Snoring

Snoring is a common condition that affects many people and is typically not a cause for concern. However, if snoring becomes a problem, there are measures you can take to help alleviate it.

Causes

Snoring occurs when the tongue, mouth, throat, or airways in the nose vibrate as you breathe during sleep. Several factors can contribute to snoring, including:

  • Overweight or obesity
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Sleeping on your back

In some cases, snoring may be a symptom of a more serious condition, such as sleep apnea, which occurs when the airways become temporarily blocked during sleep.

Managing snoring with lifestyle changes

Simple lifestyle modifications can be effective in reducing or stopping snoring. Consider the following steps:

  • Weight management: If you are overweight, losing weight can help reduce snoring.
  • Sleep position: Try sleeping on your side. You can use techniques like taping or stitching a tennis ball to the back of your sleepwear or invest in a special pillow or bed wedge to help keep you on your side.
  • Consider your partner: If your snoring affects your partner's sleep, suggest they use earplugs as a temporary solution.

Avoiding certain habits can also contribute to reducing snoring:

  • Quit smoking: Smoking can worsen snoring by irritating the airways and causing congestion.
  • Limit alcohol consumption: Alcohol relaxes the muscles in the throat, increasing the likelihood of snoring.
  • Avoid sleeping pills: Sleeping pills can sometimes contribute to snoring.

When to seek medical advice

If lifestyle changes do not alleviate your snoring or if it significantly impacts your life or your partner's sleep quality, it is advisable to consult a GP. They can assess your situation and provide appropriate guidance.

During your appointment, the GP will examine your mouth and nose to identify any underlying issues that may be causing the snoring. It can be helpful to bring a partner who can describe the nature of your snoring.

Treatment options

The treatment for snoring depends on the underlying cause. Your doctor may recommend the following options:

  • Mandibular advancement device: A device worn in the mouth that brings the tongue forward, helping to prevent it from blocking the back of the throat.
  • Chin strap or vestibular shield: These devices aim to keep the mouth closed or promote nasal breathing during sleep.
  • Nasal dilators or strips: Special devices or strips that hold the nose open, allowing for improved airflow.
  • Nasal sprays: Sprays that reduce swelling in the nasal passages, helping to clear the airways.

Surgical interventions may be considered if other treatments prove ineffective. However, it's important to note that surgery for snoring is not widely available on the NHS, and its success is not guaranteed.

Seeking help

If you experience excessive daytime sleepiness, gasping or choking noises during sleep, or your snoring is causing significant distress, you may have sleep apnea, a potentially serious condition. In such cases, it is crucial to seek medical attention promptly.

Remember, snoring is often a manageable condition, and with the right approach, you can find relief and improve the quality of your sleep. Don't hesitate to reach out to a healthcare professional if you have concerns or require further assistance.

Doctor
General Practitioner

At Dr.Dropin our experienced GPs provide a wide range of primary care services, similar to those provided by the NHS, either in the clinic or through video consultations.

Dermatologist

At Dr.Dropin, you will receive specialist care from our expert Consultant Dermatologists provided by skindoc. With extensive experience from both public and private hospitals, we can assess and treat most chronic and acute skin disorders – either in the clinic, through video, or via a photo upload service.

References