It’s worthwhile to determine why you snore as it can make a big difference in finding an effective solution. The first step is to keep a sleep diary. You’ll need to enlist your partner’s help to observe patterns in your sleep and pinpoint when you snore by noticing how you are sleeping when the cacophony begins. Observing what stops you from snoring – often a change of position, not drinking any alcohol before bedtime, taking a hot shower where the steam clears the nasal passages before turning in – can also provide clues as to why you snore.
These are some of the common types of snorer:
Mouth shut Snorer
If you sleep with your mouth shut, but still snore, it could indicate a problem with your tongue and nasal passages and it may be a good idea to visit a doctor to see if there is swelling or congestion that could be causing the blockage in your airways which is causing you to snore. Often, a course of antihistamines or a medicated nasal spray can do the trick.
Mouth wide open Snorer
This is usually a result of some obstruction in the throat. If your throat is partially blocked, your body tries to force more air in, causing a vibration and the snoring sound. Enlarged tonsils can be the culprit here, so discuss it with your doctor. Sleeping deeply because of having a few drinks or a sleeping pill might be the cause here as they cause the muscles of the mouth and throat to become very relaxed and sink into the airway. If this is the case, you’ll need to cut down on the booze and avoid the medicine to see if it helps.
When you sleep on your back, gravity can cause the soft palette, throat and tongue to sink into the airway causing an obstruction which leads to snoring. An anti-snoring mouthpiece is a good option for this type of snorer. The mouthpiece gently moves the lower jaw forward by a few millimetres to allow for better flow of oxygen through the airways and preventing snoring.
Snorer no matter what!
If you snore with your mouth open or closed and no matter what position you sleep in, it could indicate that you don’t ‘just’ snore, but in fact suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea which is a more serious condition that needs medical intervention. Sleep Apnea causes you to stop breathing altogether while you sleep, causing you to be deprived of oxygen. If this is the case, you are normally referred to a sleep clinic where your sleeping will be hooked up to machines which monitor body functions such as brain activity, eye movements, muscle activity, heart rhythm and oxygen saturation to determine if they suffer from Sleep Apnea.
The solution for this serious condition could be a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device. This machine keeps the patient’s airway open during sleep by delivering a continuous flow of pressurized air into the throat. Another option is custom-made mouthpiece that shifts the lower jaw forward to open the airway, known as Oral Appliance Therapy.
Surgery is an option for patients who have tried these interventions with no success, especially those who suffer from a deviated nasal septum, enlarged tonsils, or a small lower jaw with an overbite causing the throat to be too narrow. Surgical treatment aims at opening the airway and is individualised to address the anatomical areas which may be causing a blockage.
No matter what type of snorer you are, it is essential to realise that snoring impacts the quality of your sleep, and therefore your physical and mental health. It’s therefore very valuable to determine why you snore and take steps to reduce your snoring and sleep better as a result.