Snoring is an incredibly common symptom. It’s so widespread, in fact, that one could almost refer to it as an epidemic. The National Sleep Foundation reports that snoring affects approximately 90 million Americans. That’s more than a quarter of the entire U.S. population, and doesn’t include what you might call “collateral damage”, the non-snorers whose sleep is disturbed because they live with someone who snores.
There are remedies for snoring. Some are as simple and non-intrusive as changes to diet and other habits, while some involve surgical procedures. Although I’m sure you’re familiar with the sound of someone “sawing wood” in their sleep, and may do it yourself, you may not be aware that not all snoring is created equal. There are different types of snoring, each with its own cause, and an appropriate set of remedies.
Let’s take a look at two of the most common types of snoring: nasal snoring and mouth snoring.
- Nasal Snoring
The term “nasal snoring” is actually something of a misnomer, as the snoring doesn’t really take place in your nose. Like all snoring, nasal snoring happens in the back of the throat. It’s more that interruption of the air flow through the nose can make people breathe through their noses, and that’s where the trouble starts.
There are a few possible causes of nasal snoring:
1. Small or collapsing nostrils - If you either have nostrils which are on the small side, or, if your nostrils collapse as you breathe in, air won’t flow freely through your nose, so breathing tends to be done through the mouth. There’s a simple test to determine whether you’re experiencing this type of snoring. Close your mouth, and hold one nostril closed with a finger. Try to breathe through the other nostril. If that one collapses, try to hold it open with a finger or a cotton swab. If it’s easier to breathe once you do so, it’s likely that nasal dilators can be used to facilitate breathing through your nose, and will help stop your snoring.
2. Nasal Blockage - Sometimes it’s just a stuffy nose that forces us to breathe through our mouths. It’s frequently caused by a cold, which is, of course, temporary, and will pass, or by allergies, which are more likely to be a recurring issue. If you are an allergy sufferer, eliminating allergens in your environment, thoroughly cleaning up animal hair and dander are among the steps that may curtail your nasal snoring.
3. Physical Obstructions - In some cases, it may be a physical obstruction in your nasal passages, such as a deviated septum or nasal polyps, which is the root of the problem. These obstructions generally require medical attention. Surgery may be called for.
- Mouth Snoring
This is also sometimes referred to as “palatal snoring”. It’s the result of breathing through the mouth, instead of the nose. In ordinary breathing through the nose, the air passes over the curved portion of the soft palate, flowing freely without turbulence. If the airflow is shifted by breathing through the mouth, the air hits the back of the throat directly, causing vibrations in the soft tissue, and resulting in the familiar snoring sound.
Here’s the test to see if you’re a mouth snorer. First, open your mouth, and make a snoring noise. Next, close your mouth, and try to make the same noise. If you’re not able to replicate that sound with your mouth closed, you’re probably a mouth snorer.
Since breathing through the mouth is often caused by nasal congestion, the same suggestions for remedies for nasal snoring may also be applicable for mouth snoring. In some cases, a doctor may recommend surgical procedures, such as laser treatments or pillar implants.
Topics: Snoring Treatments