Snoring is annoying. It wakes up your bed partner and keeps them from getting a good night’s sleep. It may keep you from getting a good night’s sleep if they wake you to stop. This is a very common problem and many adults snore sometimes.
This can be worse with drinking alcohol or taking sleep medication. Snoring is a noise made when the throat closes and the airflow decreases. If there is cessation of breathing, this is sleep apnea, which is a medical problem, and treatment can help. Snoring is not a medical problem, but treatment can be helpful.
Vibration of the palate can cause snoring. There may be a partial blockage from the back of the tongue. Nasal congestion can cause snoring, and a cold may increase the snore. With weight gain, increased diameter of the neck can make snoring worse. Sleep position can affect snoring, sleeping on your back may make this worse, side sleeping may help.
For sleep apnea, different options are available. Weight loss can help, with diet and exercise. CPAP is a therapy with continuous positive airway pressure, the throat is held open by pressure from a mask. The pressure is adjusted to the pressure needed to keep the throat from collapsing. This can be for the nose or the full face.
Dental appliances can help, and should be made by a dentist with experience in treating sleep apnea. This holds the jaw in a position to decrease the apnea.
Sometimes a combination of treatments is needed for the apnea. This could include surgery for the nose, palate, throat and jaw, depending on the anatomic obstruction.
Apnea is sometimes seen with snoring. A bed partner can see this. A proper diagnosis is needed to see if there is only snore, a sleep study may be needed for apnea. A home sleep study can be done for this – this will show if the apnea is mild, moderate or severe. A sleep study with CPAP titration can help determine the pressure needed for the mask.
For snoring, weight loss, dental appliances and surgery can reduce the noise. Surgery can include septoplasty to treat a deviated septum, and turbinate reduction for large turbinates, which may cause nasal obstruction.
Reduction of the soft tissue of the turbinate and stiffening of the palate can be done in the office with local anesthesia, and this may allow decreased nasal congestion and snore, with return to work the next day.