About 40 million Americans snore, causing untold damage to relationships and plenty of lost sleep. When you snore, the fleshy areas of the throat, such as the uvula, vibrate. This vibration causes the buzzing, gargling, rattling, and wheezing sounds known as snoring. Snoring is twice as common in men as in women, but women and children also snore. The figures for men are surprisingly high: 20% of men aged 30 to 35 snore, with that number jumping to more than 60% by age 60.
The most significant drawback to snoring is not the bothersome sound it makes but the fact that oxygen flow to the lungs is being restricted, which can lead to manifold challenges.
What Causes Snoring?
Any number of factors, ranging from mild conditions to lifethreatening diseases, can cause snoring. On the less serious side, many factors may lead to the annoying sounds of snoring:
- Simple nasal or sinus congestion
- Swollen tonsils or adenoids
- Nasal polyps
- Loose dentures
- Eating heavy meals late in the evening
- Alcohol, especially if you drink within a few hours of bedtime
- Antidepressants, antiseizure drugs, antihistamines, and muscle relaxant drugs may cause snoring because they cause the throat muscles to relax, thus reducing the width of airways.Age is associated with a high incidence of snoring because aging causes the throat’s skin and muscles to become flabby, which partially obstructs airflow.
Some causes of snoring are more serious, such as obesity and heart disease. Sleep apnea reeks havoc with sleeping and can lead to strokes. High blood pressure also causes snoring, and should never be left untreated.
Treatments for Snoring
If snoring is a minor inconvenience, these tips might help cure the problem:
- Sleep on your side instead of your back. Attach a small pocket to the back of your nightshirt and place a golf ball or large marble in the pocket. You will not sleep on your back.
- Blow your nose to clear out congestion before you go to sleep.
- You can try breathing oils, such as peppermint, spearmint, pine, and eucalyptus.
- Develop a consistent sleeping pattern.
- Avoid drinking alcohol close to bedtime.
- Keep your room dust free, and don’t let pets sleep with you. You may want to take homeopathic remedies to counter mold, dust, and dander.
- Nasal strips hold the nose open, allowing you to breathe easier through the nose.
- Avoid eating mucusproducing foods like wheat and dairy, and any foods you are allergic to. See Mucus for information on herbs and extracts that may help reduce it.
- Use a humidifier in your bedroom if air is too dry. Or you can use an atomizer if your room is small enough. Add some marjoram oil drops to the water.
- Avoid late meals and overeating. Losing weight also helps.