How do You Stop Snoring?

How do You Stop Snoring?

snoringSnoring is one of those things that annoys others more than yourself. It may affect your partner, or maybe even affect others at different ends of the house. It ranges from mild to what some refer to as the “chainsaw”.

People continue to joke about snoring, but there is a dark side to this issue. Although snoring is very common, it is certainly not ideal. Snoring indicates that there is a breathing problem. It reduces the quality of sleep that can result in waking unrefreshed in the morning. Sleeping well is very important because it is during sleep that we heal. Without good sleep, our health quickly deteriorates.

Snoring can progress to what is called Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) where people stop breathing and then gasp to take a breath. When people talk about OSA, a better term would be suffocation, as this is exactly what is happening. I have seen a patient that stopped breathing 84 times per hour, that’s more than once per minute. This is an obvious problem and it needs to be treated.

A major problem with snorers, and those with OSA, is that they have a greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease (heart attacks, strokes and atherosclerosis). In New Zealand, this is the leading cause of death, accounting for about 30 percent of deaths annually.

Twice as many men snore than women. One study found that 60 per cent of men and 40 per cent of women aged between 60 and 65 years snore. So it’s not just a male problem!

People who are overweight have an increased chance of snoring. The problem is that snoring disrupts sleep so people don’t sleep well and therefore, operate on adrenalin during the day. This especially affects women as this hormonal imbalance makes them put on more weight that increases their snoring, and the cycle begins again. This is a simplified explanation of this process, but it does help explain why some people continue to put on weight when they do everything they can to reduce it.

I have been treating people who snore and those with OSA for many years. Depending on the severity of the issue, there are many treatments patients can have. I have put together a method for treatment for every patient I see. Over the years, I have seen the results of many different treatments so I have a great understanding of what works and what doesn’t work.

At the initial consultation, we take a 3-D X-ray to evaluate the size of the airway, look at the nose and sinuses to see if air can pass through here. It is very hard to snore if you breathe through your nose so we place a lot of emphasis on this. Any issues in this area will require an assessment from an Otolaryngologist (what is an ear, nose and throat surgeon or ENT).

If I suspect that the patient has OSA, I will get them to do a sleep study. There are two options; one is they can go to a Sleep Laboratory to have this done, or we can give them a Take Home Sleep Study kit, called a MediByte, to monitor how well they are sleeping.

If the symptoms are only mild, I will refer them to attend a breath retraining program. The one I most commonly recommend is Buteyko Breath Correction.

For the majority of patients I treat, I recommend a Dental Sleep Device in combination with Buteyko Breath Correction. Have a look at my website under the section Snoring and Sleep Apnoea.

If a patient has severe sleep apnoea, that is when they stop breathing more than 30 times per hour, they really should have a CPap fitted to help them sleep. The only problem is that these are not very well-tolerated, so many people do not wear them.

We have treated people successfully with severe OSA, but this needs to be managed carefully. It normally requires a combination of Buteyko Breath Correction, Nutritional Counselling and a Dental Sleep Device. The changes to people’s lives is quite dramatic, better sleep equals more energy, better concentration, and healthier living.