Is my snoring dangerous or just annoying?
Snoring is a common sleep-related phenomenon resulting from obstruction to the nose airway, limiting the passage of the airflow, which causes vibrations that are heard as a snore. The narrower the airways are, the louder the snore.
What is the reason for snoring?
Airways obstruct because the muscles in the roof of the mouth and throat tissues relax, and the tongue falls backward during sleep and partly or wholly blocks the upper airways.
- Snoring can be more than just an annoying noise. It may signal underlying health issues that require attention.
- It can also be a warning sign for obstructive sleep apnea.
What causes snoring?
Factors contributing to snoring include:
- Mouth breathing: Breathing through the mouth during sleep leads to increased airflow and vibration of the tissues in the throat and mouth, causing them to create more vibrate and more characteristic snoring noise. The obstruction in the nose airway during sleep disturbs the balance between the nose and the oral cavity, resulting in noisy breathing, snoring, and, eventually, sleep apnea.
- Narrow airways: Incorrect breathing habits can lead to muscular dysfunction and postural imbalances and can cause worse snoring. The low tongue posture results in the narrowing of the upper jaw, which invariably pushes the lower jaw back, compressing the airways and disturbing the orofacial system.
- Enlarged adenoids and tonsils: Enlarged adenoids and tonsils are common causes of snoring, particularly in children. Adenoids and tonsils both are located at the back of the throat. If adenoids or tonsils or both of them are enlarged (swollen) due to infection, it can disrupt normal airflow and the increased effort required for breathing, which results in a snoring sound as air flows past the obstructed tissues.
- Nasal blockage: Nasal congestion due to allergies, colds, or other respiratory issues and nasal septum (a crooked partition between nostrils) obstruct airflow from the nose. Breathing through the mouth is required, which increases the likelihood of snoring.
- Obesity: Excessive fat in the neck and tongue can lead to the narrowing of the airways, which can restrict airflow.
- Obstructive sleep apnea (OAS): OAS is a sleep disorder in which the throat closes entirely during sleep, where breathing temporarily stops and starts repeatedly during sleep. In sleep apnea, the airway is partially or completely blocked, resulting in loud snoring and periods of silence when breathing is interrupted.
- Tongue tie: A short, tight band of tissues tethers the tongue’s tip to the floor of the mouth, which ideally should be on the roof of the mouth. The breathing, posture, jaw growth, drinking, eating, and swallowing are affected and could lead to snoring and slowly progress to sleep apnea.
- Aging: The muscles of the face, throat, and tongue may lose some of their muscle tone with aging, become too relaxed, narrow the airway, and are prone to snoring.
- Lack of tongue space: Insufficient space for the tongue in the oral cavity can lead to the tongue being positioned in a way that partially obstructs the airways and causes snoring.
- Backwardly positioned lower jaw: The backward-positioned lower jaw contributes to the tongue and soft tissues in the throat falling backward during sleep, collapsing into the airways, obstructing airflow, and causing vibrations that produce the sound of snoring.
- Allergies and asthma: Allergies could lead to inflammation in the lining of the membrane of your nose and throat and obstruct the airways, resulting in snoring.
Snoring is treated in several ways, such as lifestyle changes and surgical and non-surgical options.
- Losing weight can reduce excessive tissue in your throat and help reduce snoring.
- Quitting smoking reduces inflammation in the tissues and muscles present in the throat.
- Chang’s sleep position avoids sleeping on your back, which encourages the tongue to fall backward and obstruct the airway; sleep on your side.
- Avoid consuming alcohol, sedatives, and sleeping pills, which relax the throat and tongue muscles more than expected and promote snoring
Non-surgical options for treating snoring:
- CPAP or APAP, both Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine and automatic positive airway pressure (APAP) machine, deliver continuous air through your nose and mouth through a tube and a mask to wear overnight and keep your airways open.
- Oral appliance therapy or mandibular advancement therapy is a non-surgical treatment option for snoring. It involves using a dental device mandibular advancement device (MAD) or an oral appliance, which must be worn only overnight. These devices hold the jaw and tongue in a more forward position, stabilizing the language and keeping the airways open, allowing smoother airflow.
- Oral myofunctional therapy helps strengthen the tongue and orofacial muscles and correct improper tongue and facial muscle functioning.
Surgical options for treating snoring:
- Functional endoscopic sinus surgery (FESS) surgery uses a nasal endoscope with thin tubes with a light and a lens to ease your sinus and relieve snoring.
- In uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), surgery includes the removal of tonsils, adenoids, uvula(small hanging structure at the back of the throat), and soft palate parts for enlarging the airways and reducing tissue vibrations that cause snoring.
- When snoring causes persistent sleep disruption and contributes to insomnia, consider consulting an insomnia specialist who can help identify an underlying sleep disorder and provide tailored treatment options.
- When snoring is accompanied by other symptoms such as choking or gasping during sleep, frequent waking, and excessive daytime sleepiness, which are indications of sleep apnea, consult doctors for sleep apnea who specialize in sleep medicine, assess the condition, and provide appropriate treatment.
Consult Dr. Peter Baptista for snoring treatment
Dr. Peter Baptista is the best ENT Surgeon in Dubai, specializing in treating sleep apnea and serving as an otolaryngologist in Dubai’s Al Zahra Hospital. Dr Peter, the best ENT Surgeon in Dubai, uses improvised techniques for treating the various ailments of the ears, nose, and throat.
Dr. Peter Baptista is also honored “expert in Sleep Medicine” by the European Sleep Research Society and performed the first successful head and neck surgery using the Robotic Da Vinci Surgical system.
Dr Peter Baptista Jardin
European Board Certified ENT Doctor In Dubai
Dr. Peter Baptista Jardin is an ENT specialist with a special interest in treating sleep apnea. He is a revered expert in Spain for performing the first ever robotic transoral surgery in 2011, and the only series of hypoglossal nerve stimulation proved revolutionary for obstructive sleep apnea treatment worldwide. He currently serves as an ENT doctor in Dubai’s Al Zahra Hospital.