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Snoring

Allergy, Weight loss, Age related illnesses | October 1, 2016 | Author: Naturopath

Snoring

Loud rumbles, raspy squeaks, or sudden honks – whatever style of snore you have, it means a bad night’s sleep. A disgruntled bed-mate isn't the only side effect of snoring; the narrowing of the airway that causes noisy breathing also reduces oxygen delivery throughout the night. 

The brain is particularly hungry for O2 in the evenings, and any disruption to its flow can cause bad dreams, grogginess, lethargy, fatigue, moodiness, headaches and difficulty concentrating. And, of course, other organs suffer from impaired respiration –  heart disease (the most common cause of death in Australia) has been linked to snoring.

The nostrils, sinuses and epiglottis are key areas of the respiratory system involved in audible breathing (a.k.a. snoring). Anything that disrupts these areas can cause a bellowing snore that will get you kicked out of bed. During a normal night’s sleep, the muscles of the throat relax and slacken inwards, narrowing the airway. Characteristic snoring sounds occur when breath passes through the narrowed passage, causing vibration of the walls. The narrower the airway, the stronger the vibration and the louder the snore. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the walls of the throat collapse so completely that no air can enter.

If you're a chronic snorer, you may feel frustrated, confused and overwhelmed by the number of theories, “devices” and cures out there. You might have tried everything and still find yourself honking throughout the night. The challenge to stopping snoring is that, you know, you're asleep when it happens.
But there is an answer....

Treat the cause, and relieve the symptoms!

Here's how:

Anatomical Causes

  • The number one cause of snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea is excessive weight that causes extra pressure on the throat, thicker fatty tissue in the airway, and slack neck muscles. Losing a small amount of weight can make a big difference to the frequency, duration and severity of snoring.
     
  • Ageing naturally causes relaxation of the throat muscles, and is synonymous with increased snoring. Euphrasia (eyebright) is a strong astringent herb, and it's suspected that by applying an extract can help “lift” the upper palate by keeping it taut at night, allowing more airflow and preventing snoring. However, clinical studies are lacking.
     
  • Anatomical issues such as a deviated nasal septum, misaligned jaw, nasal polyps or enlarged tonsils all contribute to snoring. Get these issues checked out by your doctor or request a referral to a specialist.

Infections

Upper respiratory infections are synonymous with sniffling and snoring. 

Enlarged tonsils or adenoids, post-nasal drip, congestion, and upper respiratory inflammation can cause excessive narrowing of the throat during sleep, creating some deep bass snores that wake up the neighbourhood.

Elderberry is a traditional herbal treatment for snoring. Sambucus nigra (its botanical name) is one of the oldest and well-documented herbal remedies for upper respiratory tract infections. With potent antibacterial action, elderberry has been shown to significantly reduce the duration and severity of the common cold, influenza and sinusitis

Essential oil inhalations are an easy way to move mucous while treating yourself to some relaxing aromatherapy. Thyme oil is a particularly potent anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal agent. Mix it with antibacterial oils such as eucalyptus, pine, and tea tree oils to move mucus and reduce infection in the nasal cavity.

Allergies

With allergies comes inflammation of the upper respiratory system, tightening up the throat and narrowing airflow throughout the night.

This is particularly the case with seasonal allergies, but food allergens can cause just as much inflammation and mucus in the respiratory system.

Try avoiding any common allergens

  • dairy
  • gluten
  • peanuts
  • eggs
  • pet hair
  • grass and pollens

or consider getting tested for food allergies.

Albizia lebbeck: Known as pine silk tree, Albizia has a strong history in Ayurvedic medicine as an anti-allergy remedy. Herbal extracts of Albizia bark have been shown to reduce nasal symptoms of allergies including sneezing and nasal rubbing  by reducing the effects of histamine, and by slowing down its release.

Quercetin: A superhero nutrient in the fight against allergies, quercetin has been shown to moderate histamine release and response, and to reduce inflammation that causes blockages in the airways.

Perilla seed is a popular herbal remedy in Japan and is used in Chinese medicine for its anti-allergy properties. However, people with tree pollen allergies have broken out in hives and even experienced anaphylaxis when taking perilla, so proceed with caution! It is also a sedative, which may actually worsen snoring if taken at night...

Sedatives

Sleeping pills, alcohol, antihistamines and some herbal remedies can contribute to a sedative effect that causes snoring by promoting excessive muscle relaxation. Hopping yourself up on stimulants is one solution – no sleep means no snoring, right? But really, just avoid taking sedatives at least four hours before bed.

Sleep Position

The tissue of the throat is more likely to relax backwards and block the airway if you are laying flat on your  back. 

Changing your sleep position can help to keep your airways open and snoring to a minimum.

Snoozing on your side is ideal, but if sleeping on your back is necessary then try elevating the head of the bed, or at least propping yourself up with pillows.

This will stop gravity from pulling your throat directly downwards into the airway.

Surviving a Snoring Partner

Your otherwise lovable bed partner might be depriving you of the rest you need to be your very best self. Before you slip into resentment and frustration, try these tips:

  • Go to bed before your partner so you get a head-start on snoozing before the snoring kicks in. Every hour counts.
     
  • One word: Earplugs.
     
  • Take care of yourself. The deeper you sleep, the less likely you will be to wake up from your partner's nighttime growling. Become a sleep hygiene expert and nurture yourself into a good night's sleep.
     
  • White noise machines or a fan can help to drown out (most) snoring sounds.
     
  • See this as an opportunity to develop saintly powers of patience, forgiveness and compassion. Bring on the good karma!

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References
Tiralongo, E., Wee, S. S. & Lea, R. A. (2012) Elderberry Supplementation Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms in Air-Travellers: A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Nutrients, 8:4, 182. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27023596

Krawitz, C., et al. (2011) Inhibitory activity of a standardized elderberry liquid extract against clinically-relevant human respiratory bacterial pathogens and influenza A and B viruses. BMC Complement Altern Med., 11,16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3056848/

Sayin, I., et al. (2013) Complementary Therapies in Allergic Rhinitis. ISRN Allergy, 13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3845706/

Sienkiewicz, M., et al. (2012) The antimicrobial activity of thyme essential oil against multidrug resistant clinical bacterial strains. Microb Drug Resist., 18:2, 137 – 148. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22103288

Nurul, I. M., et al. (2011) Albizia lebbeck suppresses histamine signaling by the inhibition of histamine H1 receptor and histidine decarboxylase gene transcriptions. Int Immunopharmacol, 11:11, 1766 – 1772. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21782040

Venkatesh, P., et al. (2010) Anti-allergic activity of standardized extract of Albizia lebbeck with reference to catechin as a phytomarker. Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol., 32:2, 272 – 276. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20109037

Thornhill, S. M. & Kelly, A. (2000) Natural treatment of perennial allergic rhinitis. Alternative Medicine Review, 5:5, 448 – 454. http://www.altmedrev.com/publications/5/5/448.pdf

Jeong, Y. Y., et al. (2006) Two cases of anaphylaxis caused by perilla seed. The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 117, 6. http://www.jacionline.org/article/S0091-6749(06)00575-6/fulltext

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