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Is snoring affecting your quality of life?

Just about everyone snores occasionally, but if you regularly snore, it can disrupt the quality of your own sleep and can impact on relationships if it disturbs your partner.

Sleep plays a vital role in our good health and well-being. Getting enough good “quality” sleep helps with:

≈   Healthy brain function and emotional well-being
≈   Physical health
≈   Daytime performance and safety

How much is enough sleep?

Our sleep needs change with our age, when we are infants, children, and adolescents we require more sleep due to development and growth. When we reach adulthood, we need around 7-8 hours sleep daily.

What causes snoring?

People snore for different reasons. To stop your snoring, we first need to understand the cause behind it. Once we know the cause we can then implement solutions for you to realise a quieter, deeper sleep that will benefit your health. Some common causes of snoring include:

Age

When we reach middle age (and beyond) our throats become narrower and have a decrease in muscle tone.

Being overweight or out of shape

Having fatty tissue and poor muscle tone are contributors to snoring. Even though you may not be overweight generally, if you have excess weight around the neck and throat, this can result in your snoring.

Your physical shape

Men are more likely to snore as they tend to have thicker necks than women. Your facial structure, especially the shape of your jaw, can affect your airway and contribute to snoring,

Nasal and sinus problems

Having blocked airways such as a stuffy nose can cause difficulty with inhalation which can increase the collapsibility of lower parts of your airway.

Alcohol, smoking and medications

Alcohol consumption and smoking as well as certain medications (such as sedatives) can increase muscle relaxation and lead to snoring.

Sleep posture

Lying flat on your back when sleeping causes the throat to relax more and narrow your airway.

Understand your reason for snoring

By starting a sleep diary and using a sleep app, you can monitor your snoring patterns to help pinpoint the reason for your snoring and what makes it worse. Once you better understand what is causing your snoring, you can implement any necessary lifestyle modifications.

If you snore, you should be tested

While snoring is often more annoying for your bed partner than for you, it can also indicate that you have sleep apnea. This is a serious sleep disorder where you breathing is interrupted multiple times each night. Normal snoring does not have as much impact on your sleep as sleep apnea. If you are experiencing extreme fatigue and sleepiness during the day, you should arrange for a sleep study to determine whether you have sleep apnea.

Snoring diagnosis and treatment

Dr Julia Crawford can assist with diagnosis of your snoring and determine whether the causes are lifestyle based or due to physical conditions that may need to be corrected such as chronic nasal congestion, a deviated septum, or swollen tonsils. She will perform a physical examination, and if necessary, arrange for a sleep study and any necessary imaging tests.

Snoring treatments can include:

≈   Lifestyle changes such as weight loss, cessation of smoking, no alcohol before bed.
≈   Oral appliances. These are small plastic devices that you wear in your mouth while sleeping to keep your airways open by moving your tongue or your jaw.
≈   Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). CPAP machines treat sleep apnea and can reduce snoring by blowing air into your airways during sleep.
≈   Surgery. There are several surgical procedures to help you stop snoring.

Dr Crawford is highly trained in treating snoring and offers multiple treatment options as well as the latest and most up to date surgical management for suitable patients. Please ask your GP for a referral and call us on 02 8319 9434 to arrange for a consultation.