Snoring... Everyone snores occasionally, however, snoring can affect the quantity and quality of your sleep. Poor sleep can cause daytime fatigue, irritability and health problems. If you snore too loud, that may affect even your beloved. Sleeping in separate bedrooms doesn’t have to be the remedy. Actually, there are many effective treatments for snoring. Discovering the cause of your snoring and finding the right cure will greatly improve your health, your relationships, and, of course… your sleep.

What is Snoring?

Snoring is a noise produced when a person breathes during sleep. It causes, in turn, vibration of the soft tissues at the back of your nose and throat. To clarify, the noise is created by turbulent flow of air through narrowed air passages.
Some laugh and make jokes about it, but it can be a symptom of a serious disorder called obstructive sleep apnea. The word "apnea" means the absence of breathing. This condition interferes with the ability to breathe. When it occurs you need to ask for a sleep specialist.

All snorers are characterized by incomplete obstruction (a block) of the upper airway. Many habitual snorers have complete episodes of upper airway obstruction That means that there is a complete blockage for a period of time (usually 10 seconds). Generally, it is followed by snorts and gasps as the person fights to take a breath. When you snore so loudly that it disturbs others, it is almost certain that you have an obstructive sleep apnea.

There is a snoring indicator that help you distinguish an obstructive sleep apnea from primary snoring.
Primary Snoring – (without sleep apnea) is basically noisy breathing during sleep, benign snoring, rhythmical and continuous snoring characterized by loud upper airway breathing sounds. 

Snoring Causes

People who snore often have large throat and nasal tissue, or “floppy” tissue that is more prone to vibrate. The position of the tongue can also the key of smooth breathing. Finding out  how and when you snore will help you discover the cause of your snoring. You can divide causes in two ways. The one that are within your control and the one that are without.

Causes within your control include:

  • Being overweight - fat tissue and poor muscle tone lead to snoring.
  • Smoking (or exposure to second-hand smoke) – it relaxes muscles and creates nasal congestion.
  • Alcohol or medications - alcohol as well as medications increase muscle relaxation contributing to more snoring.
  • Sleeping position – sleeping flat on your back allows the flesh of your throat to relax and block the airway.

Causes out of your control:

  • Heredity – genetic changes such as narrow throat, a cleft palate, enlarged adenoids and other physical attributes can be hereditary and contribute to snoring.
  • Age - as you age (especially when you middle-aged), your throat becomes narrower, and the muscle tone in your throat decreases.
  • Being male - men have narrower air passages than women and are more likely to snore.
  • Allergies, asthma, a cold, or sinus infections - blocked airways make inhalation difficult and create a vacuum in the throat which, in turn, leads to snoring.

Snoring Symptoms

In 95 % of  people the obstructive sleep apnea is characterized by repeating sleep-snore-apnea-wake pattern, which it is very disruptive to normal sleep patterns. 
Each cycle can last from 20 seconds to 3 minutes, repeating many times throughout the night. Five episodes per hour per night are common. More than 15 episodes per hour per night are usually diagnosed as a condition referred to sleep apnea.

Nevertheless, very often people with sleep apnea may be completely unaware of this repeating pattern. Usually, it is the bed partner who is most aware of the condition. Characteristics of obstructive sleep apnea are:

  • Movement in the bed when you wake and change position to breathe more easily
  • Excessive daytime fatigue and sleepiness with napping that often does not fully relax you
  • Mood changes such as anxiety and irritability
  • Decreased sexual drive and depression

The repeated cycles of snoring and apnea snoring may lead to adverse physical changes and complications such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • Coronary artery disease, heart attacks, strokes
  • Pulmonary hypertension
  • Confusion
  • Loss of memory
  • Psychiatric disorders and impotence

How to stop snoring

Snoring may seem like a problem without a solution. If you want to stop snoring, it is important to identify the cause to choose the right cure.
It also makes sense to try some simple non-invasive treatments and see if they reduce your snoring. Try to:

  • Sleep on your side
  • Elevate the head of your bed
  • Limit alcohol and medications
  • Clear your nasal passages
  • Lose weight
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