What Type of Snorer Are You?
Different Types of Snorers Need Different Remedies
Odds are, you are one of the tens of millions of Americans who snore. With that, the question becomes: How often do you snore, and what are the causes?
Occasional snorers are typically affected by external factors. Some may simply need to switch from sleeping on their back to their side. Others may need medications to treat seasonal allergies or other sinus problems. Humidifiers can help people who snore because of dry, stuffy conditions. Likewise, avoiding alcohol close to bedtime can help prevent snoring.
But if you’re a habitual snorer, odds are the snoring treatment is beyond do-it-yourself measures. You owe it to yourself, and to your loved ones, to pinpoint the cause with help from an ear, nose and throat doctor. It not only means everyone in the house will get a better night’s rest, but it also ensures you’re not suffering from a condition that might seriously obstruct your breathing while you’re asleep.
Snoring is brought on by an obstruction in your airway. The first step toward treatment is determining whether the snoring originates in the nose, the throat, or somewhere in between.
Whining sound or snort coming from your nose at night? You could be a nasal snorer.
The nose is the location where most occasional snorers experience obstructions, whether it’s from mucus or inflamed sinus tissue. But if simple breathing strips don’t bring you relief, a more serious condition may be at play. But nasal passages might also be blocked by natural flaws in the walls of the nostrils. This condition is known as a deviated septum and requires a surgery to correct.
Nasal polyps might be another cause of snoring. Unlike polyps that occur in the colon or bladder, these teardrop-shaped growths are rarely cancerous. A number of factors can cause nasal polyps, and they become more common as people get older. If left untreated, it’s possible for them to grow so large as to cause disfigurement.
Because they form in the back of the nose, where the sinuses open into the nasal cavity, polyps can be detected only with a nasal endoscope. Treatments might include a corticosteroid spray or minor surgery.
Only snore when your mouth is open? You could be a mouth snorer.
Palatal snoring can occur when soft tissue in the roof of the mouth, also known as the soft palate, vibrates against the uvula, which dangles in the back of the throat. If either or both of these areas are too soft or flabby, a person’s snoring could seriously restrict breathing during sleep. Maintaining a healthy weight, refraining from smoking, and limiting alcohol may help tighten the muscles in the neck and the soft tissue responsible for the vibrations. If these lifestyle changes don’t reduce your snoring, an experienced ear, nose and throat specialist can provide a number of surgical approaches used to treat snoring.
High-pitched snoring that stops when you roll onto your side? You could be a tongue snorer.
People who sleep on their back put their tongue in a state of relaxation that causes it to fall backward in the mouth. Alcohol or sleeping pills produce the same effect. A person with a bulky tongue, or poor muscle tone in the area of the throat where the tongue falls, can have their breathing severely impaired. This is another part of the breathing process that can be adversely affected by age.
Gasping or waking up suddenly? More serious causes of snoring may be to blame.
People who are overweight are more prone to snoring brought on by bulky tissue in their throat. Conditions that cause enlarged tonsils or adenoids also block air intake at this point, putting the snorer at risk for sleep apnea. It’s time to see a sleep disorder specialist if you are waking up suddenly and often, or if you find yourself gasping for air.
Should you seek snoring treatment?
If your snoring cannot be curbed by altering your sleep habits or changing your lifestyle, please don’t hesitate to contact our Metairie or Chalmette office to schedule an appointment with one of our ENT specialists. It could be a warning sign of a more serious condition. At the very least, you’ll rest easier knowing the cause.
Image by Piotr Marcinski/123RF.