Getting and staying asleep can be difficult if the person next to you sounds like a foghorn. Forty percent of Americans snore, but there are ways to alleviate the problem. Lifestyle changes, oral devices and surgery are all avenues that could make a chronic snorer a silent sleeper.
Dr. Steven Feinsilver is a sleep specialist at North Shore University hospital in New York and recommends losing weight and exercising as the first step to stopping a snoring problem. Fat can accumulate and put pressure on the thin tube in the back of the throat. Also, when an overweight person lies down, the fat creates extra pressure and alters breathing.
Smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol can also contribute to snoring. Cigarette smoke can irritate the upper airway while alcohol consumption can increase nasal congestion.
Several devices on the market claim to help alleviate snoring. Nasal strips work by opening up nasal passages. Oral devices concentrate by moving the jaw to a different position, opening the narrow part of the throat. However, sometimes these oral devices can cause discomfort. For people with sleep apnea, a serious disorder, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure is a device that keeps the back of the throat open through air-pressure.
Finally, some snorers seek surgery to get rid of the extra skin at the back of the throat that vibrates making the snoring sound. One type, called UPPP, is done with a scalpel while the other, called LAUP, is done with a laser, and takes less time to heal. However, these procedures are not guaranteed to work.