(Natural News) Anyone who has heard a snore knows that it does not sound like the triple “Zs” found in cartoons. More often than not, it sounds more like a bad gargle that can easily disrupt sleep. Recent research even suggests that snoring can also be a potential health risk.
A study published in the journal Respiratory Research found that the vibrations caused by heavy snoring can lead to injuries in the upper airways. These injuries can make swallowing difficult, which could then lead to developing more serious conditions like obstructive sleep apnea, a dangerous sleep disorder that causes breathing to repeatedly start and stop while one sleeps.
“Besides the disturbing effects, constant snoring can be a significant health risk. Nonetheless, there are indications that our research will guide towards early preventive measures and in the long term also enhance healing of damaged tissue caused by snoring,” said lead researcher Per Stal.
Snoring vibrations can lead to injuries
Researchers from Umea University in Sweden analyzed the uvula muscles of 22 participants referred for surgery because of snoring and sleep apnea. The results showed that snorers and people afflicted with sleep apnea have injuries that can be seen at both the structural and molecular levels.
The team observed that the participants’ soft palate – soft tissue at the back of the roof of the mouth, including the uvula – displayed a loss of nerves and muscle mass. It also exhibited abnormal muscle structure. Additionally, the researchers found that the muscle fibers in the soft palate lacked or had a disturbed organization of proteins. These proteins stabilize the organelles of the muscle cells and support cellular structures related to energy production and muscle fiber contraction.
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The researchers also found that the body actively attempts to heal these injuries. They observed the presence of a neurotransmitter responsible for regeneration in the muscle cells of the soft palate. However, the repetitive vibrations from snoring prevent the neurotransmitter from doing its job. This becomes a constant cycle of damaging, repairing, and interrupting, which leads to swallowing dysfunction.
“Present findings have given us a clearer picture of the effects of snoring vibrations, which in turn increase the possibilities of finding ways to prevent damage and enhance the body’s healing processes,” said co-author Farhan Shah.
Now, the researchers are looking to use this knowledge to conduct new trials to help find a way to protect the soft palate and treat vibration damage caused by snoring.
Natural ways to keep snoring at bay
The study shows that snoring not only disrupts sleep but also causes potentially life-threatening health concerns if left unchecked. One way to stop this is by preventing snoring altogether. (Related: Is snoring more dangerous to your heart than smoking?)
Below you can find a few natural remedies to help keep snoring at bay:
- Change your sleeping position. Sometimes the easiest way to fix snoring is to simply adjust your sleeping position. Sleeping on your back can cause the tongue to move toward the back of the throat. This partially blocks airflow. Sleeping on your side can make air flow freely to reduce or stop snoring. Additionally, elevating your head on the bed can open up airways, giving the same effect.
- Quit smoking and drinking. These bring terrible effects to your respiratory tract. Smoking, in addition to being harmful to overall health, can irritate the airways and make snoring worse. Alcohol has also been found to relax throat muscles, which can make them more likely to vibrate.
- Drink herbal tea. Tea made from mint or even stinging nettle leaves can help cure snoring. Mint contains menthol which can reduce inflammation of the airways and reduce mucus from the lungs. Nettle leaves are a natural antihistamine that has strong anti-inflammatory effects.
- Sip olive oil. Excessive tissues can block the airway, which causes the sound of snoring. Taking a tablespoon or two of olive oil a day can help moisten the tissues. This can create less friction from contact with each other, preventing snoring.
- Inhale steam from sage. Sage is another anti-inflammatory herb that can help reduce snoring. Boiling the leaves in a pot of hot water and inhaling the steam can relieve inflammation and congestion in the airways.
Snoring can be detrimental in both sleeping habits and health. Applying these simple home remedies can help you eliminate sleep problems and stay healthy while giving yourself and your partner a good night’s sleep.