Snoring – almost everyone does it at some point in their lives. But, people who snore often can face considerable difficulties. On a personal level, regular snoring can keep you from getting a full night’s sleep, leaving you tired and cranky on a regular basis. On a relationship level, snoring can greatly annoy your partner or anyone you share a room with, as the noise can keep them up at night too. On a medical level, snoring can be a sign of a serious condition, known as sleep apnea. People with sleep apnea aren’t just snoring, they are struggling to breathe while they sleep.
Knowing the reason you snore is the first step to figuring out what to do about it. In some cases, lifestyle changes are all you need to correct the issue. But, if you snore because of the shape of your nasal passages or for another reason connected to your nose, medical treatment can be necessary.
Why do people snore? Typically, a person will snore if air can’t flow freely through her or his airways during sleep. As a person breathes in, the tissues in the mouth and throat vibrate, which creates the rattling sound commonly associated with snoring. Men are more likely to snore than women because their airway tends to be narrower.
Too Much Alcohol Can Cause Snoring
If you regularly enjoy a nightcap or two, or drink alcohol on a regular basis, it can contribute to snoring. Alcohol, as well as drugs such as lorazepam and diazepam, cause your muscles to relax, reducing the size of the airway and limiting airflow. Limiting the amount you drink or quitting alcohol altogether might be helpful. If you think the medications you take cause you to snore, you can discuss alternatives or ways to work around it with your doctor.
A Deviated Septum Can Make You Snore
In some cases, people snore not because of their lifestyle choices, but because of the shape of their internal nasal passages. If you have a deviated septum, it not only could be causing sinus problems, it could also be the reason you snore. If the septum, the piece of cartilage that divides the nasal passages, leans too far to the left or the right, it can be more difficult to breathe in on one side of the nose. The difficultly breathing can occur during your sleep too, leading to snoring.
Depending on how severe your deviated septum is, the best solution for fixing it might be surgery. A septoplasty is typically performed to straighten or reposition the septum, so that it is no longer leaning to one side or another. Although a septoplasty doesn’t change the shape or size of the nose on its own, it is occasionally combined with a rhinoplasty for patients who would benefit from both surgeries.
Sinus and Nasal Issues Can Cause Snoring
Some people only snore when they have a cold or untreated allergies. That’s because being congested can make snoring worse, since the airway is blocked by swelling or mucus. Chronic sinus issues can also make you snore, as you are dealing with congestion on a consistent basis.
How you treat snoring related to sinus or nasal issues depends on the cause of the problem. If you snore when you have a cold, rinsing your nose out with a saline solution or taking a decongestant before bed can help clear your nasal passages and limit snoring. Taking allergy medications or talking to your doctor about other allergy treatments can be the solution to snoring caused by allergy issues. If the sinuses are to blame, you might benefit from a surgery to help clear your sinuses and improve air flow.
Excess Weight Can Also Make You Snore
Carrying excess weight, particularly around the face and neck, can make you snore. The extra fatty tissue near the throat can block the airway some way, restricting flow and creating the vibrations associated with the sound of a snore. Losing weight might be all you need to do to eliminate the extra tissue and keep yourself from snoring.
Not Getting Enough Sleep Can Cause Snoring
Your sleep might be disrupted when you snore, but the act of snoring can also be caused by not getting enough sleep. When you’re sleep deprived, your throat muscles are more likely to be less toned and more relaxed, leading to the vibrations associated with snoring.
One way to make sure you get an adequate amount of sleep is to put yourself on a sleep schedule. Aim to go to bed at a certain time and to wake up eight or so hours later. If you have difficulty falling asleep, avoid looking at a screen or using your smartphone for starting at least an hour before bedtime. It’s also helpful to keep your bedroom as a place for sleeping, only. Don’t bring your work or laptop into the room, for example.
If you snore and are tired of having it disrupt your sleep or your partner’s sleep, the next step is to speak with a sinus specialist to learn more about the various snoring treatments available and to see which one is the best one for you.
About Dr. Rubinstein
Dr. Rubinstein has been helping patients in the Hudson Valley with his skills as a facial plastic surgeon for almost sixteen years. He has extensive knowledge of laser procedures, facial plastic surgery, and nasal and sinus treatments, which allow him to improve aesthetics as well as functionality of the facial features. Dr. Rubinstein received his board certifications through the American Board of Facial Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and the American Board of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Rubinstein at the Hudson Valley Sinus Center, call 845-562-6673.