Snoring is a common problem among all ages and genders. A common complaint among sufferers is the lack of proper sleep they don’t get because of their snoring. Another inconvenience is that snoring causes major problems for whomever you are sleeping with from getting a proper night’s rest. At least half of people who snore loudly suffer from a condition known as sleep apnea.
This post will focus on five holistic methods to reduce or eliminate snoring.
Connecting Breathing And Snoring
Breathing is the breath of life and without receiving air into our lungs we would all die within minutes. The diaphragm is located in the thoracic cavity and it’s the main muscle responsible for the breathing process. When you inhale, your diaphragm contracts and moves downward. The diaphragm is a dome shaped sheet of muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen.
The lungs are enclosed in the rib cage and when a person inhales, the intercostal muscles between your ribs expand allowing more air to enter the chest cavity. The expansion of the lungs allows air to travel down your windpipe into your lungs. The air inside the lungs passes through the bronchial tubes before reaching the alveoli little tiny air sacs. CO2 or carbon dioxide moves from the capillaries into the air sacs. Oxygen rich blood from the lungs is carried through a network of capillaries to the pulmonary vein. The pulmonary vein is responsible for carrying oxygen rich blood to the left side of the heart. The freshly oxygenated blood moves into the surrounding tissues of your body giving you life.
When a person exhales your diaphragm relaxes and moves upward into the chest cavity. The space in the chest cavity contracts, the air in the lungs that contains carbon dioxide is forced out of your lungs into the windpipe and out the nose and mouth. Breathing in and out is an autonomous action.
What Causes Snoring
When a person sleeps the muscles of the throat relax and the tongue falls backward. The narrowing of the throat passage results in a person snoring. The narrower the throat constriction the louder the audible noise of a person’s snoring. When the walls of the throat close up completely the result is a condition known as sleep apnea, a very serious condition.
The word apnea means no breath and so a person with sleep apnea repeatedly stops breathing during the night. Sleep interruptions can occur up to 50 or more times per night depending on the person. The danger of sleep apnea is the lack of oxygen being delivered to the brain. The cycle of this sleep disorder results in excessive daytime drowsiness and an increased risk of work related injuries. Sleep apnea is also associated with serious health conditions like heart failure, depression and type 2 diabetes.
The Public Health Agency of Canada developed and funded the 2009 Sleep Apnea Rapid Response Questionnaire. The survey conducted by Statistics Canada interviewed 9,523 Canadian aged 12 years and older.
An estimated 858,900 Canadian adults 18 years and older reported being told by a
health professional that they have sleep apnea.
- The prevalence of self-reported sleep apnea was 3% among adults ages 18 years and older; this rose to 5% in individuals 45 years and older
- Three out of four Canadians reporting sleep apnea (75%) were 45 years and older.
- The prevalence of self reported sleep apnea in adult men was nearly double that in adult women.
- Three out of four Canadians reporting sleep apnea
- 25% of adults reporting sleep apnea rated their general health as fair or poor compared to 11% in the general population.
5 Natural Ways To Stop Snoring
- Reduce the mucus in your body - Excess mucus obstructs the breathing airway similar to the inflammation caused by allergies or a common cold. When you have a cold you cough up phlegm from the lungs. Eating and drinking dairy products is the number one culprit when it comes to mucus in the body. According to the Canadian Digestive Health Foundation lactose intolerance affects more than 7 million Canadians. Lactose is the sugar found in milk products, lactose intolerant individuals lack the enzyme to break down this sugar for absorption in the human body. If you have excess mucus try laying off dairy products for a period of 30 days, it just may reduce your snoring. The common western practice of consuming milk for bone health is not the only way to get your calcium intake. Nowadays there are plenty of options for milk free products like, soy, almond milk, rice milk and coconut milk.
- Neti pot remedy - A neti pot is small flattened fluid filled teapot preferably made from a ceramic. For best results fill with one cup of sterile warm water, add a mixture of sea salt or baking soda. Standing over a sink with your head tilted to the side, place the spout of the neti pot to your nostril and slowly pour the sterile warm water into your nose, while breathing through your mouth during irrigation. Perform this remedy a few times a day for a month until your snoring subsides.
- Pranayama yoga exercises - Prana is the sanskrit word for life force. The life force in Yogic science comes from the breath we inhale. Ujjayi Pranayama breathing can help alleviate snoring if practiced on a regular basis. To practice Ujjayi breathing sit cross legged or in the Siddhasana position. After you exhale, inhale fully with both nostrils while your back is straight. Hold the air as long you can. Close your right nostril with your right thumb and exhale from the left nostril. Repeat another 1 to 2 times to start with and then increase up to 5 to 7 times. This is one of the most practical exercises for alleviating snoring, it improves the functioning of the lungs and clears the throat.
- Eucalyptus oil - Apply a small dab of oil under each nostril before going to sleep. Another method is adding eucalyptus oil to a steam vapor machine, the diluted eucalyptus oil will do wonders for your nose and mouth canal. For added benefit, keep your head wrapped with a warm towel.
- Ayurvedic home remedy- Take 1 glass of lukewarm water, ½ teaspoon cardamom powder, mix it well and consume daily at bedtime. Instead of laying on your back when going to sleep, go to sleep on your side and elevate your head by 4” or 5”. This position will prevent your tongue from rolling back and obstructing your airway. Cardamom is a common herb used in many indian dishes. One of its many health benefits is improving circulation to the lungs, it is also beneficial for people suffering from bronchitis or asthma.
Things To Avoid
- smoking leads to swelling of the airway
- avoid excess alcohol it causes the muscles to over relax
Custom Home Dental Appliances - To Treat Sleep Apnea
Consider Oral Appliance Therapy with the purchase of a Mandibular repositioning device (MRD). These CAD/CAM designed devices fit inside your mouth, they work by keeping the pharynx open allowing unobstructed airflow. MRDs work best with mild to moderate OSA patients.
Advantages of MRDs
- for patients who may not respond well to CPAP therapy
- small and convenient for traveling
- patients that fail behavioral CPAP measures
- the second line of treatment behind CPAP therapy
CPAP machines are a common non-surgical therapy device for patients dealing with OSA. The acronym CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure. The CPAP machine is comprised of three main parts: the mask, tube and flow generator. To qualify for CPAP therapy, your physician must sign off on a per patient basis.
Disadvantages of CPAP Machines
- finding the right type of mask
- inability to wear the mask every night
- pressure build up in the cochlea
- nasal congestion
- a runny nose
- skin irritation where the mask touches the skin
- adjusting to wearing the mask and falling asleep
- getting used to the noise of the CPAP machine
- dry mouth and nose symptoms
These basic remedies are just a few of the ways that people throughout the years have practiced to alleviate their snoring. Results differ depending on the individual. A person interested in treating themselves naturally may have to experiment with several methods before achieving the results they want.