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Snoring is the act of breathing through the open mouth in such a way as to cause a vibration of the uvula and soft palate, thus giving rise to a sound which may vary from a soft noise to a loud unpleasant sound. This most commonly occurs during sleep.
The cause of snoring is a blockage in the breathing passage. Those blockages can be of many kinds—here are just a few:
- Throat weakness causing the throat to close during sleep
- Mispositioned jaw, often caused by tension in muscles
- Fat gathering in, and around, the throat
- Obstruction in the nasal passageway
When the airflow in the breathing passage becomes irregular due to a blockage the soft palate may start flapping. This flapping of the soft palate is what makes the snoring sound.
Statistics on snoring are often contradictory, but at least 30% of the adult population and perhaps as many as 50% of people in some demographics snore.For example, one population survey of 5713 Italian residents identified habitual snoring in 24% of men and 13.8% of women, rising to 60% of men and 40% of women in the 60 to 65-year-old age group suggesting an increased susceptibility to snoring as age increases.
Snoring is usually an involuntary act, but may also be produced voluntarily.
According to Dr. William C Dement, of the Stanford Sleep Center, anyone who snores and has daytime drowsiness should be evaluated for sleep disorders.
Snoring cures almost all revolve around clearing the blockage in the breathing passage. This is the reason snorers are advised to lose weight (to stop fat from pressing on the throat), to stop smoking (smoking weakens and clogs the throat), and to sleep on their side (to prevent the tongue from blocking the throat).
Surgery is one option to cure snoring (for example a uvulopalatopharyngoplasty, or uvulopalatoplasty); dental appliances such as a mandibular advancement splint are another. There are many devices such as nose clips to dilate the nostrils and jaw mechanics to keep the jaw in an optimum position. A pinky ring is purported to reduce snoring through accupressure. Different aids work for different people. According to the British Medical Journal, playing the didgeridoo can also help as it increases muscle usage in the throat.
The snoring jaw supporter is an anti snoring device has been proven as widely accepted and it is now used in sleep treatment centers and hospitals to handle snoring in mouth breathers.
Impacts of snoring
Although snoring is known as a cause of sleep deprivation and its knock-on effects (daytime drowsiness, irritability, lack of focus, lack of interest in sex) it has also been suggested that it can cause significant psychological and social damage to sufferers. Armstrong et al. at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh found that snoring places strain on interpersonal relationships, with concerns for the effects of snoring often being voiced above the medical malady. Likewise, patients lamented the social embarrassment arising from complaints when having to stay outside the home. Both business and holiday arrangements can be detrimentally affected. Whilst snoring may popularly be seen in some circles as a minor affliction; snorers can suffer severe impairment of lifestyle. The between-subjects trial conducted by Armstrong et al. discovered that there was significant statistical improvement in marital relations when snoring was corrected through surgery. This was further compounded by evidence from Gall et al. , Cartwright and Knight  and Fitzpatrick et al.
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- includeonly>"The effect of surgery upon the quality of life in snoring patients and their partners: a between-subjects case-controlled trial", M. W. J. Armstrong, C. L. Wallace & J. Marais, Clinical Otolaryngology & Allied Sciences 24 6 Page 510, 1999-01-12]].
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- American Academy of Sleep Medicine information on snoring
- Snoring from EntNet.org
- Snoring Self-assessment test. Medical advice and discussion forum from Snoring.com.au
- Snoring: Symptoms, Causes, Cures, and Treatment
- British Snoring & Sleep Apnoea Association
- The Sleep Apnoea Trust Association
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