Snoring Treatment Options
During sleep, the pharyngeal airway (throat) narrows, due to a reduction in muscle tone. Snoring is simply a vibratory noise generated by the back of the relaxed tongue, pharynx and soft palate. Further narrowing produces not only louder snoring, but also laboured inspiration (breathing in). Finally, further narrowing may cause complete airflow obstruction known as obstructive sleep apnoea.
There comes a point where the increased inspiratory effort is sensed by the sleeping brain and a transient arousal is provoked (brief awakening to breathe before returning to sleep). A few of these arousals do not really matter.
However, when there are many (sometimes hundreds), sleep becomes seriously fragmented, resulting in daytime symptoms of excessive sleepiness. Snoring and sleep apnoea are part of a spectrum extending from ‘benign’ or ‘simple’ snoring with no sleep disturbance, through to obstructive sleep apnoea with severe daytime sleepiness symptoms and the physiological consequences of recurrent asphyxia (insufficient oxygen).
There are many claims made for snoring ‘cures’ or treatments and our understanding of snoring and sleep apnoea has increased enormously in the last ten years. Much can be done to help both these conditions. As a result, there has been an extraordinary rise in the number of hospital referrals for these conditions.
The purpose of this part of the BSDSM website is to help the bed partner and snorer find non-commercially biased, objective information about the available treatment options.