Snoring is definitely no laughing matter. You may think it funny, even make jokes about it, but please, think again.
Snoring is not only an annoying inconvenience for those sleeping within earshot, it can also be an indication of more deep-seated health issues. Snoring has been linked to marriage break-ups, engagements being called off, being socially black-listed when weekends away with friends are organized … even death.
Now this last complication is a big call I know. And I am not talking here about a frustrated sleeping partner finally flipping out and pulling the trigger. Instead I am referring to actually dying either in your sleep, or departing from this world as a direct result of your snoring.
Scary thought isn’t it, but it does actually happen. And unfortunately, the probability of this occurring actually affects more people than most of us would care to imagine. If someone does die as a result of their snoring, it is usually due to complications that have arisen as a result of the respiratory disorder Obstructive Sleep Apnea (O.S.A.).
However luckily most snorers suffer from what is often referred to as 'simple snoring'. They do not have the breathing disorder Sleep Apnea and this article primarily refers to this more common form of snoring. If you do feel that you may have O.S.A., always have it checked out by a healthcare professional because as mentioned, it can lead to serious health issues developing.
Now, a few snoring facts ...
• 1 in every 3 Americans snore – maybe you sleep with one of them or in fact snore yourself?
• Once a snorer, always a snorer – unfortunately it’s a lifetime health issue
• Snoring usually becomes more entrenched and gets louder and louder as you age.
But there’s light at the end of the tunnel – with the correct dietary and lifestyle adaptations, snoring can usually be controlled and in many cases even stopped altogether. Sounds too good to be true ? Well read on, but first let's look at the mechanics of why you snore.
Physiologically, your snoring is most likely to be the result of a partial obstruction of your airways at the back of your throat. This obstruction occurs because when you sleep your neck and throat muscles relax, which can lead to a narrowing of these airways so that your breathing becomes laboured and noisy as your air intake is forced through a smaller opening.
And the end result? Your uvula and soft palate at the back of your throat then vibrate against your relaxed tongue, causing that all too familiar snoring sound . Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.
Then the deeper you sleep, the more your respiratory muscles relax and your airways narrow even further so that to sustain normal breathing, the airflow becomes even more forceful and the louder you snore. Until of course your frustrated sleeping partner elbows you in the ribs to force you to turn over.
Now, the main causes of snoring can be summarized as follows:
• Poor muscle tone in the back of the tongue, the soft palate and throat
• Excessive bulkiness or thickness of the throat, neck tissue or tongue
• Enlarged adenoids or tonsils, especially in children
• A swollen or enlarged thyroid gland in the neck (known as a goiter)
• An under active thyroid (known as hypothyroidism)
• Obstructed upper respiratory tract, stuffy nose or clogged sinuses
• A structural abnormality, such as a deviated septum or cranial distortion
• Ineffective neural control of the mucus membranes in the head and neck
• Overweight and obesity, especially around the neck and upper abdomen
• Aging (which causes a general loss of muscle tone)
• Allergies to inhalants (eg dust), causing upper respiratory tract congestion
• Allergies or intolerance of certain foods (eg lactose in milk products)
• High carbohydrate diet, especially refined carbohydrates
• Colds, flu and other respiratory tract diseases (both viral and bacterial)
• Excessive use of decongestants (they dry up the nasal passages)
• Sleeping tablets and other relaxants (they relax the throat muscles too!)
• Alcohol (which both relaxes and dilates - ie swells - the throat muscles)
• Smoking (which inflames and swells the upper airways)
• Previous throat or oral surgery
• Missing a significant amount of teeth (changes the shape of the mouth)
Even if you can identify with some or many of these causes of your snoring, there is light at the end of the tunnel, so please don’t lose heart! For the majority of snorers, your problem CAN be brought under control and the cure to your snoring may well be as simple as making some environmental changes.
In essence, barring structural abnormalities, stopping your snoring in both the short and especially the long term often simply comes down to making appropriate dietary and lifestyle changes. And there is no permanent quick fix or wonder pill to prevent common snoring, so you can immediately stop searching for that one!
Instead for the common snorer, stopping or at least significantly reducing snoring is all about monitoring both:
1. the fuel that you put into your body (ie your food and drink)
2. the lifestyle that you lead.
Yes, from time to time you may come across some effective short term solution to stopping your snoring, but if you really want the long term solution – in other words, giving yourself half a chance of killing your snoring problem for good – then you will need to make appropriate dietary and lifestyle changes as well, or your dream of silent nights just won’t turn into reality.
Now I'm sorry to be blunt here, but fact is fact. There is just too much stop snoring hype, too many short term 'solutions' that allow your snoring to return with a vengence as soon as you stop using them, too many silver bullets that don't really offer much relief at all and not enough quality information about how to put a permanent end to your snoring.
Instead, if you are really serious about permanently stopping your snoring, take a good look at your diet and lifestyle choices first BEFORE you consider other treatment protocols. You will most likely save yourself a lot of time and money, apart from avoiding the frustration of trying product after product, only to find that the underlying problems that are causing your snoring in the first place are still there!
Dr Rick Donald is a well respected Australian Clinical Nutritionist whose latest book, 'Essential Stop Snoring Secrets', has recently been released on the web. To find out more information about this book, any other of Dr Rick's books and publications or his stop snoring program, visit http://www.stopmysnoringnow.com/stopsnoring.html
Dr Rick Donald © Melbourne 2008 ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
This document may be copied but only if it is used in its entirety without modification and only if an appropriate reference is made to the author