Does CPAP Therapy Stop Snoring?
What is snoring?
If you snore, you're not alone. Snoring is a common condition that can affect anyone, although it appears to be more common in men. It happens when the airflow through your mouth and nose is blocked. Some people are more prone to snoring because of their physical size, the tissues in their neck, or lifestyle habits.
Is snoring life-threatening?
Occasional snoring isn't usually a serious problem. Its health implications can vary depending on type, severity, and frequency. Still, if you're a long-term snorer, you might disrupt your bed partner's sleep patterns and your own sleep quality, or it might be an underlying symptom of a health problem like obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Sleep apnea is a potentially severe sleep disorder that can put your health at risk. It causes breathing to stop and start during sleep repeatedly because your throat muscles intermittently relax and block your airway.
The good news is that sleep apnea is treatable. Treatments range from simple lifestyle changes to following a therapy protocol, known as CPAP therapy, and wearing a breathing device when you sleep.
The most common signs and symptoms of sleep apnea include episodes of interrupted breathing during sleep, difficulty concentrating during the day, morning headaches, excessive daytime sleepiness, irritability, gasping for air during sleep causing you to wake up startled, and loud snoring, especially snoring that's punctuated by periods of silence.
However, always consult with your healthcare provider to discard any other possible causes of snoring, such as nasal or sinus problems, issues with your tonsils or adenoids, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure, liver problems, sleep posture, or alcohol consumption, smoking, and medications like sleeping pills.
Does CPAP therapy stop snoring?
Sleep-deprived partners are usually the first to complain about your heavy snoring, and if diagnosed with sleep apnea, CPAP therapy can reduce or eliminate snoring.
Snoring results from soft tissues in the throat relaxing enough to block the airway and vibrate, creating a sound. CPAP therapy works by delivering continuous positive airway pressure to keep the throat more fully open throughout the night, preventing "apneic" events (breathing stoppages), and thus lessening noisy breathing while you sleep.
CPAP therapy involves different devices such as a specific machine, a hose, and a mask or nosepiece to deliver constant and steady air pressure. The maintenance and proper selection of equipment play a significant role in the success of the treatment.
If you are still experiencing heavy snoring while doing your CPAP therapy, there might be a quick fix in order for you to receive more effective treatment.
4 Reasons You're Still Snoring with CPAP
- CPAP pressure: If your therapy becomes uncomfortable at any moment, and you experience significant air leaks, a dry mouth or nose, consult your sleep specialist to resolve your pressure settings. Your CPAP pressure is an important area to evaluate, and it might need adjusting.
- Mask type: CPAP masks are available as nasal masks, full-face masks, and nasal pillows because one kind of mask isn't suitable for everyone. If you're a mouth breather, a full-face mask is ideal.
- Mask fit: Your mask should seal comfortably and have a snug fit to avoid air gaps in certain areas around the mouth and nose. Ensure your CPAP mask strap is adequately secured to prevent any unnecessary side effects. Some masks are specifically designed to fit smaller face frames, like the ResMed AirTouch F20 For Her.
- Sleeping position: Sleeping on your back may affect the performance of the CPAP machine. Sleeping on your side may be a simple solution.
Lifestyle habits can also aggravate snoring. Even when CPAP therapy is prescribed, changes to your way of life are often still recommended.
Lifestyle changes to help you stop snoring
- Maintain a healthy weight: Being overweight leads to poor muscle tone and more tissue around the neck. Sustainable weight-loss is one of the most effective ways to lessen snoring by decompressing your upper airway. Plus, it comes with a long list of positive effects that improve your overall health.
- Sleep on your side: Sleeping on your back causes the weight on your neck to compress your upper airway and disturb airflow, which leads to snoring. Plan ahead and set up pillows to prop yourself up or promote side sleeping to avoid lying on your back.
- Clear your air: Allergies can cause a stuffy nose and ultimately lead to snoring. Remove allergens and triggers by washing your bedding often, using a humidifier, vacuuming regularly, and making it a habit to shower before bedtime; this rids your body of allergens and promotes a good night's sleep.
- Modify your habits: Alcohol and caffeine consumption, smoking, and bad sleeping habits can make you more susceptible to snoring. Smoking aggravates the tissues in your nose and throat, causing a potential obstruction to your airways. At the same time, alcohol and caffeine consumption can disrupt your normal sleep patterns, try to limit intake for at least two hours leading up to your bedtime. Alcohol can relax the throat muscles, causing snoring.
CPAP therapy is a journey to better sleep and ultimately improved health. The success of your treatment greatly relies on finding appropriate equipment that fits your needs and your life so that you can sustain a consistent plan for better results.
Top tips for getting the most out of your CPAP therapy
- Find the right mask for you: Many elements should be considered when selecting a CPAP mask, evaluate comfort level, convenience, maintenance, and effectiveness.
- Fit your mask properly: Adjust your mask so that it's not too tight to cause skin marks and irritations, yet not too loose to allow air leaks.
- Prioritize proper maintenance of your CPAP equipment: Sanitizing your CPAP supplies helps them function effectively and enables you to stay healthy.
- Practice, patience, and perseverance: keep a positive attitude in the process of adapting to therapy as you allow adequate time to notice results. Be open to trying different types of equipment until you find the right one for you. Seek help from your sleep specialist to find the resources you need to feel comfortable during your sleep apnea treatment.
As you can see, snoring can result from a compilation of lifestyle habits, an underlying condition, or both. Either way, it's always best to check with your doctor to understand the root cause and find appropriate treatment options for proper, healthy rest.