How to Stop Snoring at night
The risks of smoking include the development of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke. Reduced airflow into the lungs strains the heart and vascular system, overburdening it over time. It is also worrisome because the sleeping sufferer is often unaware how serious his snoring is or that it keeps disrupting his sleep. Disrupted and decreased quality of sleep due to sleep apnea or other reasons can also increase the risk of motor vehicle accidents by up to 8 percent.
Treatments for Snoring
Family doctors can assess risk factors for snoring and sleep apneas and may recommend treatment at a sleep clinic. There are a number of treatments including positive life style changes to medical devices and minor surgery.
Lifestyle changes to reduce or eliminate sleep apnea
Your doctor may recommend the following lifestyle changes that can help manage sleep apnea:
- Lose weight: Obesity is a risk factor for snoring and sleep apnea. A doctor can recommend a safe and balanced plan to reach a healthy weight.
- Exercise: An active lifestyle not only helps maintain a healthy body weight, it’ll lead to more restful sleep. Exercise, particularly walking, jogging, running and hiking improve sleep quality. Just remember to avoid strenuous exercise at least three hours before sleeping.
- Quit smoking: Smoking and second-hand smoke make symptoms worse because of throat irritation and coughing at night, leading to snoring.
- Good Sleep Hygiene: Going to bed and waking up at roughly the same time every day helps to promote restful cycles of sleep. And prevents overtiredness from a lack of sleep, which can worsen snoring and apnea symptoms.
- Avoid alcohol and sleeping pills: Alcohol and certain medications such as sleep aids and some pain medications, can make throat muscles relax more than usual leading to narrowing and obstructions. They may also make it more difficult for your brain to wake you up when this happens, causing longer, more serious pauses in breathing. Overtime this can lead to serious damage to the body.
- Sleep on your side: Medical research shows that sleeping on your back allows gravity to further narrow your airways increasing the risk of snoring and sleep apnea.
- In more serious cases, Sleep Disorders clinics can assess the severity and causes of your sleep apnea, at home or in in-clinic observations and tests. Treatments include breathing devices such as CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) equipment. This device is a filter air blower that intakes regular room air and funnels it into a mask at a pressure determined by your doctor. The mask is worn over the nose and altered pressure opens the air passages decreasing sleep apnea.
Other treatments include a dental device that is worn while sleeping to dilate the airways, holding the lower jaw and tongue forward. Radio wave treatments are used to shrink tissue in the throat or tongue and surgeries involve reducing the soft tissues in the nose, uvula, and palate (roof of mouth) or the bony tissues in the back of the throat to reduce the risk of blockages.
It’s important to talk to your doctor about the risks before opting for surgery. If surgery is recommended ask for a referral to a specialist with experience in doing surgery for sleep apnea. It is usually best to try other less invasive treatments before deciding that surgery is the best option.