Recently updated on March 17th, 2023 at 10:43 pm
What Is Snoring?Simply put snoring is the result of a blocked air passageway. It generally happens when there is an obstruction to breathing. When a person sleeps the muscles in the body relax. The problem is, in snorers, the throat muscles also relax and block the air passage. This creates obstructed air movement and does not let the person breathe freely. As a result, the strained breathing creates a noise. It is easy to simply brush aside snoring and not consider it a problem at all. But the fact is the sound of snoring can sometimes exceed 100 decibels, which is louder than the sound of a road drill. Even if the person remains unaware of the fact that he or she snores, the loud noise can cause sleep disturbances to others around him forcing them to seek remedies to stop snoring. The loudness of snoring can lead to chronic insomnia and for sleep quality in others sharing the room with the snorer. Snoring is not a problem when it is transient or because of a condition like a cold. It is also more common among men and those above middle age. Habitual snoring affects around 90 million people in the US alone. Children can also sometimes be habitual snorers, but the generally outgrow it as they get older.
What are the Most Common Causes of Snoring?As already discussed, the primary cause of snoring is obstruction of the air passage. But the obstruction can stem from various causes. Snoring is more an annoyance than anything else. It is not readily seen as a sleep disorder or a health problem. Snoring can often remain undiagnosed, and even though it may not be dangerous for the person, it can lead to various other problems.
Most Common Causes of SnoringExcess Weight: Overweight or obese people are more at risk for snoring. In fact, more than half of the total number of people who snore are overweight or obese. Any person with a body mass index of 29.9 or above is considered overweight, while a body mass index of 40 and above is considered obese. BMI is not always the sole yardstick for measuring excess weight. Men with a neck circumference of 17 inches or higher are also at risk for snoring. This is because overweight people have thick palates that narrow down the airway and obstruct breathing. This is not really a disorder but more of a lifestyle problem, affecting a vast number of people in the US. Alcohol: Many people are fond of consuming an alcoholic drink after dinner or before bed because they find it relaxing. Indeed, alcohol does have a relaxing effect on the body. Alcohol is known to relax all the muscles of the body including the throat muscles. When throat muscles relax, they block the airway and obstruct breathing. That is the reason why any person with sleep disorders or respiratory troubles should avoid alcohol at least two hours before bedtime. Nasal Problems: Respiratory or nasal problems can often be the reason behind loud snoring. Chronic nasal congestion and deviated nasal septum are one of the biggest physiological reasons behind snoring. Nasal congestion can have a variety of causes including allergies, common cold, sinusitis, environmental irritants, and nasal polyps. The septum is the wall between the nostrils. When it is crooked, it leads to a condition called deviated nasal septum. This causes airway obstruction and prevents normal breathing, leading to snoring. All types of nasal congestion require a medical diagnosis. Sleep Deprivation: Snoring and sleep deprivation are connected in two ways: sleep-deprived people tend to snore more, and those who snore are also usually sleep deprived. When sleep deprived people finally get to rest, they are more likely to snore than others. Sleep Position: The position in which a person sleeps is also a possible reason for snoring. Those who sleep on their back are more likely to snore than those who sleep on the sides or on the stomach. This is because when a person sleeps on the back, the air passage is narrowed down due to the relaxed throat muscles. Those who sleep on their backs and snore loudly may try changing the sleep position to see if there is any improvement.
What Habitual Snoring Can Lead To?Snoring may not always be the problem itself. Throat muscles relax in every person when they sleep, but when it begins to obstruct the breathing, it becomes a problem. When snoring goes undiagnosed, it can lead to other issues. Some of them are: Obstructive Sleep Apnea: In several cases, snoring is a sign of a more serious disorder called obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is of a number of types, but the most common is obstructive sleep apnea, in which the air passage is blocked by the relaxing throat muscles. This not only causes snoring but also makes the breathing stop and start abruptly throughout the night. As a result, the person fails to get proper rest, wakes up with a dry mouth and throat and feels tired throughout the day. Snoring is usually the first sign of obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep Deprivation: When a person snores it means the breathing is obstructed. And when the breathing is obstructed sleep is hampered. When a person fails to breathe normally, it wakes them up several times at night, leading to chronic sleep deprivation in the long run. Inability to Concentrate: Snoring causes sleep deprivation and excessive daytime sleepiness. As a result, concentration and productivity suffer and the risk of accidents at work and on the road also increases. Health Problems: Failing to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep every night can lead to various health problems including heart disease and the risk of strokes in heart attacks. Insufficient sleep has also been linked to hormonal imbalances and an increase in appetite and weight gain. Sleep Divorce: Relationships are often affected when one of the partners snores. In fact, it isn’t surprising to find couples who have broken up or divorced because one of them was a loud snorer. Although underestimated, snoring is a big enough reason behind the degrading of relationships.
7 Effective Remedies to Stop SnoringAlthough snoring can lead to various problems, it isn’t the end of the world. Snoring can often be managed with a few easy remedies. Some of them are:
Changing Sleep PositionSince back sleepers are more likely to snore, the first remedy to try is changing the sleep position. If you are a back sleeper, try sleeping on your side for a change. If that seems difficult in the beginning use a body pillow for help. When you sleep on your side, your throat muscles do not relax into the air passage and do not obstruct the breathing. Many back sleepers who snore have reported a marked improvement when sleeping on the side.
Losing WeightMost snorers are overweight, and in that case, losing weight is the only option. Although not too easy, maintaining the ideal body weight is one of the most effective ways to stop snoring. Following a proper diet and exercise is the best place to begin. A healthy BMI is between 21 and 25. Anything lower is underweight, and anything higher is overweight. Besides fat-burning exercises, strength training is also helpful in shedding fat, building muscles, and boosting metabolism.
Avoiding Alcohol and SedativesAlcohol and sedatives work the same way. They relax the muscles of the body, including that of the throat. When a person consumes alcohol or sedatives before bedtime, they are more likely to snore because the throat muscles relax further under the influence of the sedatives. Habitual snorers who consume alcohol or sedatives before going to bed should avoid them. This can bring about a significant improvement in snoring.
Practicing Better Sleep HygieneSnoring can often be a result of sleep deprivation and a lack of sleep hygiene. Maintaining a proper bedtime routine can alleviate most of the problems. Having a fixed sleep schedule, avoiding coffee and nicotine, and taking short naps are some of the ways to bring about quality sleep and reduce snoring.
Changing PillowsMattresses, pillows, and sheets house millions of dust mites and allergens. No matter how many times you wash them, they keep trapping dust and allergens. When a habitual snorer sleeps on such pillows and sheets, it causes allergies and adds to respiratory distress, making snoring worse. That is why pillows and sheets should be regularly changed and kept clean all the time. Also, make sure that the pillows keep your head and neck properly supported. If possible, stack two or three pillows to keep your head elevated while you sleep.
Hot ShowerWarmth helps clear blockages in the airway, removes congestion, and ease respiratory distress. Besides, a warm bath or shower will also help you sleep deeper. This could help lessen snoring that starts in the nose. You could also keep a bottle of saltwater rinse in the shower for rinsing your nose out with to open up the nasal passages. Besides taking a hot bath or shower, you may also consider buying a neti pot to clear the nasal passages with a saltwater solution.
Staying HydratedWhen the body is dehydrated, it produces thicker fluids. When your nasal secretions become thick, it blocks the airway and causes snoring. Dehydration can be one of the biggest reasons behind snoring sometimes. There are snoring sprays that prevent the nasal passages from sticking together. Drinking enough water during the day often reduces snoring in dehydrated people. However, drinking too much water before bedtime isn’t recommended because it will only make you get up for the bathroom.
In ConclusionThe causes and treatment for snoring aren’t easy to determine without a medical diagnosis. There are anti-snoring devices such as Tongue Stabilizing Devices (or TSDs) and mandibular advancement devices that open up the airway, to prevent obstruction. These mouthpieces should always be used under the supervision of a doctor because only a healthcare practitioner will be able to determine the reason behind the snoring and suggest the right treatment options. In the meanwhile, home remedies and sleep hygiene can be tried to alleviate the distress for the snorer and others around. Snoring though may seem innocuous can be an indicator of a serious underlying health condition. It may even be affecting you in ways that might not be apparent – like affecting your sleep quality, diminishing your capabilities to concentrate on work, or even affecting your relationship with your partner. We have also created an infographic on this subject, feel free to share it with your friends and on your social networks. Happy sleeping!
Our Favorite New Anti-Snoring Devices
Smart Nora: Features: Contact-free snoring solution, customizable sensitivity, smart technology Unique aspect: A silent, non-invasive device that uses a gentle motion to adjust the user’s pillow in response to snoring Price: Approximately $329
SleepConnection: Features: Wrist-worn device, detects snoring and sends gentle electrical pulses to change sleeping position Unique aspect: Portable and convenient, promotes side sleeping to reduce snoring Price: Approximately $59.99
Good Morning Snore Solution (GMSS): Features: Tongue stabilization device, medically tested, made of soft and comfortable BPA-free material Unique aspect: Uses tongue displacement technology to maintain open airways and reduce snoring Price: Approximately $69.95
ZQuiet: Features: Mandibular advancement device, FDA-cleared, made of soft, flexible material for comfort Unique aspect: Designed to slightly advance the lower jaw to open airways and alleviate snoring Price: Approximately $79.95
AirSnore: Features: Custom-fitted mouthpiece, mandibular advancement device, can be used with optional AirSnore drops for nasal congestion relief Unique aspect: Combines an easy-to-fit mouthpiece with natural essential oils to create a comprehensive snoring solution Price: Approximately $49.95 (mouthpiece), $89.95 (mouthpiece and drops)
Keep in mind that new devices may have been released since my knowledge cutoff date, so it’s a good idea to research the latest products and consult with a healthcare professional before making a decision.
Surgery for Snoring
Several surgical options are available for treating snoring. These procedures are typically considered when conservative methods, such as lifestyle changes or anti-snoring devices, have failed to provide relief. The type of surgery recommended usually depends on the specific cause of the snoring. Some common surgical procedures include:
Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP): This procedure involves removing excess tissue from the soft palate and pharynx, which can reduce airway obstruction and alleviate snoring. The uvula may also be removed or shortened during this procedure.
Palatal implants (Pillar Procedure): This minimally invasive procedure involves inserting small polyester rods into the soft palate. The implants stiffen the soft palate, reducing vibrations that cause snoring.
Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP): This procedure uses a laser to remove or reshape the uvula and a portion of the soft palate. The goal is to reduce airway obstruction and decrease snoring.
Radiofrequency ablation (RFA) or Somnoplasty: This procedure uses radiofrequency energy to shrink and tighten the soft palate tissue. The process helps reduce airway obstruction and alleviate snoring.
Genioglossus advancement (GA): This surgical procedure involves repositioning a portion of the lower jaw forward. This helps to pull the tongue forward, opening up the airway and reducing snoring.
Septoplasty: This procedure is performed to correct a deviated septum, which can contribute to snoring. By straightening the nasal septum, airflow through the nasal passages is improved, potentially reducing snoring.
Turbinate reduction: This procedure aims to reduce the size of the nasal turbinates, which are structures inside the nose that can become enlarged and obstruct airflow. Reducing the size of the turbinates can improve nasal breathing and potentially reduce snoring.
It is essential to consult with a healthcare professional, such as an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist), to determine the best course of action based on the specific cause of your snoring. Surgery carries inherent risks, and the benefits and potential complications should be carefully considered before pursuing this treatment option.
Why Do Fat People Snore?
Snoring is often more common in people who are overweight or obese, but there are several factors that contribute to this. The primary reason is that excess body fat, particularly in the neck and throat area, can lead to increased pressure on the airways. This additional pressure can partially obstruct the airway, causing vibrations in the surrounding tissues when air is forced through during breathing. These vibrations are what produce the sound of snoring.
Here are some factors that explain why overweight individuals may be more prone to snoring:
Excess fat in the neck and throat: People who are overweight may have extra fat around their neck and throat, which can narrow the airway and make it more prone to collapsing or becoming obstructed during sleep. This increases the likelihood of snoring.
Lower muscle tone: Individuals who are overweight or obese may have decreased muscle tone in the throat and neck, which can lead to increased airway obstruction and vibrations when breathing during sleep.
Sleep position: Overweight individuals often sleep on their back, which can cause the tongue and other soft tissues in the throat to fall back into the airway, partially blocking it and contributing to snoring.
Hormonal factors: Obesity can affect hormone levels in the body, which may contribute to changes in sleep patterns and the likelihood of snoring.
Sleep apnea: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is more common in overweight and obese individuals. This condition is characterized by repeated episodes of partial or complete airway obstruction during sleep, leading to disrupted sleep and frequent snoring.
What Specialist Do I See About My Snoring?
It’s important to consult with qualified healthcare professionals who specialize in sleep disorders and snoring when seeking help for snoring problems. While I cannot provide you with a specific list of experts, I can offer some guidance on the types of specialists you may want to consult:
Otolaryngologists (Ear, Nose, and Throat specialists): These physicians specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders related to the ear, nose, and throat, including snoring and sleep apnea.
Sleep Medicine Specialists: These doctors have specialized training in sleep medicine and can diagnose and treat various sleep disorders, including snoring and sleep apnea.
Pulmonologists: These physicians specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of lung and respiratory disorders, and some may have additional training in sleep medicine.
Dentists with expertise in sleep dentistry: Some dentists have specialized training in treating snoring and sleep apnea using dental appliances, such as mandibular advancement devices.
Neurologists: Some neurologists have specialized training in sleep medicine and can help diagnose and treat sleep-related disorders, including snoring and sleep apnea.
To find a snoring expert, you can:
- Consult with your primary care physician for a referral to a specialist
- Contact your insurance provider for a list of covered specialists in your area
- Search online for local sleep clinics or specialists with positive reviews
- Consult professional organizations, such as the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, for a directory of board-certified sleep medicine specialists.
Well Known Sleep Doctors
While there are many doctors and researchers who have contributed to the field of snoring research and sleep medicine, some notable pioneers in the area include:
Dr. Christian Guilleminault: Dr. Guilleminault was a renowned sleep medicine specialist and researcher who made significant contributions to the understanding of sleep apnea and its connection to snoring. He was instrumental in the development of continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, which is a widely used treatment for sleep apnea.
Dr. Colin Sullivan: An Australian physician and researcher, Dr. Sullivan is credited with inventing the first continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) device for treating obstructive sleep apnea in 1980. This invention revolutionized the treatment of sleep apnea and snoring.
Dr. Meir Kryger: A prominent sleep medicine specialist, Dr. Kryger has contributed extensively to sleep research and is the author of several books on sleep medicine, including the “Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine.” He has conducted research on various aspects of sleep disorders, including snoring and sleep apnea.
Dr. William C. Dement: Known as the “Father of Sleep Medicine,” Dr. Dement was a pioneer in the field of sleep research. He was instrumental in establishing the first sleep disorders clinic at Stanford University and was a founding member of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. While his research focused on many aspects of sleep, his work has greatly influenced the understanding and treatment of snoring and sleep apnea.
These doctors and researchers have made significant contributions to the field of sleep medicine, helping to advance our understanding of snoring and related sleep disorders. However, it is essential to recognize that the field of sleep medicine is constantly evolving, and many other researchers and clinicians continue to contribute to this area of study.
Best Books About Snoring
There are several books available that discuss snoring and related sleep disorders, offering insights into the causes, treatments, and management strategies. Here are some books that you may find helpful:
“The Sleep Doctor’s Diet Plan: Lose Weight Through Better Sleep” by Dr. Michael Breus: While not solely focused on snoring, this book discusses the connection between sleep quality, weight, and overall health, which can be relevant for individuals dealing with snoring issues.
“Snoring and Sleep Apnea: Sleep Well, Feel Better” by Dr. Ralph A. Pascualy and Sally Warren Soest: This book provides a comprehensive overview of snoring and sleep apnea, discussing the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment options available for these sleep disorders.
“The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep is Broken and How to Fix It” by Dr. W. Chris Winter: Although not exclusively about snoring, this book offers practical advice and information on various sleep issues, including snoring and sleep apnea. It helps readers understand the science behind sleep and provides guidance on how to achieve better sleep quality.
“Sleep Apnea – The Phantom of the Night: Overcome Sleep Apnea Syndrome and Win Your Hidden Struggle to Breathe, Sleep, and Live” by T. Scott Marrone and Gerald A. Smythe: This book offers a comprehensive guide to understanding and managing sleep apnea, a common cause of snoring. It covers a range of topics, including diagnosis, treatment options, and lifestyle changes that can help reduce snoring and sleep apnea symptoms.
“Snoring: Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment” by K. S. Clifford Chao and Dr. Peter C. Gay: This book offers a detailed overview of snoring, including its causes, diagnosis, and various treatment options available. It aims to provide a comprehensive resource for those dealing with snoring issues.
These books can provide valuable insights into snoring and related sleep disorders. However, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional if you are experiencing snoring issues, as they can provide personalized guidance on the best course of action based on your specific circumstances.
Most Famous Snoring Scenes In Movies
While snoring may not be a central plot point in many movies, there are several memorable scenes where snoring is used for comedic effect or to depict the character’s personality traits. Here are a few examples:
“Sleeping Beauty” (1959): In this classic Disney animated film, one of the fairy godmothers, Merryweather, is shown snoring while sleeping.
“Uncle Buck” (1989): In this John Hughes comedy, John Candy’s character, Buck Russell, is depicted snoring loudly in one scene, emphasizing his larger-than-life and somewhat unkempt persona.
“Hook” (1991): In this adventure film, the character of Smee, played by Bob Hoskins, is shown snoring while sleeping in his hammock.
“My Cousin Vinny” (1992): In this comedy, Mona Lisa Vito, played by Marisa Tomei, has a scene where she snores loudly while sleeping, to the surprise of her partner, Vinny Gambini, played by Joe Pesci.
“Sleepless in Seattle” (1993): In this romantic comedy, Tom Hanks’ character, Sam Baldwin, snores loudly while asleep on the couch, which is used as a humorous moment in the film.
“Shrek” (2001): In the animated movie, Princess Fiona, voiced by Cameron Diaz, is shown snoring loudly in a scene where Shrek and Donkey are trying to rescue her.
“The Great Outdoors” (1988): In this comedy, Chet Ripley, played by John Candy, is shown snoring loudly in a scene where his wife, Connie, played by Stephanie Faracy, is trying to have a conversation with him.
“The Santa Clause” (1994): In this holiday comedy, Scott Calvin, played by Tim Allen, snores loudly while sleeping on the couch after a long night of delivering presents as Santa Claus.
“MouseHunt” (1997): In this comedy, the character of Ernie Smuntz, played by Nathan Lane, snores loudly while sleeping in the same bed as his brother, Lars, played by Lee Evans. Their snoring is so intense that it causes the bedsprings to vibrate.
“Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (2001): In this fantasy film, the character of Rubeus Hagrid, played by Robbie Coltrane, is shown snoring loudly while sleeping on a train ride to Hogwarts.
“Ice Age” (2002): In this animated film, the character of Manny the mammoth, voiced by Ray Romano, snores loudly in a cave while the other characters, Sid the sloth and Diego the saber-toothed tiger, try to sleep nearby.
“The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” (2005): In this fantasy film, the character of Mr. Beaver, voiced by Ray Winstone, is shown snoring while sleeping in his house. The snoring is so loud that it wakes up the Pevensie children.
“The Pink Panther Strikes Again” (1976): In this comedy, Inspector Clouseau, played by Peter Sellers, snores loudly while sleeping, to the annoyance of his boss, Chief Inspector Dreyfus.
“City Slickers” (1991): In this comedy, Phil Berquist, played by Daniel Stern, snores loudly while sharing a tent with Mitch Robbins, played by Billy Crystal, and Ed Furillo, played by Bruno Kirby, during their cattle drive adventure.
“The Emperor’s New Groove” (2000): In this animated film, the character of Pacha, voiced by John Goodman, snores loudly while sleeping next to Emperor Kuzco, voiced by David Spade, who has been transformed into a llama.
“Bride and Prejudice” (2004): In this Bollywood adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” Mrs. Bakshi, played by Nadira Babbar, snores loudly while sharing a bed with her husband, Mr. Bakshi, played by Anupam Kher.
“Kung Fu Panda” (2008): In this animated film, the character of Po, voiced by Jack Black, is shown snoring loudly while sleeping in the Jade Palace’s barracks, much to the annoyance of the Furious Five and Master Shifu.
These scenes depict snoring as a humorous or character-defining moment, often adding a lighthearted touch to the movie.