Medical Moment: Tips to ease snoring

Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 5:38 PM EDT
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(WNDU) - 37 million Americans snore on a regular basis. But the habit doesn’t just affect the snorer.

According to divorce statistics, snoring is the third leading cause of divorce in the U.S.

“It’s estimated that anywhere between 25 percent and up to 50 percent of the U.S. population snores on a regular basis,” said Ryan Soose, an otolaryngologist in the Sleep Medicine program at UPMC.

Snoring happens when muscles in your tongue, roof of your mouth, and throat relax and constrict airflow. The result is a vibration of tissues that creates noise.

There are many possible causes including:

· Allergies

· The shape of your throat

· Weight gain

· Large tonsils or adenoids

· Sleep apnea

“Even though there’s hundreds of treatments available, the vast majority are either unproven or ineffective,” said Dr. Soose.

So, what does help? Sleeping on your side. In one study, about half of snorers with sleep apnea were able to to stop when they changed to this position. Also, avoid alcohol as it can further relax muscles. Losing weight decreases pressure on your windpipe and allows more air to pass. Nasal dilator strips and an over-the-counter treatment called Theravent may also help some people. Theravent uses your own breathing to create gentle pressure that naturally opens nasal airways. If snoring is severe, you should see a sleep specialist. A C-PAP machine, mouth-guard, or surgery might be better options for you.

And if you’re not sure if you snore, try downloading an app, like Snorelab. It will record sounds and let you listen to them the next day.

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