14:49 10 August 2005
It's a laughing matter for some, but no joke for the women who endure the insufferable snorts and grunts from the man beside them.
A new injection could offer hope for thousands of snorers and their victim partners.
The roof of the mouth is numbed with a local anaesthetic, before being injected with a hardening agent which forms scared tissue to stop it from vibrating and the person snoring. The treatment can cause discomfort in the short-term, requiring painkillers, but 80% of those who've trialled the jab have noticed a significant improvement.
While it is not a painful as surgery, the two-minute jab can only be used three times a year (though many have found the effects last for up to 12 months), it cannot cure sleep apnea (irregular breathing during slumber) and may not work for 20% of loud snorers.
Before taking injections or having surgery, try these effective simple solutions before resulting to more drastic invasive measures:
What is snoring?
Snoring is a noise produced when an individual breathes during sleep, which in turn causes vibration of the soft palate and uvula (that thing that hangs down in the back of the throat). Men are hit with more bouts of disruptive snoring than women are.
Doctors in Slovenia discovered that some people are more likely to snore simply because of the shape of their throat.
However, they still believe that other contributing lifestyle factors can make the problem much worse - and correcting these can reduce or even stop snoring.
Reduce the risk of snoring
Before anyone undergoes treatment for snoring, lifestyle factors should be addressed as these are often a major contributory factor.
Excessive weight brought about by laziness or too many rich foods is probably the leading factor in snoring. Bed partners often note that the larger their snoring spouse becomes, the louder the snoring and the more often they hear snoring pauses followed by snorts and a resumption of breathing.
Indeed, in a large percentage of patients, dropping down to an ideal weight has stopped the snoring altogether.
Smoking has numerous undesirable effects on the body - including obstructions to the airway which cigarette smoking causes: swelling of the mucous membrane in the nose, swelling of the tissue in the throat, and blockage of the small vessels in the lungs.
Add this to the list of reasons why you should quit.
The partial collapse of the airway is the immediate cause of snoring. Alcohol causes too great a relaxation of the airway during sleep.
This, and other effects of alcohol on the body, means that it can either cause or greatly contribute to the development of loud snoring.
Organisation of sleep
There are two periods of sleep which are especially vulnerable to the development of unstable breathing.
These are Stage 1 sleep, which should only occur when a person is first falling asleep but can occur many times during the night if sleep is poor; and REM sleep, which is the time when dreaming most frequently occurs.
If a person has very unbalanced sleeping habits during the week, it can result in the development of very significant respiratory instability during sleep. It's that simple: unstable sleeping patterns lead to unstable breathing.
Therefore, all you need to do is regulate your sleep by getting at least 7.5 hours of it per night. Sometimes, this is all that is required.
Is it a medical problem?
Anything that can lead to a blockage potentially plays a role in the development of snoring, for example, nasal problems or something blocking the throat - large tonsils, excessive amounts of fatty tissue, and at times, the enlargement of some of the complex tissue at the back of the throat.
Try a change of lifestyle first. If that hasn't worked for you, it might be wise to visit your doctor as a last resort and take his advice.
Disclaimer: Supanet is not responsible for, and disclaims any and all liability for the content of comments written by contributors to this website