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Aaargh!! Stop Snoring!!

There is not much worse that lying awake all night because your partner snores.  Perhaps even you snore and wake yourself up.  The snorer oftentimes awakens several times during the night and all this leads to a lack of proper and healing rest.

It is worth considering the many causes of snoring if you suffer from this condition.  Snoring affects millions of Americans, mostly men as they tend to have narrower nasal passages than women.  It occurs due to constriction or a blockage within the nasal passages and the throat.  This causes a decrease in the oxygen the brain receives and can potentially lead to hypertension, stroke, or heart conditions as the heart has to work harder to get needed oxygen.  In severe cases, sleep apnea may occur where the snorer actually stops breathing, gasps for air from the blocked passages, then resumes breathing only to repeat the pattern. With sleep apnea, the snorer may awaken over a hundred times each night.

Other causes may be due to being overweight, drinking alcohol before bedtime, lack of exercise, smoking, nasal congestion due to colds, infections, allergies, or physical conditions such as nasal polyps,a deviated septum, or floppy uvula (that soft lobe in the back of the throat).  It is very important to learn of any allergies and undertake a food elimination diet for a week or two, then reintroduce those foods and monitor any reaction to discover actual allergies or sensitivities to permanently remove them from the diet.  Nightshade foods such as potatoes, tomatoes, peppers (all kinds including chili peppers), tobacco, and many spices such as cayenne, curry, and paprika, and eggplant often cause allergies.  Gluten sensitivities to certain grains such as wheat, rye, or oats and milk or lactose sensitivities may also trigger snoring.

Jeanne Segal, Ph.D, Lawrence Robinson and Robert Segal, MA, reporting for Helpguide.org (updated July 2012) provide the following information that may be helpful in discovering why one snores.

How you snore reveals why you snore

It’s crucial to note to the different ways you sleep and snore. Sleep positions reveal a lot, and figuring out how you snore can reveal why you snore. When you know why you snore, you can get closer to a cure.

  • Closed-mouth snoring may indicate a problem with your tongue.
  • Open-mouth snoring may be related to the tissues in your throat.
  • Snoring when sleeping on your back is probably mild snoring – improved sleep habits and lifestyle changes may be effective cures.
  • Snoring in all sleep positions can mean your snoring is more severe and may require a more comprehensive treatment.

They also offer the following exercises help ward off snoring.

Throat exercises to stop snoring

Practiced for 30 minutes a day, throat exercises can be an effective way to reduce or stop snoring. Repeatedly pronouncing certain vowel sounds and curling the tongue in specific ways can strengthen muscles in the upper respiratory tract and thereby reduce snoring.

Try the following exercises to stop snoring. Start slow and gradually increase the number of sets you do. In some cases, you may be able to combine the exercises with other activities, such as commuting to work, walking your dog, working out, or taking a shower.

  • Repeat each vowel (a-e-i-o-u) out loud for three minutes a few times a day.
  • Place the tip of your tongue behind your top front teeth. Slide your tongue backwards for 3 minutes a day.
  • Close your mouth and purse your lips. Hold for 30 seconds.
  • With mouth open, move jaw to the right and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on left side.
  • With mouth open, contract the muscle at the back of your throat repeatedly for 30 seconds. Tip: Look in the mirror to see the uvula (“the hanging ball”) move up and down.

Let me know if these work for you and I can report your comments in a future column.

Krystle Shapiro, LMT, MSHN is owner of Touchstone Massage Therapies and Nutrition Plus!  She can be reached at 208/290-6760.

Photo – By Jaako

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

shaun November 26, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Snoring is a sleep apnea disorder.snoring not only affect a person who is suffering from snoring,but also irritate other family members too.The natural remedies of snoring is reduce weight,exercise,sleep on a side rather than sleep on a back etc.some anti snoring mouthpiece are also effective to stop snoring problem.

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admin December 15, 2012 at 1:29 pm

You are right, snoring and sleep apnea certainly effects a person’s partner. Sometimes I’ve seen worse because the partner is unable to sleep.

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Bill Weathers December 15, 2012 at 7:50 am

This is a great site. Good sparkling UI and very informative articles. I will be coming back in a bit, thanks for the great blog.

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admin December 15, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Thanks Bill.

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