With over 10 million male snorers and just under 5 million female, it isn’t surprising people want to find a permanent solution to noisy night breathing. In trying to find an answer to how to stop for good we must look at all the options, new and old, and decide which one suits us best. What is important is you can improve your own, or support your partner, with snoring. Don’t give up!
Snoring solutions can be split into direct solutions or those that target some of the causes. This article will first cover some of the (indirect) causes to consider and then look at some of the various options to directly target problems.
Targeting causes of snoring
The biggest causes of snoring are:
- Lack of exercise
- Nasal congestion
causes snoring by relaxing the muscles of the upper throat (pharynx). It also is known to worsen the condition for those with chronic snoring by making it more severe. Trying to particularly avoid alcohol in the hours before bedtime may be of help but the main consideration is to limit the total amount of alcohol.
Smokers often get frustrated that many conditions are blamed on their habit but the fact remains that cigarette smoke caries many toxins and they do have detrimental effects. Whether this is due to oedema (swelling) from these or again a toxic effect on the muscles supporting the pharynx isn’t clear but it is clear that snoring is made worse by cigarettes. Limiting or stopping smoking ca be of significant benefit.
itself is an independent factor supporting the improvement of snoring. Obviously, exercise will help with weight loss too and that too will improve snoring. Why this happens – we aren’t too sure but it does help. Always exercise safely and within your limits. Try not to exercise just before going to bed though as this tends to interfere with sleeping.
Being overweight causes additional tissue around the neck and can lead to a smaller airway. Weight losses of over ½ stone have been shown to lead to improvements.
Is sometimes something to consider. Conditions like allergies, such as hay-fever, can cause this as can chronic blocked nose conditions which sometimes require a medical opinion (possibly for nasal steroids or even nasal polyp surgery).
Direct targeting of snoring
If you are a nasal snorer and suffer from partial collapse of your nose at night you may benefit from one of many devices out there to wear at night to keep nasal passages open. These are generally fairly cheap and may help for this, relatively small, group.
A chin strap is a flexible support, often of a material like neoprene, which goes under the chin and wraps around the head and thereby keeping your mouth closed. It is often used by those who sleep on their backs and open and breathe through their mouth at night. These do require something at night and can come loose but don’t require anything in the mouth at night.
Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs) are probably the most numerous snoring devices on the market. These can vary in price, fit and quality. These aim to open the airway at night by pushing forward the lower jaw slightly into a position that doesn’t result in as much vibration or snoring. They are often professionally fitted (and if so – are more expensive).
Mouth Training Devices – These are newer to the market and less well known. Whilst less researched than MADs they have the advantage of potentially offering a longer solution to snoring and do not require anything to be worn at night. Mouth training devices support the user to undertake a quick mouth exercise during the daytime (usually taking no more than 1-2minutes) in an attempt to tighten the floppy mouth (pharynx) tissue so the user doesn’t snore. Larger trials are still to occur but anecdotal reports and small studies have been hugely encouraging and it is clear to see why people may turn this way to see if they can get relief. Others retail at over £100 but Snorgo a new option and retails at £40-50.
Other Mouth Devices
Other mouth devices are available to wear at night. These tend to alter the position of the tongue, again, in order to open the airway slightly.
Continuous Positive Airways Pressure (CPAP)
For those with the medical condition Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA), CPAP may be offered. OSA is when there are pauses in breathing, brought about by the restriction in the airway. Its commonest association is snoring and their causes overlap. Severe snoring, tiredness, pauses in breathing or choking being heard or all potential signs of OSA. If you suspect this it is important that you see a medical professional, especially due to the additional risks to life that OSA brings. OSA will formally be diagnosed with Sleep Studies, showing pauses in breathing and resulting low oxygen before treatment is started.
Surgery – Again, only usually considered for OSA but it is often considered the treatment of last resort. Ear Nose and Throat surgical teams will always assess and discuss the risks versus benefits of such surgery before it is undertaken. Nasal Polyp surgery may also be of benefit for those with chronic nasal obstruction.
So, for those with OSA, CPAP and surgery may be the answer they are looking for to help for a long-term solution to their snoring.
For those without those conditions however solutions first look to big lifestyle changes. Significant weight loss; changes with smoking or the use of alcohol may offer a long-term solution, as might exercise.
MADs may offer a long-term solution for those able to tolerate a night-time device.
The mouth exercise group potentially offer a long-term solution without wearing nighttime devices. The mechanics make sense and the early assessments are positive. The muscles in these areas are ‘involuntary’ (so they don’t work under the same brain control as our other muscles – we don’t think ‘pharynx lift’ etc). Whilst these device manufacturer’s do not yet whole-heartedly agree on their individual mechanisms of action, it makes sense to see how these types of exercises might tighten the floppy tissue and therefore provide a solution. There are reports of improvements within days and some of these are sustained post stopping after a few weeks. It is likely it will be like most exercises – that require the occasional bit of ‘top-up’ in order to sustain the benefit of the initial work. See further reports and testimonials on the Snorgo website.
Dr Pete Naylor is the inventor of Snorgo, a patented snoring cure made in the UK recommended by medical doctors.
Wirral CCG Chair 2014 – 2016
General Practitioner (GP) 2000-2017
National Institute for health and Care Excellence National GP representative (Diagnostics) 2012 – 2018
Associate Medical Director ICE Creates 2018 – 2020
Senate Council Member Merseyside 2014 – 2017
Forensic Medical Examiner Merseyside/Wirral 2005 – 2008
Youth Justice Management Board Wirral 2015 – 2017
NHS Doctor 1996 – 2017
GMC registered Doctor 1996 to present
Master of Science in Medical Leadership Birkbeck University and Royal College of Physicians. (Awarded Merit) 2013
OPP Myers Briggs Trainer, 2010. Subsequently also completed Step 2 to further support training
Diploma in Occupational Health, 2006
Diploma in Child Health, 2000
Bachelor of Medicine & Surgery, Sheffield University, 1996
Bachelor of Science, Psychiatric Neurobiology, Sheffield, 1995. Work produced papers on mRNA and Brain Plasticity.
Outstanding Innovative and Inspirational Leader 2013 Northwest Leadership Academy (Given for commissioning work with Wirral Health Commissioning Consortium.)
Vision Award 2012 (National award): Best Long Term Condition Initiative for WHCC
North West Respiratory Best Practice Award 2012: Self Care Award for WHCC
Diploma in Occupational Health – annual award