Approximately 50% of all adults will snore occasionally and about 25% will be habitual snorers. That's not good news for their partners!
Snoring is a coarse sound made by vibrations of the soft palate and other tissue in the mouth, nose & throat (upper airway). It is caused by turbulence inside the airway when breating in. It happens when air doesn't move smoothly through your air passages making tissue in your mouth, nose and throat vibrate as the air passes through. The flow of air can be blocked because of excess tissue in the nose, mouth and throat, the position you sleep in or because of a health condition.
Snoring is very common and is more likely the older you are. Among 30Ã¢â‚¬â€œ35 year-olds, about 20% of men and 5% of women snore regularly. By the age of 60 years, about 60% of men and 40% of women snore regularly.
Snoring is something that cannot be stopped at will, neither is it something that can be 'cured'. It can however, be successfully controlled.
As some causes of snoring are because of lifestyle, there are changes you can make to minimise snoring:
Maintain a healthy diet and weight.
Get regular exercise to strengthen muscles all over your body.
Try to sleep on your side rather than your back.
Avoid alcohol before going to bed.
Quit or cut down on smoking.
Other Treatments for snoring
Nostril dilators encourage nasal breathing and help to prevent mouth breathing. To decide if nasal dilators might help, stand in front of a mirror and close one nostril with your hand. Breathe in through the other and see if the nostril tends to get sucked in. If it does, support it with the clean end of a match and see if breathing is easier. Check the other nostril in the same way. If this does improve your breathing, then nasal dilators might be helpful (only 10% of snorers are in this category). There are various types of nasal dilator. Some are inserted into the nostrils and some are self-adhesive strips that you apply to the outside of the nose to widen the nostrils. You can buy them from pharmacies.
Plastic mouth devices (technically called mandibular advancement splints, because the mandible is the bone of the lower jaw) are available to hold the jaw slightly forward while you sleep; when the jaw is in this forward position the airway opens wider.