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5 ways to stop snoring for good

Snoring is a common problem in the United States – as many as 30 percent of American adults snore. Not only is snoring annoying, it can also impact quality of sleep for both the offending party and those around him or her.

Snoring is caused by the vibration of soft tissues in the upper airway, the part of the airway that runs from the voice box to the back of the throat. This section of the throat is only supported by muscle, not by bones or cartilage.

“When people fall asleep, the muscle naturally falls slack and as a result, when you breathe in and out, that tissue vibrates and produces snoring,” says Aris Iatridis, M.D., a pulmonologist and sleep medicine specialist at Piedmont.

There are several ways to combat snoring, says Dr. Iatridis:

1. Lose weight.

By losing weight, you decrease excess body fat so there is less tissue to vibrate.

2. Clear your sinuses.

When your sinuses are congested, you must work harder to get air in and out through your nose. In some cases, medication or surgery is needed to clear the sinuses.

3. Sleep on your side or stomach.

Sleeping on your back may make snoring worse.

4. Wear nasal strips.

These strips open up the nasal passages, improving airflow in and out of the nose.

5. Seek treatment if you have sleep apnea.

“About 20 percent of snorers have obstructive sleep apnea,” says Dr. Iatridis. “When you treat sleep apnea, you’re going to automatically eliminate snoring.”

Sleep apnea is treated with a continuous positive airway press (CPAP) machine.  The CPAP machine includes a mask patients wear over their nose and mouth during sleep. The mask is connected by tubing to a machine about the size of a toaster.

“The device generates pressurized air, which is pushed through the tubing and the mask into the airway,” explains Dr. Iatridis. “It inflates the airway open to eliminate sleep apnea and snoring.”

To learn more about treatment for sleep disorders, visit Piedmont Sleep Services

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