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Do you snore? Here's help

Snoring often leads to embarrassment and may wreck your partner's sleep. Now, experts have offered some simple ways to silence the disturbing nasal sound.

health and fitness Updated: Sep 18, 2009 16:12 IST

Snoring often leads to embarrassment and wrecks your partner's sleep. Now, experts from Mayo Clinic have offered some simple ways to silence the disturbing nasal sound.

Snoring is caused by relaxed and sagging tissues. As sleep deepens, the tongue relaxes, as do the soft tissues of the throat and the roof of the mouth (soft palate). The tissues can sag into the airway, causing it to narrow. As air is inhaled or exhaled through the narrowed opening, the relaxed tissues of the soft palate vibrate. The result is snoring.

Mayo Clinic Health Letter covers these treatment approaches:

Lose weight
Experts have advised snorers to lose weight as the extra bulk narrows airways, contributing to snoring.

Avoid alcohol
Alcohol consumption can cause excessive muscle relaxation. Therefore avoiding alcohol for at least four hours before bedtime may help.

Relieve nasal obstruction
Using adhesive nasal strips (Breathe Right, others) or corticosteroid nasal sprays can help reduce nasal obstruction.

Change sleep positions
In back sleepers, the tongue can sag and narrow the airway during sleep. A doctor can suggest techniques to learn to sleep comfortably in other positions.

Stop smoking
Smoking is associated with an increased risk of snoring. People who stop have a lower rate of snoring.

Try assistive devices
The most effective treatment for snoring is a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. It delivers pressurized air through a mask, keeping the upper airway open during sleep.

Consider surgery
Surgery is considered a last resort to cure snoring due to its complications. Several surgical procedures can help reduce snoring, either by cutting away excess mouth and throat tissue or by stiffening tissues of the soft palate to prevent vibration and sagging.