Have you ever wanted to push your partner out of bed as their snoring was so loud that it seemed to rattle the windows? You are not alone, as a third of US-based people opt for a “sleep divorce” (sleeping in separate rooms at night), partly thanks to snoring.
Alongside relationship woes, snorers can experience physical complications, mental health issues, and greatly affected sleep quality. In 2017, “How to stop snoring?” was one of the most Googled health questions that year. Nor is it a new issue, as there’s evidence of snoring plaguing Ancient Egyptians, as one of their recommended “cures” was using thyme.
Nowadays, we know more about the condition and have more solutions, rather than waving a stick of herbs in someone’s face, as no one has thyme for that.
What causes snoring?
Snoring is the gravelly noise produced when air flows past relaxed tissues in the throat, causing vibrations. When a person sleeps, the tissues in the nasal passage and back of the throat relax and can cause the tongue to collapse into the back of the throat, which triggers the airway to narrow, and creates turbulent air.
A graphical representation of the mechanism’s behind snoring.
Image courtesy of ZQuiet
There are many different factors that can increase the risk of snoring, these include: tobacco use, age, weight, alcohol, gender, and sleep position.
Ways to stop snoring
In the past, people have come up with horrific ways to stop themselves (or their partners) from snoring. One way that makes experts yell, “STOP, NO, PLEASE, NO!”, includes taping your mouth shut, as it can be dangerous if you have sleep apnea and there is very little evidence of it working.
Other ways have a bit more scientific backing to them. Here are some (not all) of them:
- Different sleep positions: Sleeping on your back can cause snoring, as the tongue and soft palate can collapse. Simply switching to a side position or a specialized pillow can help.
- Nasal strips, dilators, or sprays: Nasal congestion can be a cause of snoring. Strips, dilators, and sprays help open up the nasal passage, providing smoother airflow.
- Eliminate tobacco smoke: While the interaction between tobacco smoking and snoring is not clear, there is a correlation between the two and it is thought that irritation and inflammatory changes in the upper airway may cause snoring.
- Mandibular advancement devices (MAD): These are dental devices that fit inside the mouth and help to move the lower jaw and tongue forward, which makes more space to breathe and prevent snoring.
Studies have shown that without a MAD device, the bed partners of the snorers noticed the loud rumble in 96 percent of cases, this went down to 2 percent when an anti-snoring mouthguard was used. Aside from helping people beat their snoring woes, MADs allow the airway to be more open, causing more oxygen intake and increasing the quality of sleep. There are many different types of MAD products, one of which is the ZQuiet.
ZQuiet is an over-the-counter, dentist-designed, and FDA-cleared medical device that helps alleviate snoring. Unlike other MAD products, the open tray design means that there is no need for impressions, forming, molding, or boiling, which saves people time and the hassle of professional assistance.
A graphical representation of the airway with the ZQuiet product.
Image courtesy of ZQuiet
It provides a resilient, hinged design, which allows the freedom to open and close the mouth, while ensuring that it is always in contact with the dentition. It has a thin profile and unrestrictive open front design, which contributes to an enhanced airflow for easier breathing.
Snoring can cause strife in people’s relationships and lives. There are many over-the-counter solutions that you can try at home, including the ZQuiet. However, if you are concerned about snoring, or the more serious condition of obstructive sleep apnea, you should talk to your primary physician.
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