snores or you are its blissfully ignorant perpetrator. Or maybe you haven’t experienced it at all.

    Risk factors and minimising them

    Snoring doesn’t come out anywhere, and it is not a healthy or normal thing to do. Before taking any treatment options, it’s important to have a look at your lifestyle and consider the impact it could be having. The most common risk factor is being overweight. The additional tissue that is placed on the throat and soft palate can easily obstruct the airway, starting out with snoring before eventually progressing to sleep apnoea.

    There are genetic factors that could result in a longer pallet or larger tonsils than average. If your lower jaw is less pronounced than your upper jaw, perhaps due to an overbite, there is a chance that your soft tissues are being pushed back into your throat.

    Treatment options

    Nearly 50% of snoring cases appear to be postural in nature. When sleeping face-up, gravity pulls the tissue further back in your throat, and if it is overly pliant, it will block the airway. Sleeping on your side reduces this, which can be a mixed blessing to family members, allowing everyone to get some sleep. However, if you have a habit of rolling during the night, you could roll onto your back and start snoring, waking up partners and, in severe cases, those in other rooms. You could purchase a specially designed pillow that discourages rolling and keeps you on your side during the night. For many, this is a quick and effective fix.

    Are you a nightcap drinker, or do you engage in a short sharp drink just before bed? This may help you to drift off to the land of nod, but as a muscle relaxant, alcohol can be a significant cause of snoring. Try skipping drinking for a few weeks but emphasise cutting the drink just before bed to see whether it is the causal factor for you!

    Swelling and inflammation of the sinus and throat can be a cause of temporary snoring in the case of a cold or seasonal allergies. With smokers who regularly irritate the tissues of their throat and sinuses, it can become a constant stimulus. Reducing or quitting smoking whilst taking anti-inflammatory medication can make a significant difference by reducing the underlying tissue swelling; this is also the case for those suffering from an autoimmune condition.

    Sleep apnoea

    Unfortunately, given enough time, many cases of chronic snoring will develop into sleep apnoea; this can have some serious health implications on the heart, cognitive function and general quality of life. There are treatment options, such as positive pressure machines and other supportive measures, that can be effective, but the goal should be to avoid inducing sleep apnoea rather than managing it once it has occurred. This can be done by addressing snoring. There are many professionals in local dental clinics like dentist Welwyn Garden City who can help by fabricating assistive devices.