By: Dr. Madeleine Samuelson Herman, MD, MPH, FAAOA
Do you often find yourself or your partner disrupted by the symphony of snores echoing through the night? Snoring, a common sleep issue, can be disruptive and impact the quality of sleep for both the snorer and their partner. Fortunately, there are several effective ways to address this nocturnal nuisance. Here are five strategies to help you treat snoring and achieve a more peaceful night's sleep:
1. **Lifestyle Changes:**
Often, simple lifestyle adjustments can significantly reduce snoring. Maintain a healthy weight through regular exercise and a balanced diet. Avoid alcohol and sedatives before bedtime, as they can relax the throat muscles, leading to increased snoring. Additionally, sleeping on your side instead of your back might alleviate snoring as it prevents the tongue from collapsing against the back of the throat.
2. **Fix Your Stuffy Nose:**
Nasal congestion can contribute to snoring. Nasal strips, adhesive strips placed on the outside of the nose, or nose cones, silicone straws placed in the nasal passage, work by facilitating easier breathing and reducing snoring. Nasal sprays or saline rinses can also help clear congestion, allowing for better airflow and decreased snoring. If these still don't work, or you want a permanent solution, you may need to see an ENT.
3. **Use of Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs):**
MADs are oral appliances that resemble sports mouthguards. They are designed to hold the lower jaw forward during sleep, preventing the tongue from blocking the airway and reducing snoring. These devices are often recommended for individuals with mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea or snoring issues.
4. **Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Therapy:**
CPAP machines are commonly used to treat sleep apnea but can also effectively reduce snoring. This therapy involves wearing a mask that delivers a constant flow of air, keeping the airway open during sleep. While it might take time to adjust to using a CPAP machine, it can significantly diminish snoring and improve sleep quality.
5. **Surgical Interventions:**
In cases where snoring is caused by structural issues like enlarged tonsils, a deviated septum, or other anatomical problems, surgical intervention might be necessary. Procedures such as Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), tonsillectomy, or septoplasty can help correct these issues and reduce snoring. The Inspire Implant is another surgical solution for sleep apnea.
Before initiating any treatment, consulting with your Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) specialist is recommended. They can help identify the underlying cause of snoring and recommend the most suitable treatment option based on individual circumstances.
Remember, successfully treating snoring often involves a combination of approaches. While some remedies may work well for one person, they may not be as effective for others. Patience and persistence in finding the right solution tailored to your needs can significantly improve sleep quality and diminish the disruptive sounds of snoring, leading to a more restful night for everyone involved.