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April 29, 2024 7 min read

If you or a loved one snore, know that you're not alone.  Snoring is a widespread issue, with more than half of adults experiencing it at some point. Of this number, over a quarter are reported to be habitual snorers.

Snoring can be a nuisance to others, affecting relationships and the sleep of other household members who are desperate to seek solutions for their loved ones. It can also be a sign that something more serious is going on. 

If you suffer from snoring, non-medication solutions like a snoring pillow can manage your symptoms safely, non-invasively, and cost-effectively. Let's dive deeper into what causes snoring and simple remedies that help.

What Causes Snoring? 

Snoring is when your throat's soft tissues vibrate. As you sleep, the muscles in your throat loosen because they're relaxed. This relaxation ultimately narrows your airway. 

As you try to move the same volume of air through a smaller space, it causes the harsh, rattling sound we know as snoring. 

Snoring diagram

Risk Factors for Snoring

Some people are at more risk for snoring. Here are some factors that contribute to a higher likelihood of snoring: 

  • Aging - Our throat muscles tend to lose tone and elasticity, as we age, causing our airways to shrink. 
  • Obesity - Extra weight, particularly around the neck, puts pressure on the airway and contributes to snoring.
  • Alcohol and Sedatives - Consuming alcohol or certain medications can relax your throat muscles. 
  • Anatomy - Some people naturally have a narrow airway or other anatomical features that make them more prone to snoring.
  • Nasal Problems- Blocked nasal passages (think allergies and colds) can cause snoring. Structural defects, like a deviated septum, can also lead to a greater risk of snoring. 
  • Acid Reflux - Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and snoring are also interconnected, as the backflow of stomach contents can reach the throat and contribute to snoring.

How are Snoring and Sleep Apnea Different?  

Snoring is often a symptom of sleep disorders, and snoring and obstructive sleep apnea are closely linked. While not everyone who snores has OSA, if your snoring is loud and followed by pauses in your breathing, it could indicate that you have sleep apnea. You’ll also want to see a healthcare provider for further OSA evaluation if you experience the following:

Sleep apnea
  • Gasping for breath at night
  • Snoring so loud that it disrupts your sleep partner
  • Breathing pauses during sleep
  • Restless sleep
  • Chest pain at night
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Morning headaches
  • Sore throat upon waking

Is Snoring Dangerous?

Snoring is often more of an annoyance than a danger. However, this depends on your snoring type, severity, and frequency. Let’s go through a few different kinds of snoring for more details. 

  • Light Snoring - Light, infrequent snoring is common, often harmless, and doesn’t require medical treatment. Its primary impact is usually on the sleeping partner or other household members who might be disturbed by the noise. 
  • Primary Snoring - Snoring is considered “primary” when it happens more than three nights a week. It’s usually not seen as a health issue unless it disrupts sleep or other symptoms of sleep apnea. 
  • OSA-Related Snoring - This type of snoring is more concerning. If OSA-related snoring is left untreated, it can significantly affect a person’s overall health. For example,  OSA can lead to cardiovascular issues, high blood pressure, diabetes, and stroke. 

When Should You See a Doctor About Snoring? 

Seeing a doctor about snoring is a good idea if you’re: 

  • Snoring more than three times per week
  • Gasping, choking, or snorting in addition to your snoring
  • Snoring very loudly 
  • Gaining weight recently
  • Experiencing daytime drowsiness
  • Having a hard time focusing during the day
  • Experiencing morning headaches and congestion
  • Experiencing high blood pressure

Remember, snoring itself might only sometimes be a serious issue. Still, it's essential to rule out underlying sleep disorders or health conditions that could contribute. A doctor can conduct a thorough evaluation, which may involve a sleep study, to determine the cause of the snoring and recommend appropriate interventions.

How Do I Know if I’m Snoring When I Sleep Alone?

Many people are unaware that they snore, which could be part of why sleep apnea is  often not diagnosed. If you sleep alone, detecting snoring can be tricky, but these methods may help: 

 

  • Use a voice recording app on your smartphone and place it near your bed before sleeping. Record multiple nights since you may not be snoring every night.
  • Use a video recording deviceto capture snoring sounds and provide visual cues about your sleep movements during the night. 
  • Wear a sleep-tracking appduring the night to monitor sounds during your sleep. 
  • Look for other signs of disrupted sleep, such as fatigue, attention problems, and mood changes.  

What Treatments Can Help Stop Snoring? 

The type of snoring treatment you choose will depend on the severity of your snoring. For example, if you experience light or primary snoring, your treatments will be simpler and less invasive than if you have sleep apnea. 

Snoring treatments include lifestyle changes, anti-snoring mouthpieces, mouth exercises,  continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) devices, and surgery. We’ll take a look at a few of these snoring remedies below. 

Tips to reduce snoring

Lifestyle Changes 

Implementing lifestyle changes to prevent snoring can look like the following: 

  • Keeping weight off - Extra weight, particularly around your neck, can increase your likelihood of snoring.Eating a  nutritious diet and regularly exercising are practical lifestyle changes. 
  • Reduce your alcohol and sedative intake -These substances can cause snoring by relaxing your throat muscles. Limit your alcohol consumption and avoid sedatives, especially close to bedtime. 
  • Open nasal passages - Clearing up nasal congestion can help stop snoring. Use saline sprays or nasal strips for snoring to help keep your airways clear. 
  • Change your sleep position- Snoring is more likely to happen while sleeping on your back, as it can cause your airways to narrow.  Research shows that sleeping on your side can decrease the severity and frequency of your snoring. 
  • Use a specialized sleep solution - Positional pillows, like MedCline’s sleep solutions, can help keep your spine aligned and your head elevated as you sleep in the doctor-recommended side position. Our patented arm pocket also removes shoulder pressure and lets you comfortably sleep on either side.

Mouth Exercises & Mouthpieces

Anti-snoring mouthpieces hold your tongue or jaw into position to prevent your airway from being blocked while you sleep. They’re a good alternative for people with sleep apnea who can’t tolerate CPAP therapy. 

Exercises that strengthen the mouth can be an effective sleep remedy for mild snoring since slackened muscles around the airway can contribute to snoring. These mouth exercises build muscle tone and are more effective if done daily for a few months. 

Surgery

Surgery for snoring is usually a last-resort treatment if other methods haven’t been effective and anatomic features cause the snoring. One recommended snoring surgery,  uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, adjusts or removes nearby tissue to widen the airway. 

Surgery can also remove nasal blockages, nasal polyps, or deviated septums.  

MedCline's Unique Approach to Snoring: Non-Medication Solutions

At MedCline, we understand that the best approach to snoring isn't always found in a pill bottle. Instead, we believe in addressing the root cause of snoring through innovative, non-medication solutions. Our uniquely designed snoring pillow and sleep systems are at the forefront of this approach, offering a safe, non-invasive, and highly effective alternative to traditional snoring remedies.

Why Choose MedCline's Sleep Solutions?

 

Medcline solution

 

Scientifically Engineered for Comfort and Effectiveness: Our sleep solutions result from extensive research and engineering. Unlike standard pillows, MedCline's snoring pillow is scientifically designed to provide optimal support for your head and neck. This alignment is crucial in keeping your airways open, thereby reducing the likelihood of snoring.

The Power of Elevation: Our pillows feature a gentle yet effective 10-degree elevation. This isn't just about comfort; it's about leveraging gravity to your advantage. By elevating the upper body, our pillows help prevent the collapse of the airway and the tongue falling back, common causes of snoring.

Patented Arm Pocket for Side Sleeping: Recognizing the benefits of side sleeping in reducing snoring, our pillows include a patented arm pocket. This feature not only encourages a side sleeping position, which naturally keeps airways more open, but also relieves pressure on the shoulder, ensuring a comfortable night's sleep.

Memory Foam for Personalized Support: Our pillows use high-quality memory foam that conforms to your shape. This personalized support further aids in maintaining the right sleeping posture and ensuring an open airway throughout the night.

Final Thoughts on Snoring

Snoring can disturb both you and your household and your overall sleep quality. Science-backed, non-medication solutions can provide safe and non-invasive relief. 

At MedCline, our simple yet effective snoring pillow offers a premium design with patented arm holes so you can sleep on your side comfortably.For more information about how our sleep solutions can help you with your snoring, head to our  MedCline FAQs or contact our  Sleep Specialists team today! 

 

Resources

"Snoring, Sleeping Disorders, and Sleep Apnea."American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery,www.enthealth.org/conditions/snoring-sleeping-disorders-and-sleep-apnea/.

 

Schwab, Richard. "Snoring."Merck Manual Consumer Version, Sept. 2022,https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/brain,-spinal-cord,-and-nerve-disorders/sleep-disorders/snoring

 

Forcelini, Cassiano M., et al. "Age-dependent Influence of Gender on Symptoms of Obstructive Sleep Apnea in Adults."Sleep Science, 2019,https://doi.org/10.5935/1984-0063.20190076.

Friedman, Michael, et al. "Impact of Treatment of Gastroesophageal Reflux on Obstructive Sleep Apnea-hypopnea Syndrome."The Annals of Otology Rhinology and Laryngology, 207,https://doi.org/10.1177/000348940711601103.

 

Strohl, Kingman, “Sleep Apnea.”Merck Manual Consumer Version, Oct. 2022,https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/lung-and-airway-disorders/sleep-apnea/sleep-apnea

 

"Sleep Apnea and Heart Health."American Heart Association, 23 Jun. 2023,www.heart.org/en/health-topics/sleep-disorders/sleep-apnea-and-heart-disease-stroke.

 

Auckley, Dennis. “Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Other Sleep Disorders in Hospitalized Adults.”UpToDate, Sept. 2023,https://www.uptodate.com/contents/obstructive-sleep-apnea-and-other-sleep-disorders-in-hospitalized-adults

 

Nakano, Hiroshi , et al. "Effects of Body Position on Snoring in Apneic and Nonapneic Snorers."Sleep, 2003,https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/26.2.169.

 

Levin, B C , and G D Becker. "Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty for Snoring: Long-term Results."The Laryngoscope, 1994,https://doi.org/10.1288/00005537-199409000-00017.