FAQ

Snoring FAQs

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What is snoring?
During sleep, the lower jaw and tongue can fall back, reducing the size of the airway in the throat. The throat muscles also relax during sleep, reducing efficiency at maintaining an open airway. This narrowed airway means the lungs need to draw air at a higher velocity in order to get the required amount of oxygen into the lungs. The increased airflow causes soft tissues in the throat and behind the tongue to vibrate.

Increasing numbers of studies into snoring across the world are highlighting the prevalence of snoring in the population. These studies indicate that at least 30% of adults snore, increasing to 50% in some demographics. A minority of snorers suffer from nasal snoring. However the majority of snorers snoring occurs in the back of the throat.

Sleeping on your back may aggravate snoring. People with a small set back lower jaw, or a bite which causes the lower jaw to have a backward resting position, may be more susceptible to snoring as the tongue is more likely to obstruct airflow during sleep. Weight gain can be a factor, and alcohol and muscle relaxant medications can also aggravate the condition.

It is well-known professionally that every person who suffers from obstructive sleep apnea is a snorer. If you are a regular snorer and your snoring is loud, it is advisable to read the section on sleep apnea. If you frequently feel tired during the day it is possible you suffer from sleep apnea.

Snoring is known to be a chronic condition. In the long term, snoring can lead to serious health problems. It can be a major factor in sleep disturbance, leading to lack of energy, poor concentration, mood swings, and irritability. Snoring also puts a serious strain on relationships. Couples affected by snoring often go to bed at different times to accommodate the condition. Many couples slept in separate bedrooms. Snorers suffer more regularly from sore throats, dry mouths, and headaches.
How to stop snoring
Snoring affects both women and men, old and young, little and large. It affects a significant percentage of the population in every country around the world. Research has shown that it only becomes worse as we get older. 30% of men and 20% of women under the age of 60 snore. Increasing to 60% and 40% over the age of 60.

Snoring is essentially a mechanical problem. The airway at the rear of the throat behind the tongue becomes smaller in some people when they sleep. This is due to an increase in fatty tissue, the effect of gravity when lying on your back, the loss of muscle tone, the relaxation of the muscles, the lower jaw and tongue dropping back, or any mixture of all these reasons. The reduced airway means the air travels faster through the airway when we breath, this causes the relaxed soft tissues in the throat to vibrate which results in the snoring noise.

The most well researched technique around the world for stopping snoring is the use of a mandibular advancement appliance (MAA). An MAA looks like a sports mouth guard and is frequently referred to as a snoring guard. An MAA fits over the upper teeth and lower teeth. The 2 parts are connected to hold the lower jaw in a slightly forward position. By holding the lower jaw forward the tongue and hyoid bone are brought forward too. This keeps the airway open and is unquivocally proven to control snoring. Mandibular advancement devices can be purchased online but it is highly recommended to get one from a dentist that will be made to fit your individual mouth and teeth.

Mandibular advancement devices are normally made from various kinds of plastics. This makes them inherently bulky and they all need to be replaced regularly. The plastic material deforms and degrades from regular wear in the mouth. The latest 4th generation mandibular advancement device from Somnowell is made from chrome cobalt alloy. Like gold, chrome cobalt is ideal for long-term use in the mouth as it does not suffer from wear or tear. The Somnowell Chrome is tailor-made for the individual and is very effective at stopping snoring. It has the added advantage of being far smaller and more comfortable.

The gold standard for managing obstructive sleep apnoea and severe snoring in the UK is the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) mask and air pump prescribed by sleep physicians. Whilst effective, patient compliance on the whole is poor over the long-term.
The best stop snoring solution
Snoring is a physical problem caused by relaxed muscles making the airway smaller. When we breath the air then travels faster through the airway and this makes the soft tissues vibrate, and this is the source of the snoring noise.

Snoring affects both women and men, old and young, little and large. Sleeping with a snorer can be exhausting and very frustrating. The snoring noise can feel like torture as you are kept from getting to sleep. Frequently the over the counter cures aren't effective. Occasionally the snorer is in a state of denial and will not deal with the problem. In the end you may end up having to sleep in the spare room or on the sofa. It is not surprising that snoring so frequently leads to friction in a relationship and even divorce in some cases.

The first option is surgery. This is a popular choice as it offers the promise of a lifetime cure for snoring with a short 15 minute operation at the back of the throat with a laser. Unfortunately the results of research studies into common types of snoring surgery are not very encouraging. For many people surgery doe not work, and for others the effects wear off over time. The operation is relatively painless but tends to be very unpleasant afterwards, similar to the worst sore throat you ever had. This can mean that many people do not return for the required follow up treatment. Research has additionally showed there to be frequent complications and a return of snoring after some months.

The second option is a mandibular advancement device. Inside this category there's a huge amount of choice. These oral devices hold the lower jaw forward and thereby bring the tongue forward too. This is also referred to as the 'recovery position' and is extremely effective at keeping the airway open and eliminating the snoring. This treatment is the most thoroughly investigated and proven treatment for snoring. The oral device is similar to a sports mouth guard and is worn at nighttime only. New 4th generation devices, such as the Somnowell Chrome, are tailor-made for the individual and made from advanced materials that offer more comfort and improved hygiene.

Orthognathic surgery (surgery to the jaw bones) has been proven to be an effective method of treating snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea. Unfortunately this type of surgery is complex and carries a morbidity / mortality risk.
How to stop your partner snoring
A snoring partner, of any sex, can be a real problem. Such a problem in fact that it can end up in divorce. More commonly it leads to irritation and arguments. If you cannot sleep due to your partners snoring you will understandably feel displeased with your partner. Lack of sleep will directly affect your mood. Furthermore snoring tends to be extremely annoying, as you lie in bed struggling to sleep and block out the snoring sound, all the while waiting for the next snore to come. It can be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to get to sleep with a snorer. Very often one person will finish up sleeping in another room. If this is not possible the sleeping partner might resort to ear plugs and even sleeping pills.

The problem can be further inflamed if your other half doesn't recognize the problem. Nowadays you can simply record the snoring noise with a digital recorder, and even assess its loudness with a snoring app for your smart phone. Either way, if your partners snoring is causing you a problem you've a responsibility to yourself to talk to them them about it, and they have a duty to try and resolve it.

Awareness is increasing that being overweight or obese significantly increases the possibility that you'll also snore when you sleep. A gain in weight can cause someone who hasn't snored before to all of a sudden start snoring. This is due to the increase in weight around the neck. This extra weight causes the airway to narrow when you sleep. When you sleep the muscles also relax and the lower jaw can drop backwards. All this contributes to a narrowing of the airway. The air then has to travel faster through the narrowed airway in order to supply the lungs with the same quantity of air. The increased air speed causes the soft tissues to vibrate leading to the snoring noise.
Why do people snore?
Snoring affects both women and men, old and young, little and large. Sleeping with a snorer can be exhausting and very frustrating. The snoring noise can feel like torture as you are kept from getting to sleep. Frequently the over the counter cures aren't effective. Occasionally the snorer is in a state of denial and will not deal with the problem. In the end you may end up having to sleep in the spare room or on the sofa. It is not surprising that snoring so frequently leads to friction in a relationship and even divorce in some cases.

Snoring is essentially a mechanical problem. The airway at the rear of the throat behind the tongue becomes smaller in some people when they sleep. This is due to an increase in fatty tissue, the effect of gravity when lying on your back, the loss of muscle tone, the relaxation of the muscles, the lower jaw and tongue dropping back, the shape and size of the lower jaw and tongue, or any mixture of all these reasons. The reduced airway means the air travels faster through the airway when we breath, this causes the relaxed soft tissues in the throat to vibrate which results in the snoring noise.

A gain in weight can cause someone who hasn't snored before to all of a sudden start snoring. This is due to the increase in weight around the neck. This extra weight causes the airway to narrow when you sleep. When you sleep the muscles also relax and the lower jaw can drop backwards. All this contributes to a narrowing of the airway.

Snoring on the whole is a life long problem, typically to the long suffering partner. Snoring can add strain to a relationship, upset sleep, result in expulsion of the guilty snorer to a separate bedroom or the sofa, and affect health.

Many remedies have been proposed for coping with this health issue starting from surgical procedures, jaw forward posturing devices, pillows, sprays, and even electric shocks. The most well researched and proven method is a mandibular advancement device made for the individual and supplied by a trained dentist.

The gold standard for managing obstructive sleep apnoea and sever snoring in the UK is the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) mask and air pump prescribed by sleep physicians. Whilst effective, patient compliance on the whole is poor over the long term.
How to stop snoring naturally
Snoring affects a significant percentage of the population in every country around the world. Research has shown that it becomes worse as we get older. 30% of men and 20% of women under the age of 60 snore. Increasing to 60% and 40% over the age of 60.

For most people the most effective means of reducing snoring are, weight loss, control of alcohol, sleeping posture (sleep on the side not the back) and the taking of regular exercise.

Snoring is essentially a 'mechanical' problem. The airway at the rear of the throat behind the tongue becomes smaller in some people when they sleep. This can be caused by a number of reasons, such as the individuals anatomy, weight around the neck, and reduced muscle tone. The reduced airway means the air travels faster through the airway when we breath, this causes the relaxed soft tissues in the throat to vibrate which results in the snoring noise.

One of the most well researched and proven techniques for stopping snoring is a 'mechanical' solution to this 'mechanical' problem. A mandibular advancement device is a mouth piece worn during sleep that gently holds the lower jaw forward in the 'recovery position'. it looks like a sports mouth guard but the latest generation of devices are very small and discreet.

By holding the lower jaw forward the airway is kept open and this is unequivocally proven to control snoring. Mandibular advancement devices should be made for the individual and supplied by a trained dentist.
How to avoid becoming a snorer
Control of alcohol and regular exercise are known to reduce the likelihood of snoring.

Putting on weight can lead to an individual all of a sudden snoring and may even lead to a related and much more serious condition called obstructive sleep apnea. If you snore already and then put on weight, this additional weight can move the snoring up the spectrum to become obstructive sleep apnea.

If you are overweight and snore loudly you are significantly more at risk of having obstructive sleep apnea. The chances are you wouldn't even know you had sleep apnea. Sufferers become accustomed to the effects of daytime sleepiness and morning headaches. It has been estimated that on average it takes 18 years before sufferers get themselves treated.

So how can age and weight suddenly cause someone to start snoring and to suddenly have obstructive sleep apnea? As we age our muscle tone decreases. This reduced muscle tone may cause the airway to narrow and even collapse when we sleep. It is for this reason it is thought playing the didgeridoo can help treat snoring by strengthening the muscles in the throat. If you put on some weight the fatty tissues round the throat can also cause it to narrow and even collapse while sleeping. This can simply be due to the extra tissue weight and the effects of gravity. Unfortunately many people experience both a reduction in muscle tone and an increase in weight as they grow older. This is why over the age of 60 twice as many women and men snore.
The most hygineic snoring solution
The latest 4th generation mandibular advancement devices are made from cast chrome cobalt alloy, notably the Somnowell Chrome. Historically chrome cobalt alloy has been the standard for partial dentures. Partial dentures are also made from acrylic, but the very best quality partial dentures will be made from chrome cobalt.

Like gold, chrome cobalt is an inert metal and resistant to colonization by bacteria and fungi. Chrome cobalt is extremely hard and robust. It also has excellent durability and longevity. In the oral environment chrome cobalt doesn't degrade or deform. Partial dentures made from chrome cobalt frequently last for decades. Chrome cobalt is a superb material for long-term use in the mouth and is well suited to the manufacture mandibular advancement devices. The device can be made to be very small and discreet, resulting in an appliance that users find very comfortable.

There are a number of problems with the alternative materials thermoplastic and heat cured acrylic plastic. In the oral environment these plastics have a tendency to degrade relatively quickly. There is a very wide variety of these kinds of plastic devices, they last anywhere from a matter of weeks to many months. In the end they all have to be replaced as they have degraded to such a point as to make them ineffective, hazardous, and unhygienic. Additionally plastic devices tend to be big, bulky and as a result uncomfortable. This is due to the material strength needed to achieve sufficient retention and forward posturing of the lower jaw.
The different stop snoring solutions
One option is surgery. This is a popular choice as it offers the promise of a lifetime cure for snoring with a short 15 minute operation at the back of the throat with a laser. Unfortunately the studies into common types of snoring surgery isn't very encouraging. The operation is relatively painless but tends to be very unpleasant afterwards, imagine the worst sore throat you ever had. This can mean that many people do not return for the required follow up treatment. Research has additionally showed there to be frequent complications and a return of snoring after some months.

Orthognathic surgery (surgery to the jaw bones) has been proven to be an effective method of treating snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea. Unfortunately this type of surgery is complex and carries a morbidity / mortality risk.

Many other remedies are available for coping with this health issue, from special pillows to electrical shocks. None however are as well researched and proven as mandibular advancement devices.

Mandibular advancement devices such as the Somnowell are unequivocally proven to control snoring. These include joined plastic gum shields, plastic trays, acrylic jaw posturing devices, orthodontic functional appliances, postural head pillows and lots more. Essentially all of these systems depend on the action of posturing the lower jaw into the "recovery position" and in so doing, advancing the mandible, tongue, and tongue base. As the tongue adopts a forward position, it's been shown that the uvula and the soft palate, that little dangly thing and the soft piece of skin at the top back of the mouth, follow the tongue forward. Both the advancement of the tongue and soft palate lead into to an opening of the airway, improving air circulation and stopping snoring.

Unlike plastic equivalents the Somnowell is made of chrome cobalt alloy that like gold is ideal for long-term use in the mouth. The Somnowell Chrome is also smaller, tougher and more hygienic than plastic oral devices.
The link between snoring and sleep apnea
Your snoring might be an indication of a far more dangerous condition called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). The causes of snoring and sleep apnea are very similar and the overwhelming majority of sleep apnea sufferers are heavy snorers.

Obstructive sleep apnea is where the airway is briefly and repeatedly fully constricted. Air can no longer enter the lungs and breathing stops. The blood oxygen levels reduce and the brain sends out an emergency signal causing a deep gasping breath. This can happen many times each hour and lead to daytime drowsiness and can severely damage health. The sleep apnea sufferer normally is ignorant of the pauses in breathing. Sleep apnea raises blood pressure, increases the heart rate, and robs the body of oxygen. The apneas lead to sleep deprivation for the sufferer.

Symptoms and risk signals of OSA include loud snoring, being overweight, daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, high blood pressure, depression and irritability. If OSA is not treated it can lead to serious health risks such as cadiovascular disease, raised blood pressure, obesity and diabetes.

Sleep apnea is classified as either mild, moderate or severe. This is set by the number of pauses in breathing per hour (AHI). The 2 main sleep apnea treatments are continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP), or otherwise a mandibular advancement appliance. Though CPAP would normally be the 1st line of treatment for severe cases. If however the patient can't tolerate CPAP they can use the mandibular advancement appliance as an alternative.
Snoring and pregnancy
If you are pregnant then chances are that you could be one of the 75% of pregnant women who have problems getting sufficient sleep. Pregnancy is tiring for all women and getting sufficient sleep is important for both you and your developing baby. During pregnancy there may be many things that make getting plenty of sleep a real challenge. These can include frequent journeys to the toilet, cramps, heartburn, anxiety and hormone changes.

If your partner is a snorer then this could make getting to sleep more of a challenge. When the baby eventually arrives you will naturally need to be in the very best of form so that you can take care of your new baby and have the energy left over to enjoy them.