Snoring occurs when the airway channel relaxes during sleep and becomes a conduit for air-induced vibration. When there is an obstruction in the airway, structures in the throat vibrate, producing sound. The spectrum of snoring ranges from an undetectable sound, to levels as high as 90 to 120 decibels. Although snorers tend to not awaken themselves, they may disrupt a bed partner’s sleep as well as cause hearing loss.
Treatment for Snoring
For snorers who do not have sleep apnea, there are a variety of treatments. These can include:
- A change in sleeping position, from the back to the side
- Weight loss
- Dental devices
- Nasal decongestants
- New upper airway surgery with lasers
Risk factors for snoring include obesity, allergies, being male or a post-menopausal female, a deviated septum, consumption of alcohol before bed, eating late night meals and smoking.
Snoring Can Be Symptomatic of a Larger Health Issue: Sleep Apnea
Heavy snoring is often associated with sleep apnea, which is in turn associated with hypertension (high blood pressure). It is estimated that up to 30 percent of adults with high blood pressure in midlife have problems with snoring and sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can also lead to cardiac arrhythmia and sudden death during sleep.