Snoring: information on snoring and sleep disorders
What is snoring?
How does snoring start?
Originally, snoring refers to a respiratory noise produced by a sleeper when his or her airways are obstructed.
When you breathe normally, air passes freely through your nose and mouth and then between your tongue, the soft palate and uvula.
But for someone who snores, this air cannot pass properly. While sleeping the tongue relaxes and swings backwards. The airways in the pharynx become narrower and therefore prevent the correct passage of air.
The air flow will then be accelerated to provide the same volume of air to the lungs. It is this acceleration that generates turbulence, making the different tissues vibrate and causing snoring.
A daily discomfort
In addition to the health risks (it can be an early sign of sleep apnoea), snoring is above all a nuisance for the millions of people affected by this problem. For a person suffering from snoring, noise pollution, lack of energy and altered sleep quality are often the challenges that they face each night.
Often treated as a common problem and sometimes even a subject of mockery, snoring is nevertheless a real nuisance that can sometimes reach up to 100 decibels. That is the same as the noise produced by the passage of a lorry!
As well as being an inconvenience for the snorer, snoring can also be a real nuisance both socially and for your partner.
A widespread phenomenon for all ages
Snoring is a widespread phenomenon among the population. It affects between 25% and 45% of adults. This percentage increases with age and even rises to almost 60% for people over 60.
Despite what one might think, children can also be affected by snoring problems. But these numbers are a lot lower. Indeed, it is estimated that about 10% of children are regular snorers.
The consequences of snoring
What are the dangers of snoring?
Strictly speaking, snoring has no serious health consequences. But it has many disadvantages for the social and marital life of the snorer.
Your partner is the first victim of your snoring
In fact, snoring often interferes with your partner’s sleep, preventing him/her from falling asleep, waking him/her during the night and making him/her irritable. This poor quality of sleep for the spouse also translates into a lower quality of life that can lead to more long-term health problems.
It is therefore not uncommon for snorers to be subjected to a lot of comments and remarks when they wake up. Not to mention elbowing, being woken up or complaining throughout the night. This is usually one of the biggest inconveniences of snoring for them.
Snoring is often a source of arguments and irritation in couples!
Beyond this problem, many couples are also obliged to sleep in separate rooms to get a good quality and restful night’s sleep.
In the most extreme cases, some couples even go as far as divorce.
It is estimated that 79% of couples who sleep in separate rooms are affected by snoring and that 56% of snorers confirm that there is a link between snoring and their marital problems.
The snorer doesn't notice the situation
But the snorer doesn’t realise that they snore, since by definition they are sleeping. Hence, snorers tend to not realise the noise nuisance that snoring causes.
The problem is that this can lead to arguments within the couple. Snoring becomes a regular topic for rows. Each party stands their own ground and cannot understand the other’s situation. This unfortunately often leads to resentment, bitterness, misunderstanding and anger.
Snoring: a real social handicap
Not to mention the social handicap that snoring can represent, it will quickly turn into embarrassment or shame when it comes to going to friends’ or family’s homes or even going camping. In short, any activity in which the snorer may be required to sleep and therefore most likely to snore around family, friends or even strangers.
Sometimes this may even lead the snorer to cancel plans because of the remarks they may receive the next morning.
Causes and risk factors for snoring
What are the aggravating factors of snoring?
The initial cause of snoring is airway obstruction during sleep, caused by the relaxation of the throat muscles. It is this reduction in airway crossing, preventing air from flowing normally, that produces the snoring noise.
But snoring can also be caused by certain aggravating factors such as being overweight, drinking alcohol before going to bed or sleeping on your stomach. In most cases, it is necessary to use a suitable anti-snoring treatment.
Some of these factors are detailed below:
- Overweight: Being overweight is one of the main aggravating factors of snoring. The likelihood of being prone to snoring when you have a few curves is greater than when you maintain a healthy body weight. The tissues of the pharynx are then more voluminous and prevent the free passage of air. If you carry a few extra pounds, in addition to getting back into shape, a diet will often allow you to reduce the intensity of your snoring by reducing the size of the tissues of the pharynx.
- Medication: Some medicines such as sleeping pills, for example, can cause relaxation of the tissues, resulting in poor airflow into the airways during sleep.
- Nasal congestion: a cold or allergy is often the cause of a blocked nose. We then tend to sleep with our mouths more open, which encourages snoring.
- The sleeping position: Sleeping on your back promotes snoring by bringing the tongue backwards and thus reducing the passage of air.
- Alcohol: Alcohol consumption is also a contributing factor in relaxing the muscles and throat tissues.
- Smoking: Like alcohol, tobacco can make snoring worse. It dries out the throat and can thus help to increase the intensity of snoring.
Sometimes, snoring is simply due to the morphology of the person suffering from it (retrognathia: lower jaw set further back than the upper jaw; macroglossia: large tongue) or due to their age. Indeed, with age the tone of the muscles and tissues tends to become more relaxed.
It has also been observed that pregnant women are more prone to snoring due to significant weight gain and by sleeping on their back, especially in the last months of pregnancy.
How is snoring treated?
First of all, it is important to remember that a few simple rules or tips can help reduce snoring:
- Lose weight,
- Avoid heavy meals in the evening,
- Limit or stop alcohol and tobacco consumption.
If this advice isn’t enough, you should know that there are many treatments for snoring, from a simple gadget for a few pounds but without any real effectiveness, to the heaviest and most expensive treatments.
It is therefore often difficult to find the right solution and to know which ones really work!
Here is a non-exhaustive list of solutions against snoring, starting with the most recognised ones:
- Positive pressure ventilation mask
- Custom-made anti-snoring tray or dental oral device
- Anti-snoring dental tray or oral device for the general public
- ENT Surgery
- Radio frequency
- Pillow and cushion (positional treatment)
- Straw or anti-snoring nasal oral devices
- Anti-snoring headband – chin strap
- Nasal or nostril retractor
- Anti-snoring sprays and tablets
- Anti-snoring ring
- Anti-snoring watch
What is the most effective anti-snoring treatment?
Faced with this diversity of anti-snoring solutions it may seem difficult to find the most effective anti-snoring treatment.
To quickly clarify this question we can refer to the opinion of health authorities who explain very well that there are two snoring treatments worth considering: the wearing of a mandibular advancement device or surgery of the soft palate.
This already significantly reduces the options and simplifies the choice.
Soft palate surgery is an operation that involves several constraints. It is a surgical procedure and, like any other medical procedure of this nature, it cannot be taken lightly. Surgery can be painful and have unforeseen consequences. On the other hand, a surgical procedure is definitive because it is often complicated or even impossible to reverse. However, the effectiveness of soft palate surgery is far from guaranteed and the operation costs several hundred pounds.
Mandibular advancement devices are recommended by many health authorities and learned societies around the world. Moreover, these devices are effective on snoring, but also on sleep apnoea, which is often associated with snoring.
However, until recently, only custom-made oral devices were recommended as all studies comparing them to thermoformed oral devices (to be dipped in hot water) have shown that only custom-made models were both comfortable and effective on snoring.
However, these custom-made models require impressions to be taken at a dentist’s office, manufacturing times and appointments. This process is therefore expensive (more than £1,000) and time-consuming, usually about 6 months.
Today the Oniris oral devices appear to be the best alternative because they are the only thermoformed oral devices that are not inferior to custom-made oral devices, even though they are less expensive. In fact, the Oniris oral devices have been subject to rigorous clinical studies, the results of which have been published in international and easily verifiable journals.
In addition to this Oniris oral devices are the only thermoformable oral devices that have been recognised by the French National Authority for Health as being a public health interest equivalent to custom-made oral devices in the treatment of sleep apnoea.
A complete range of oral devices to meet your needs
|Freedom of movement|
|Millimetre-adjustment of the advancement|
|Clinically approved for snoring|
|Clinically approved for sleep apnoea|
|Approved by the French National Authority for Health|
|Developed by a trained dentist|
|Waiting time||24-48 hours||30 days||3 to 9 months|
|Average lifespan||12 to 24 months||12 to 24 months||5 years|