Why do we snore? 5 tips and exercises to stop it

More than half of adult people snore. And this problem can have several consequences. Is it your case? Learn how to stop doing it.

  

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Snore is a sleep disorder that, in addition to harming you, can influence your sleep quality and that of your family members.

As per Mike Dilkesan otolaryngologist surgeon, snoring “It's not a habit you can choose to have, but you can choose to stop”. It is a voluntary action, such as drinking and smoking, and can have serious consequences for public health. 

Anyone can be a "occasional snore person" at a certain stage of your life, especially if you have nasal obstruction associated with a deviated nasal septum, flu or allergic rhinitis. 

Snoring is also very common in the elderly, due to greater relaxation of the pharyngeal muscles in this age group.

 

What happens when we snore?

Snoring occurs due to the vibration of the top of the mouth and the walls of the pharynx. Here's what happens:

  • When falling asleep, the muscles of the palate, tongue and throat relax.
  • The airway becomes smaller, which makes it difficult for air to pass.
  • The airways vibrate.
  • One harsh and noisy sound results - the snoring.
  • Breathing is suspended for a few moments, causing oxygen levels to drop.

 

 Sn oring can be associated with several problems:

  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Impotence
  • Loss of concentration and memory
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Heart attack during sleep

 

With advancing age, snoring becomes much more frequent because the walls of the pharynx are becoming less and less resistant, causing a narrowing of the airways, which, in turn, causes an environment conducive to its vibration.

It is more common in men and it affects the quality of life, since the act of snoring too loudly causes a more superficial sleep, not letting you rest as you deserve. Can be a real nightmare.

At least 30% of men over the age of 30 snore, so in women this habit only begins to be more present after the age of 50, usually after menopause. 

 

From the age of 60, 60% of men and 45% of women snore!


 

Why do we snore?

As we have already seen, the habit of snoring is caused by the difficulty in the passage of air. This difficulty has several causes:

  • Difficulty breathing through the nose: due to changes in anatomy, deviated nasal septum, constipation or allergy
  • Obesity or overweight: 
    • cause sagging of the oropharynx and soft palate muscles, which causes them to vibrate
    • increase the volume of the tonsils and base of the tongue, which causes snoring to appear
  • Ingestion of drugs or medications that cause muscle relaxation (eg, sleeping pills)
  • Presence of secretions in the nose
  • Sleep with belly up, which aggravates the act of snoring
  • Sleep apnea, which happens when breathing “stops”

 

Snoring is the most frequent symptom of Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome, and it can occur in about 95% of people who have this problem. 

Only 6% of people with sleep apnea do not snore, and it should be noted that this complaint may be absent in patients who have previously undergone surgical treatment.

Snoring associated with Sleep  Apnea is characterized by being:

  • Irregular
  • Often intense (60-100 decibels)
  • High frequency 
  • Cyclic, interspersed with respiratory arrests

Snoring caused by sleep apnea is different from snoring alone because snoring results from the noise vibrations of the pharunx soft tissues, especially the palate and the side walls of the oropharynx, secondary to the passage of air through a narrow and obstructed airway. .

 

But watch out! It's not because you snore that you should assume you have sleep apnea, okay? 
 

How to treat this problem?

To treat snoring, it is important to first understand what are the the causes that lead to this happening. each case is (always) a case.

Healthy lifestyle

The first step to avoid snoring should be the adoption of a healthy lifestyle that consists of avoid high-calorie meals especially at dinner, drinking non-alcoholic drinks And practice physical activity regularly not strenuous (especially if you prefer to exercise at the end of the day). 

 

Devices or prostheses

Using devices, appliances or prostheses that open the upper airway without surgery may be a solution.

It is a very simple and effective way to reduce or stop snoring. This application must always be carried out in specialized laboratories, so that its placement is monitored by a professional experienced in the use of these devices. 

CPAP It is one of the tools that has proven to be effective in treating snoring.

It consists of the application of a constant positive pressure in the upper airway, working as a pneumatic cushion that prevents the collapse of the regions of this airway.

Advances in the technology of these devices, as well as regular monitoring by sleep specialists, have also contributed to improving adherence to this treatment, which is very important for its effectiveness.

CPAP treatment stops you snoring, reducing:

  • Sleepiness during the day
  • The risk of road and work accidents
  • The risk of cardiovascular problems

 

Surgery

It is often necessary to reach surgical techniques such as nasal, palate, uvula correction (the so-called gullet), tonsils or the base of the tongue.

In recent years, there has been great progress in this area, making anti-snoring surgeries much easier to perform and recover from. For example, mandibular advancement equipment, pressure masks, or laser surgery can be used.

Having good nasal breathing is essential. Surgical correction of the nose can be a good solution as a single approach or associated with other procedures and equipment.

Surgeries focused on the pharynx aim, in most cases, to reduce the sagging of the palate and reduce the size of the uvula, through radiofrequency or injection of substances into the soft palate. 

Surgical treatment can decrease snoring volume by about 50%. If snoring is already a problem, snoring too loudly is a real nightmare!

For any of these options, it is always recommended that you consult your doctor so that your case can be evaluated in the best way.

 

When to see a doctor?

There are several warning signs that should be analyzed by professionals specialized in this area:

  • Continue to snore, despite all precautions
  • Stopping breathing for 5 to 10 seconds during sleep (most worrying in overweight situations)
  • Too tired throughout the day
  • Always be in a bad mood, for no reason and in any situation
  • Waking up during the night with difficulty breathing 
  • Snoring becomes a very big nuisance for you and/or your partner
  • Waking up always with a headache

 

Care

It is essential that you take the right precautions to be able to avoid anything that can increase the likelihood of snoring:

  • Use both sides of the mouth to chew during meals
  • Avoid drinking alcohol before bed
  • Avoid tranquilizers, sleeping pills, and antihistamines before bed
  • Unclog your nose
  • Always go to bed at the same time sleep deprivation increases throat muscle relaxation
  • Side sleeping or raise the headboard
  • Avoid sleeping on your back
  • Maintain an adequate weight 
  • Avoid smoking
  • Avoid large meals before bed

 

Tips to avoid/stop snoring

There are some curious tricks that can make you lessen the habit of snoring. You can even stop snoring altogether:

Wearing compression stockings

The socks that for example, are used on long-haul flights to prevent blood clots, they can also be used to minimize episodes of sleep apnea.

They will reduce that feeling of swelling in your legs after an intense day. This is due to the accumulation of fluid, which can be directed to other areas of the body, which increases the problem.

 

Use a tennis ball

Those who sleep on their backs are more likely to snore because the tongue and soft tissue can narrow or block the airway.

To prevent this from happening, several people suggest tying a tennis ball to the back of the bedding. This will make sleeping on your back uncomfortable, forcing you to sleep on your side.

As time passes, sleeping on your back will no longer be a necessary position for the body to rest in conditions, adopting others that will prevent you from snoring. 

 

Sing

Singing during the day can improve the lives of those who snore. This activity tones the muscles where the vibration that will give rise to snoring occurs.

 

Cover up mouth

Normally, when snoring happens, the soft palate blocks the airway, which makes people gape. 

Keeping your mouth open is half the battle to start snoring. And, to solve this, you can simply cover your mouth with duct tape so that breathing is done through the nose again, as it is supposed to.

 

Use strips / feeds to stop resonating

Snoring strips or dressings are very easy to use. Its effectiveness varies from person to person, as nasal breathing is not usually the only reason for snoring. 

These dressings to stop snoring are available in different sizes, so it's easy to choose the one that best fits the size of your nose. They will open the nostrils so that the air reaches the throat in a functional way. 

In addition to decreasing snoring, they improve breathing and relieve nasal congestion. They guarantee a significant improvement in rest and are especially effective when you have the flu or have an allergic attack.

As they are very practical, these dressings to stop snoring can be a good approach in certain cases. 

 

Buy a new pillow

It is important to keep your pillow clean by washing it regularly. If you don't, mites will accumulate on it, causing allergies and other respiratory problems. 

And this can clog your airways, making snoring a reality at night.

The ideal is replace your pillow from year to year. If you can't, keep the one you already use in good condition and free from agents that could be harmful to your breathing and well-being.

 

Homemade Solutions

One of the most popular tables to stop snoring is eucalyptus steam inhalation. Too easy! Just add 5 drops of eucalyptus essential oil to 1 liter of boiling water. 

Breathing these vapors for a few minutes will help to clear the airways, causing you to stop snoring.

 

Rinse the nose with seawater or saline

One of the ways to relieve nasal congestion and stop snoring is to wash your nose with saline or sea water, which will help to eliminate the secretions that lead to a clogged nose.

 

Control or resonate

There are several ways to track snoring patterns, which can be very helpful in treatment. the mobile application SnoreLab is an excellent example of this. It is a precious ally in reducing or even stopping snoring. 

It was created to facilitate listening, measuring and monitoring snoring.

This app will give you all the tools you need to control the quality of your sleep, so that your nights are dreamy.

 

Anti snoring exercises that will help you

There are several Exercises that can alleviate this problem. You lose nothing in trying!

Exercise 1

Mike Dilkes, the surgeon we mentioned above, not satisfied with traditional methods of treatment to stop snoring, has developed an exercise that can revolutionize your nights sleep.

This exercise trains the tongue and throat and tones the structures in the neck, which can lead to breathing problems. You will also work separately on the mouth and neck regions: soft palate, tongue and the lower part of the throat.

You only need 5 minutes! 

  1. Open your mouth as wide as possible, with your tongue out as far as you can
  2. Keeping this position, move the tongue up, down and sideways.
  3. Repeat these movements several times
  4. Sing a song — it could even be the national anthem — in the lowest pitch you can
  5. You must do this for 2 minutes.

 

Exercise 2

Place your tongue against the roof of your mouth and press it against it and repeat 20 times.

Exercise 3

Press the back of your tongue against the bottom of your mouth, while touching the tip of your tongue to your lower teeth. Repeat 20 times.

Exercise 4

Elevates the back of the roof of the mouth (soft palate) and the uvula at the same time, saying “a”. Repeat 20 times.

Exercise 5

Put two fingers in your mouth, one on each side, and press your cheeks out. Repeat 10 times. 

 

Conclusion

Finally, here is a short summary of the most important messages:

  • Only some people who snore have sleep apnea
  • Warning signs, such as episodes of shortness of breath during sleep, daytime sleepiness, and obesity, help identify people at risk for sleep apnea.
  • Specific treatments for snoring include devices to keep the airway open and, in some cases, surgery.
  • Reducing the consumption of alcohol and sedative medications before bedtime, sleeping with your head elevated, losing weight and exercising are some of the things you can do to stop snoring.
  • You should always consult professionals specialized in this problem.

 

 

These tips will help you get the best nights sleep, for what snoring is a thing of the past. For you and for those around you. 

Try it!

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