By Cathy Hayes
An estimated 90 million American adults snore, according to sleepfoundation.org. And over half the country – 59 percent – has a partner who snores.
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Millions of people are looking for remedies, and after years of unsuccessful tries with more traditional methods, it may be time to try other techniques to stop the sawing of logs. However you go about solving the issue, it’s important to take it seriously and address it in some way.
“Snoring is more than just annoyance,” says Dr. Gene Sambataro, DDS (www.juliandentist.com), author of the book Stop The Snore. “There are serious health consequences for ignoring what could be a bigger issue. If you know someone who snores, then you can no longer wait to find out what is going on.”
Sambataro lists interesting and effective ways people can address their snoring:
- Dental or oral devices. The goal of resolving sleep-disordered breathing is to remove the obstruction in the airway. The tongue is usually the culprit. One device that can be recommended for the snorer or sleep apnea sufferer is the mandibular advancement device. “This is one of the most widely-accepted dental appliances for the treatment of sleep apnea. It’s useful in forcing the lower jaw down and forward slightly,” Sambataro says. “By creating an appliance that is worn at night, an oral physician can help a patient’s jaw carefully and methodically move forward, which automatically moves the base of the tongue out of the back of the throat.”
- Use a tennis ball. Snoring is almost always worse when you sleep on your back. This causes your tongue to fall back in your throat, which then disrupts your airflow. One solution is to attach a tennis ball to the back of a T-shirt, making it uncomfortable to sleep on your back and forcing you to sleep on your side. “Eventually, side sleeping should become a habit and you won’t need a tennis ball attached,” Sambataro says.
- Do tongue aerobics. Muscle weakness within the tongue, mouth, and upper throat may lead to snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Strengthening exercises called myofunctional therapy target the facial muscles used to chew and swallow. .Research shows that doing certain facial and tongue exercises every day can reduce your chances of snoring.
- Change your pillows. The allergens in your bedroom and in your pillow may contribute to snoring. “If you feel fine during the day but obstructed at night, these things may be contributing to your snoring,” Sambataro says. “Everyone should evaluate whether your pillows are creating some nasal congestion due to a reaction to the material.
- Nose cones. These are placed in each nostril to expand the nostrils. This technique has a similar effect as strips, without the irritation of removing them in the morning.
- Nasal sprays. When used regularly, sprays can help eliminate any bacteria or fungus what are mucous-producing and cause obstruction of the nasal airway.
“Be careful not to look for quick fixes,” Sambataro says. “Today’s American society is intent on finding solutions for instant gratification. There are remedies out there – traditional and unconventional – but you should be thorough to remedy what can be a serious problem.”
About Dr. Gene Sambataro
Dr. Gene A. Sambataro, DDS, FAGD, (juliandentist.com/