You look forward to a sound sleep after a hard and tiring workday. You adjust yourself to your comfortable position and roll over in the world of sleep and dreams. Just about when you are in deep slumber, a ‘thud’ sound like a canon-blast or a choker being removed from a clogged sink startles you wide awake. You sit up to realize your spouse is in deep sleep, snoring away happily. Annoyed, you poke them and try to go back to sleep. Sometimes you shift to a different room to get some decent sleep. If this sounds familiar to you, read on.
Why Should You Address The Problem Without More Delay?
It’s tempting to let snoring be. Even as a spouse of someone who snores, you’d be tempted to not have the painful conversation. However, ignoring snoring might be worse.
Millions of people across the globe snore regularly. Far from being amusing, snoring actually has pretty dire consequences.
- According to the National Sleep Foundation, the problem of snoring worsens with age.
- During sleep the throat muscles are relaxed, inner walls of the throat become narrow and create vibrations causing snoring.
- When these walls completely collapse, blocking the airway and startling you awake, you suffer from sleep apnoea.
- Snoring can cause a five-fold increase in cancer risk.
There are very simple and reliable exercises to mitigate snoring. You can adopt these today (if you snore), or motivate your friend/spouse to try them out, and win back your sleep.
‘Position’ your way to sleep
Your sleep position is also an important factor that influences snoring. Sleeping on your back increase the chances of snoring. When you lie on your back the tongue and soft palate collapses to the back wall of the throat leading to snoring. Sleeping on the side keeps the airway unobstructed and easily avoids snoring. Make sure you keep soft pillows behind your back to avoid rolling over in sleep. Elevating the head of your bed by four inches can also reduce your snoring by keeping the airways open.
Being allergic to dust, strong smell like the mosquito repellent or incense sticks, perfumes or deodorants can increase nasal congestion and inflammation eventually leading to snoring. You can reduce some of the bedroom allergens by
- Dusting carpets and curtains daily.
- Changing your pillow in a couple of years.
- Changing pillow-case and sheets once a week.
Work-Out for tongue and throat
A few simple tongue and throat exercise can help you stop snoring. They make the muscles in tongue and throat stronger.
- Stretch out your tongue as for as it can go. Move it to your left and right. Make sure it touches your mouth.
- ‘The lips, the teeth, the tip of the tongue’ – Repeat this phrase for a good tongue workout.
- Place the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth, behind your teeth. Move the tip of your tongue back towards your soft palate. Move the tip of your tongue back to the front of your mouth. Repeat 20 times.
By following these simple tricks before going to bed, the tongue is less likely to drool backward and block the airway.
Being overweight is a health hazard. A large neck increases the chances of fat pushing down your throat. The fatty tissue around the neck squeezes the airway obstructing the free flow of air causing snoring. Eat healthily and exercise daily is the mantra to follow.
Say No to Smoke and Alcohol
Drinking alcohol directly before sleep can aggravate snoring to dangerous levels. Alcohol relaxes the body and throat muscles, which makes the muscles vibrate more, worsening the snore. Cigarette smoke irritates and swells the inner lining of the nose. Hence there is less area for air to pass. Smoke irritates the mucous membranes of the throat leading to swelling and narrowing the airway.
About 60 percent of the human body is water. Water is a natural remedy for many disorders. Lack of water builds up a thick layer of mucus in mouth and throat. It sticks together causing snoring. Drinking about 2 to 2.5 liters of water daily keeps your mouth and throat hydrated. Eating water-rich fruits and vegetables maintains water content in the body to an optimum level. Besides this, avoid eating immediately before sleeping to prevent snoring.
- Stick-on nasal strips help in breathing and reduce snoring to some extent.
- Nasal dilator is applied across nostrils, which decreases airflow resistance and aids in breathing.
- The aveoTSD is a good device which suctions gently to the tip of your tongue and holds it while you sleep, allowing the airway to remain free of obstructions.
There are other options like surgery which can help
- unblock nose
- reduce the size of tonsils
- tighten the soft palate
- Equipment like mandibular advancement device or positive airway pressure mask can be fitted.
Prevention is better than cure. Prevent that ugly snore by practicing the above-mentioned simple steps and enjoy a peaceful and snore-free sleep. Good night!