If you are frequently bothered by you and your partner’s snoring problem, and having the risk factors like high blood pressure & obesity, you may do the risk assessment quiz or a sleep screening test to evaluate your partner’s risk of sleep apnea.
45% of men &
25% of women reporting habitual snoring
40% women are forced to sleep in separate room because of partner's snoring
87% habitual snorers have OSA, with a mean max. snoring intensity 52dB
Snoring & Sleep Quality
Snoring may be the worst enemy that affects our sleep quality. About half of people snore at some point in their lives. Severe snoring volumes can be as loud as 60 decibels, which is similar to the noise made by washing machines. Although snoring is generally not considered a sleep disorder, if your partner often makes thunderous snores, you may need to pay attention to your sleep quality and his/her health condition.
In a survey that interviewed 500 women, it was found that half of the respondents are woken up at least once a night by their partner’s snoring, which has affected their sleep quality.
In addition, studies have pointed out that 87% of habitual snorers have obstructive sleep apnea. If they do not receive any proper treatment for a long time, they may increase the risk of fatal chronic diseases, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, etc. This shows that snoring is absolutely inseparable from sleep quality and sleep health.
Where Snoring Comes From?
Snoring can be created in the nose or/and the back of the throat. When we sleep, all of the muscles in our body become relaxed, including the muscles and soft tissues in our nose and throat, which will block and narrow the airway. When inhaled air passes through the narrowed airway and hits the muscles and soft tissues around the throat, it will vibrate and cause snoring. The relaxer the muscles, the more the vibration, and the louder the sound of snoring.
Is My Snoring Severe?
The severity of snoring can depend on the frequency, volume, and type of snoring.
Mild or Intermittent Snoring
Regardless of gender and age, snoring occurs in most people, and generally does not require any treatment.
Snoring occurs several nights per week, it can be a nuisance to your partner, even disrupt the sleep quality for both of you.
In addition to more frequent occurrences, the snoring volume is also louder, indicating that the airway may be blocked. If it is accompanied by the following conditions, including: breathing difficulties or thunderous snoring during sleep, daytime sleepiness, tiredness, or high blood pressure. This kind of snoring indicates that the risk of suffering from sleep disorders will increase, and it is necessary to seek treatment from a doctor or medical professional as soon as possible.
If snoring volume is to be used to classify the severity of snoring, some clinical studies are using the following classification:
The volume of snoring is closely related to the obstruction of the airway. It is generally believed that the higher the volume of snoring, the more serious the obstruction of the airway. Studies have shown that snoring above 50dB is closely related to sleep apnea.
Causes of Snoring
It is necessary to understand the causes of snoring in order to find a more effective way to improve snoring and sleep quality. To effectively prevent and improve snoring, you should review your daily habits, physiological and physical changes. The following are some common factors that increase the risk of snoring.
(A) Structural Abnormalities in Throat
When we breathe, the air enters into our lungs through the throat and the airway. Therefore, if the throat structure is abnormal and blocks the airway, the air cannot pass smoothly, and has a chance to knock against the related soft tissues, causing the soft tissues to vibrate, and finally make the noise of snoring.
Thick Soft Palate
(B) Structural Abnormalities in Nasal Passages
The cause of this type of snoring is similar to that of the throat. When we breathe through the nose, air will pass through the nasal passage and airway into the lungs. If the structure of the nasal passage is abnormal and be blocked, the air may knock against the related soft tissues which will produce vibration and cause snoring.
Inferior Turbinate Hypertrophy
Nasal Valve Collapse
(C) Cold, Flu & Allergies
When we have colds or allergies, we often have nasal congestion. Snoring caused by nasal congestion is mainly due to inflammation that swells the blood vessels or soft tissues in the nose, which narrows the nasal passages. When the air cannot pass through the narrow nasal passages smoothly and hits the swollen tissue in the nose, it will vibrate and cause snoring.
(D) Sleeping Positions
Snoring has a very close relationship with sleeping position. When sleeping on the back, the uvula and the tongue will slide to the throat due to the gravitation, which causing the airway to be blocked. When the inhaled air hits the uvula and vibrates, it will cause snoring. Talking about the sleeping position, I believe many of you have had similar experience that when your partner makes noisy snore, you may nudge him/her to change his/her sleeping position from back to side, and the snoring will be reduced immediately. This is because when sleeping on the side, the uvula, tongue and soft tissues that blocked the airway will less likely to fall towards the back and press on the airway. Therefore, side sleeping is an ideal sleeping position for improving snoring.
When there is too much fat in the neck area, the airway will become narrow. In addition, the fat will collapse due to gravitation and blocked the airway, which makes the inhaled air cannot pass through smoothly, and the chance of snoring will be greatly increased. It is recommended to lose weight to improve snoring as well as sleep quality.
Although snoring can occur at any age, the risk of snoring will increase as we age. It is because the muscle tone decreases, which includes the muscles surround the airway. When the muscles are no longer able to support and keep the airway open during sleep, it will cause snoring.
(G) Drinking & Smoking
The nicotine in cigarettes irritates nose and throat, causing the upper airway to be narrowed due to the swelling in inflamed tissues. Alcohol will relax the muscle surround the throat, which will increase the chance of airway obstruction. Therefore, to relieve and improve snoring, you should give up the habit of drinking and smoking.
Snoring is a common problem during pregnancy. In addition to being affected by hormones, the increase amount of blood is also one of the reasons, which causing the blood vessels to expand. This can lead to swollen nasal passages, and increasing the chance of snoring. In the final trimester, due to weight gain, the fat accumulated around the neck may collapse due to gravity during sleep, and blocking part of the airway, which makes breathing become difficult, and cause snoring.
Did You Know
Mattress & Pillow may be the ROOT CAUSE of Snoring?
Dust Mite in
Mattress & Pillow
leading to allergies,
nasal congestion and
for neck and head
leading throat muscles
collapse & increase
Ways to Alleviate Snoring
(A) Use Anti-Snoring Mouthpiece
Anti-snoring mouthpiece is one of the methods used by Dental Sleep Specialist to treat their patients’ snoring issues for years. This method can address the root cause of snoring. Wearing anti-snoring mouthpiece during sleep can move the lower jaw slightly forward, in order to widen the airway and effectively alleviate the snoring sound. There are customized or ready-made options on the market. If this is your first time to use anti-snoring mouthpiece, it is generally recommended that you buy the ready-made one as a trial to experience the feeling at a relatively reasonable price.
(B) Sleep On Side & Raise Up the Upper Body
Due to gravity, sleeping on your back will cause the uvula and the tongue to slide back toward the throat. When the inhaled air hits the uvula that blocks the airway and vibrates, snoring will occur. Therefore, doctors generally recommend that sleeping on the side is an effective sleeping posture for snorers, to reduce the chance of narrowing of the airway due to the collapse of the uvula, tongue, loose muscles/soft tissues, thereby improving the problem of snoring. However, it is not easy to change the sleeping posture through personal will, so you need a body pillow as an aid to gently support your back, to maintain an effectively reduce snoring sleeping posture throughout the night.
(C) Use Nasal Dilator
In addition to the throat problems, obstruction of the nasal passages is also one of the causes of snoring. Allergic rhinitis, colds or flus can cause the blood vessels or tissues in the nose swell due to the inflammation, and make the nasal passages become narrow. When the inhaled air hits the swollen blood vessels or tissues in the nose and generates vibrations, it will form snoring. The nasal dilator can effectively open the narrow nasal passages, making it easier for air to pass, thereby improving the problem of snoring caused by nasal congestion.
(D) Clear Your Sinuses
Dust and allergens in the nose may be one of the causes of long-term nasal congestion. If you want to improve snoring caused by nasal congestion, you may need to clean the nasal passages with saline solution regularly to remove dust and allergens accumulated in the nose, including pollen, pet hair, dust mites, etc., to help you get back to breathing normally and smoothly again.
(E) Avoid Alcohol & Quit Smoking
The soft tissues in nose and throat will become swollen due to the nicotine released from the cigarette, which narrows the nasal passages and the airway. At the same time, secondhand smoke also increases the chance of snoring in other family members. Alcohol will relax the muscles of the airway, lose their elasticity, then they will collapse and block the airway during sleep.
(F) Lose Weight
Obese people have higher proportion of body fat. Fat will accumulate around the neck and the airway will become narrow as a result. Therefore, to achieve improvement in snoring, you can improve your daily habits, including: paying attention to diet and exercising regularly, in order to control weight, reduce fat accumulation, and improve the problem of snoring.
In general, unless snoring is caused by structural abnormalities in the nasal passages and the throat, or other related treatment methods are not effective, surgery is rarely used as the first-line treatment for adults to treat snoring.
How Snoring Affects Your Life?
Long-term snoring not only affects the sleep quality of your family, often get complaints from your family, become a joke with your family and friends, and even be forced to sleep alone on the sofa in the living room, sleeping with your partner separately, affecting the intimate relationship.
Most people think that snoring will only cause trouble to the person sleeping next to you. In fact, the person who snores may also be interrupted by his/her own snoring. In addition, the partner may keep "pushing, kicking, slapping and/or punching” you to stop your snoring, then your sleep quality is also severely affected as a result. It is recommended that you should understand the root cause as soon as possible to help you find a suitable way to relieve or improve the problem of snoring.
Learn more about the causes & the treatment of snoring
The information above is for reference only, you should consult your doctor if you have any health concern.
References:  Maimon N, Hanly PJ. Does snoring intensity correlate with the severity of obstructive sleep apnea?. J Clin Sleep Med. 2010;6(5):475-478.  Snoring kills the love life, survey reveals. Sleep Health Foundation. https://www.sleephealthfoundation.org.au/?view=article&id=87:snoring-and-sex-life&catid=78. Published October 7, 2010. Accessed March 29, 2021.