Silencing the Sawmill: Snoring Causes and Solutions - Ashland ENT

Silencing the Sawmill: Snoring Causes and Solutions

Silencing the Sawmill: Snoring Causes and Solutions

You’re working at a sawmill in the Pacific Northwest. The head-splitting sound of blades ripping through logs—one after another—is overpowering. 

You cup your hands over your ears and bolt for the nearest exit while your flannel-clad, sawdust-covered coworkers stare at you, mouths agape. 

As you sit up in bed, exasperated, you discover the source of your nightmare: Your spouse is sawing logs right next to you—and at a window-rattling volume. 

You concluded long ago that if snoring were an Olympic sport, your husband would be a gold medalist—a regular Michael Phelps in pajamas. 

But why does he snore? And what can you do about it, if anything? You’ve come to the right place with your questions!


Common Causes of Snoring

Snoring happens when the sleeper’s airflow is partially obstructed during sleep. Upon breathing in, relaxed tissues in the throat vibrate, creating the sounds that prompt dreams of sawmills.

But what causes this to happen? 

  • Aging: As we get older, we become more likely to snore. The muscles in our throats become less toned, which results in our airways narrowing. For women, hormonal changes during and after menopause can contribute to this decline in muscle tone.


  • Alcohol: While it may help you unwind at the end of a long day, it can cause the soft tissues in your airway to relax more than usual. The result? A trip to Snoretown, USA. Population: You and your very annoyed spouse. 


  • Anatomical Airway Issues: If you have large tonsils, a deviated septum, or a narrow airway—perhaps even all three—these anatomical issues can impair breathing and cause chronic log-sawing. 


  • Nasal Congestion: When allergies attack or cold season is in full force, nasal congestion compromises the airway, making breathing more challenging and snoring an inevitability. 


  • Obesity: Excess pounds around the neck can put pressure on the airway, causing it to narrow and/or become obstructed. 


  • Sleeping Position: If you sleep on your back, your tongue may flop back in your mouth, adding one more obstacle for air as it tries to travel to your lungs. 


Solutions for Snoring

Depending on the cause and severity of the problem, the following solutions may reduce snoring and improve sleep quality, too. 


  • Changing Sleeping Position: If you snore while sleeping on your back, try sleeping on your side instead. This can help prevent your tongue and the soft tissues in your throat from obstructing your airway.


  • Elevate the Head of Your Bed: When your bed is flat, it’s easier for your tongue to fall back and block your airway. Raising the head of your bed even a few inches may help your tongue stay put and prevent snoring.


  • Hydrate: Obviously, don’t drink a huge glass of water before bedtime—that can cause other problems! Staying hydrated in general, however, can thin out mucus and help prevent tissues in your airways from sticking together during sleep.


  • Lose Weight: If you’re obese and looking for motivation to shed some pounds, know that losing weight can reduce neck fat and its obstructive impact on your airway. 


  • Put Down That Nightcap, Folks: Avoid drinking 3-4 hours before bedtime to minimize the relaxing effects of alcohol on the soft tissues in your airway. 


  • Reduce Congestion: Got allergies? Take antihistamines to minimize allergic reactions and cut down on congestion. Use a neti pot to flush out excess mucus. Wear Breathe Right strips on your nose to open up your airway more. 


When You Need Professional Help

Keep in mind, however, that snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnea. It may be wise to have your Olympic-snoring-champion husband tested for this sleep disorder, in which breathing stops and starts again during sleep. Left untreated, sleep apnea can cause fatigue in the shortterm and serious health problems like heart attacks and strokes in the longterm. In a word, yikes!

If you or your spouse’s problem cannot be overcome with any of the remedies above, reach out to Ashland ENT. We would be happy to evaluate your issues and recommend a course of action that will put you back on a path to sound sleep. 

If your condition requires surgery, you’re in luck! We perform several procedures that can help make snoring—and sleep apnea—a thing of the past. Schedule an appointment for yourself or your log-sawing husband today. We’re here to help silence the sawmill so you can both sleep better and dream about other things! 

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Ashland ENT
2212 Mifflin Avenue Suite 130
Ashland, Ohio 44805
Phone: (419) 289-8919
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