Snoring

Snoring
Snoring is one of the most frequent symptoms of sleep apnoea. Patients (and their partners) have lots of questions about snoring. We’ve assembled some of the most commonly asked questions and answers here.
What causes snoring?

Snoring is the sound of air moving through the back of the mouth, nose and throat. These noises occur when the nasal passage narrows, causing a whistling noise. The soft palate (roof the mouth) also vibrates, causing the fluttering vibration sounds. Finally, the narrowing of the passage causes turbulence (irregular air flow), which contributes to the fluttering. Snoring is often caused by many factors in individual patients, including alcohol, reflux, obesity, ageing and hormonal factors.

Can snoring be harmful to my health?

Snoring leads to fatigue, general tiredness and excessive daytime sleepiness. This tiredness can lead to significant risks in the areas of driving and workplace safety. In addition to this, medical research has shown that patients who snore are at an increased risk for high blood pressure and stroke. Sleep apnoea only compounds and adds to these risks.

Can I get non-surgical help for snoring?

Patients who snore can be helped by dental devices known as Mandibular Advancement Splints (MAS). These devices bring the jaw forward during sleep. However, they don’t help all patients. Furthermore, nasal devices are generally not helpful, although they may slightly improve nasal airflow.

The gold standard treatment for patients with snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea is continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP.

Will fixing my snoring improve my lifestyle?

Yes! Fixing snoring can help with all of the following:
  • Reduce relationship stress: your partner is likely to be happier with you if they are not being kept awake by your snoring
  • Reduce restless sleep and tiredness upon waking
  • Reduce daytime sleepiness
  • Combat elevated blood pressure and reduce risk of heart attack and stroke
Is there a link between snoring and sleep apnoea?

Snoring is often a symptom of obstructive sleep apnoea. However, it is important to remember that not everyone who snores is suffering from this disease. Even the loudest snorers are not necessarily suffering from sleep apnoea. Patients who are overweight or obese are more likely to be at risk of OSA than those at a healthy weight. Only a trained doctor or sleep therapist can determine if the cause of the snoring is sleep apnoea or something else.
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