Posted on Feb 28, 2019, 5 p.m.
Typically snoring is just thought of as a harmless annoyance. It can be loud and keep you and others awake, and doctors consider its sister, sleep apnea to be more dangerous. However a recent study presented at the Radiological Society of North America meeting has revealed the dangers of snoring.
Using information for the UK Biobank that contains health records of 500,000 volunteers the team analysed data from 4,8777 of the subjects who had cardiac MRI scans available. These subjects were split into 3 groups: 118 diagnosed with sleep apnea; 1,886 reported as being snorers; and 2,477 reported as being neither as controls.
Both snorers and those diagnosed with sleep apnea groups were found to be more likely to have enlarged left ventricles when compared with the controls. The left ventricle is the heart’s largest chamber and the main pumping chamber responsible for pumping oxygen rich blood to the body.
Snoring and sleep apnea are problems similar to those caused by high blood pressure and can cause enlargement of heart ventricles and thickening of its walls; this means the heart has to work harder and eventually will lead to heart failure.
Approximately 30% of women snore and 50% of men snore, about one third of those will have sleep apnea, often without knowledge of it. Sleep apnea and snoring limit breathing and oxygen intake which can lead to stroke, heart attack, dementia, hearing loss, and tiredness/fatigue.
Many people have partners who snore or snore themselves, which means snoring affects almost everyone is some manner. Being kept awake by snoring can be more serious than the snoring itself as lack of sleep can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, obesity, fatigue/tiredness, stress, and early death. Some 100,000 home and car accidents are caused by sleep deprivation every year.
Most make jokes, but in all seriousness this is not a laughing matter, snoring should be resolved and not brushed under the carpet to to its detrimental effects. Voice exercises may help some, ad well as nasal sprays/strips, jaw straps, mouthpieces, some even need surgery. There are also silent exercises that can be done to help treat the 5 types of snoring.
Snoring is caused by something blocking and narrowing breathing passages of the mouth, throat, and nasal passages. Soft tissues in these passages flap in the airflow making the loud noises, what blocks these passages varies from person to person.
Typically 5 things block airflow to cause the 5 types of snoring: 1) The soft palate if too weak or unusually big; 2) Narrow nasal passages; 3) Tension in the jaw; 4) Tongue falling into the throat; and 5) The throat clamping down. As example if you snore even when your mouth is closed the nasal passages are likely to blame.
Tongue: Stick out your tongue, hold your tongue in place using your teeth; now try to snore. Was it easy or hard? If it was hard to make a snoring nose then your tongue may be the culprit causing you to snore, the solution for this issue is typically a mouthpiece.
Nose: Place finger on the side of one nostril and gently push closed; close your mouth to ensure you only inhale using open nostril; inhale; does the open nostril pull in or collapse when inhaling? Hold nostril open and repeat while still keeping other nostril closed. Did holding the nostril open help? Repeat test to switch to pushing closed other nostril. If holding the nostril open helped your nose may be the culprit causing the snores. Nasal strip may help to provide some temporary relief. You may even have allergies, changes to the diet and/or environment may help.
Mouth: Some people breath out of their mouth when they sleep, the mouth hanging open can cause snoring. Open your mouth; put some effort into making snoring sounds; close the moth and try it again. If you can make the noises when the mouth is open but is difficult when closed then it is likely your mouth is hanging open when you sleep causing you to snore. A mouthpiece can help to stop open mouth snoring as well as do chin straps.
More than one cause: There are 2 places at that back of the mouth that can also be involved in snoring called the uvula and soft palate. For these, as well as if there is more than one cause of snoring often a tongue retaining mouthpiece will be the best option, as it will reposition the tongue by pulling it slightly forward to maximize space in the airway passage to help stop the kind of snoring that erupts from the back of the mouth. Sometimes surgery is required to correct uvula and soft palate conditions, only a qualified medical professional can provide proper diagnosis for this.
A study published in the journal CHEST has shown tongue and palate exercises done 3 times a day to help reduce snoring: 1)Push the tip of tongue against the roof of mouth and slide it backwards, repeat 20 times. 2) Suck tongue upwards against roof of mouth, repeat 20 times, 3) Push back of tongue down while keeping tip of tongue touching inside of front teeth, repeat 20 times. 4) Lift uvula and soft palate 20 times. 5) Use index finger to push cheek muscle way from teeth, repeat 10 times and switch to do other side. 6) While eating bite down, lift tongue to roof of mouth as swallowing without tightening cheek muscles.
Oropharyngeal Exercise chart:
Exercises based on the type of snoring involving the tongue, jaw, throat, soft palate, or nasal passages may help to reduce and/or eliminate snoring. Stopping snoring is all about opening up breathing passages so they are not blocked, so finding the best sleeping position to prevent sleeping will also be of benefit. Together a good sleeping position and some intervention with exercise may promote silent sleep. Additionally factors that can contribute to snoring include being overweight, smoking, alcohol, and acid reflux among others. Factors vary from person to person, you will need to find out what may be affecting you to better help prevent it.
Materials provided by:
Note: Content may be edited for style and length.