Health Headlines: Stop the Snore

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Published: Aug. 9, 2022 at 5:09 AM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - Snoring affects around 37 million people in the U.S. and it can impact your life and the life of your loved ones in a number of ways. According to statistics, snoring is the third leading cause of divorce behind infidelity and financial issues.

“It’s estimated that anywhere between 25 percent and up to 50 percent of the U.S. population snores on a regular basis,” says Otolaryngologist Dr. Ryan Soose.

Snoring happens when the muscles in your tongue, the roof of your mouth, and your throat relax and constrict your airflow. This results in a vibration of tissues that creates noise. And there are a number of potential causes like allergies, the shape of your throat, weight gain, large tonsils, adenoids, or sleep apnea.

“Even though there’s hundreds of treatments available, the vast majority are either unproven or ineffective,” says Dr. Soose.

So what works?

  • Sleeping on your side is one option. In one study, about half of snorers with sleep apnea were able to stop when they changed to this sleeping position.
  • Avoiding alcohol is another option as alcohol further relaxes your muscles.
  • Losing weight can decrease pressure on your windpipe and allows more air to pass.
  • Nasal dilator strips and an over-the-counter treatment called Theravent may also help some people. The treatment uses your own breathing to greater a gentle pressure that naturally opens up your nasal airways.
  • If your snoring is severe you should consider seeing a sleep specialist as a c-pap machine, mouthguard, or surgery might be better options for you.

If you’re not sure if you snore, you can try downloading an app like “Snorelab.” The app will record sounds and let you listen to them the next day.

And if you’re curious, about 40% of men habitually snore compared to 24% of women.

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