Sleep relaxes your body, including your tongue and the muscles of your throat. When you sleep, your throat vibrates as you breathe in, and somewhat as you breathe out. This vibration can make the snoring sound -- especially if your airway is narrow.
Sleep apnea is characterized by brief stoppages in breathing as you sleep. It happens when your relaxed airway narrows, then collapses so it’s completely blocked.
Each time your airway collapses, your brain causes you to awaken slightly or at least shift into a lighter stage of sleep. As a result, your nighttime rest isn’t satisfying, and it leads to daytime sleepiness that can interrupt your functioning.
Men, especially those who are overweight, are more susceptible to snoring. And everyone tends to snore more as they age.
Some people just have throats and noses that are more likely to cause snoring. Enlarged tonsils or adenoids, deviated nasal septums, and nasal polyps contribute to a narrower throat. A less chronic version of this is when you have a cold or allergies and find you snore more.
Sleeping on your back can prompt snoring as can alcohol use in the evening, as it encourages relaxation of your muscles, including your throat.
A snore guard is an appliance you wear in your mouth as you sleep. It discourages the throat from collapsing dramatically and thus lessens your tendency to snore. Research shows that people tend to prefer wearing the snore guard to a more cumbersome CPAP machine, and that snore guards can be effective in cases of mild to moderate sleep apnea.
Talk to the dentists at Lee Dental about your snoring to see if you’re a candidate for a snore guard. They’ll fit you for the device and have it manufactured. When you first get it, you’ll be expected to come back in for regular checkups, just to make sure it’s working properly. The dentists can also adjust the fit if you find it’s causing discomfort or negatively affecting the shape of your bite.
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