Snoring is a deep, loud and annoying sound that wakes us up in the middle of the night or prevents us from taking a nap. Snoring affects more men than women, especially between 50 and 60 years, with approximately 55% of male cases, and 40% between 30 and 40 years. In a smaller percentage, but also present, about 10-12% of the children also snore .
In some cases, snoring is completely normal and does not imply any added problem; in others its diagnosis is necessary because it is related to other complications such as sleep apnea, which causes breathing pauses during rest.
How can we distinguish it? Why do we snore? Are there different types of snoring? And, most importantly, when should we worry? We answer all the questions and deepen this annoying sound that frequently keeps the whole family in suspense.
What is snoring and how does it occur?
Dr. Lorena Comeche Casanova associate chief in Pulmonology at Quirónsalud Madrid University Hospital explains that "snoring is the rude sound that originates when a partial obstruction of breathing occurs while sleeping ".
Normally, this obstruction originates at the back of the mouth and nose, which includes the principle of the tongue, the soft palate, the uvula and the pharynx. When this happens, the soft palate and the uvula produce a vibration that generates the sound characteristic of snoring.
Types of snoring
Specifically, depending on their characteristics, they are classified as:
- Sporadic . It is snoring that occurs on specific occasions, for example, after drinking alcohol or by a cold in the nose.
- Normal, that is, the person always snores.
- Postural . Snoring may be related to a particular posture, such as on the back, which is the most frequent, or appear in any position.
- Isolated or simple snoring . It does not cause other damages in health, but it can become a real nuisance at home, preventing family rest, in this case it is defined as social snoring .
- Related to other situations , such as apnea of sleep.
Causes of snoring
These are the reasons that are related to snoring:
- Alcoholic beverages or drugs since they may favor a low tone of the musculature of the throat or tongue.
- overweight, since it usually involves fatty accumulations in the neck or tonsils
- Vegetations, or adenoids, very large which are excessive developments of throat tissues
- Palate length. A soft palate and a very large uvula make the area of the pharynx that communicates with the oral and nasal cavity smaller.
- Problem in nasal breathing. If the nose has an obstruction in its cavities, it implies that the person needs more effort to breathe through the nose. Our pulmonologist explains that "this creates a negative or empty pressure in the pharynx that favors its closure."
- Anatomy like a neck with a short length.
- Hereditary. It is common for snoring in the same family.
10 tips not to snore
In the event that our snoring is not related to other problems, these guidelines Generals can help us prevent it :
- Keep us active physically
- Remove the excess of weight
- Do not drink alcohol from the end of the afternoon
- Avoid copious dinners
- Have dinner a couple of hours before to go to bed
- No take tranquilizers or antihistamines during the night
- Adopt a sideways position instead of face up or supine
- Improve the breathing through the nose
- No smoking because tobacco congestes the pharynx and nose, which benefits snoring
- Keep raised headboard
Snoring: diagnosis and treatment
Our pulmonologist advises us that "the first step before a snorer is to rule out that it is associated with an sleep apnea ". To do this, it is necessary to consult a specialist Pulmonology to assess the personal situation of the patient and his partner. Additionally, it is possible to recommend a sleep study in which a set of signals is recorded while resting.
It should be borne in mind that the origin of snoring may reside in the anatomy of the person, therefore, in this situation it is advisable to go to a specialist of Otolaryngology or Maxillofacial Surgery, who will indicate the measures to be taken, which may be different from the general ones.
Device to avoid snoring
It is one of the available treatments consisting of an oral splint, known as mandibular advancement device or DAM. By using this apparatus, the jaw, tongue and soft palate are advanced, so that the airways remain open and, consequently, vibration related to snoring does not occur.
In addition to this technique, There are others available, the use of which will be indicated by the specialists, who value the characteristics of each person.