Why do we snore when we've been drinking?


Posted on: 03 September 2018 by Nicki Jenns

This phenomenon can be aggravated by being overweight. Above all, it is the loss of tone of the dilator muscles of the pharynx during sleep that causes this narrowing of the air-way.

Parties are often synonymous with well watered meals. But unfortunately no silent sleep! Especially because alcoholic beverages favor snoring. But how ?
You may have noticed: the most festive evenings generally announce more agitated nights. Because it is not a myth, alcohol tends to favor snoring. And, less known phenomenon, it also contributes to degrade the quality of our sleep.
Snoring is the result of a disruption of air circulation that causes abnormal vibrations of the pharynx during inspiration. These are due to narrowing of the upper airways (soft palate, uvula, tonsils, tongue ...).
This phenomenon can be aggravated by being overweight. Above all, it is the loss of tone of the dilator muscles of the pharynx during sleep that causes this narrowing of the airways.
And what about alcohol?
But then what does alcohol do in there? It's very simple: alcoholic drinks exert a vasodilating effect that accentuates the muscular relaxation.
Vasodilatation is a dilation of the blood vessels which causes a relaxation of the smooth muscles of the walls of these vessels, especially those of the throat and sinuses. The air with difficulty to pass causes vibrations and the snoring is intense.
In addition, alcohol disrupts the overall quality of sleep. And not only because of snoring. Thus, the impression that one may have to fall asleep more easily after a meal a little too watered is misleading.
Because even though alcohol can help to indulge in Morpheus, it disrupts the alternation of deep and light sleep cycles.
Moreover, in a study published in January 2017 in The Research Society on Alcoholism , Australian researchers have shown that drinking alcohol before sleep stimulates brain activity, and thus harms sleep.
So what to do?
It is better to avoid drinking alcohol before bedtime, especially if you have a tendency to snore at night.
You can also practice prevention exercises to strengthen your tongue.
A team of South American researchers have published encouraging results in the journal Chest . According to them,  "oropharyngeal exercises are effective in objectively reducing measured snoring and constitute a potential treatment for a large population suffering from snoring . "
4 exercises that can help reduce your snoring:
  • Push the tip of your tongue against the roof of your mouth (just behind the top teeth) and slide your tongue toward the back of the palate;
  • Push the tongue flat up against the top of the mouth pressing the entire tongue;
  • Force the back of the tongue against the floor of the mouth, keeping the tongue in contact with the bottom and the front teeth;
  • Push the bottom of the tongue towards the back of the palate by repeating the vowel "A" several times in a row.
What can your doctor do?
Your general practitioner can help you identify the cause of your snoring and suggest some lifestyle changes to reduce these symptoms.
If despite the follow-up of preventive measures, your snoring does not diminish, your doctor may decide to perform certain tests to determine the possible presence of an undiagnosed disease responsible for fatigue or excessive sleep.
These tests may include controlling blood pressure to rule out high blood pressure or hypothyroidism.
Once these illnesses have been excluded from the medical prognosis, the doctor can advise you to consult a sleep specialist so that the latter can carry out more in-depth tests and possibly diagnose sleep apnea.
For that, it is possible that your sleep is observed and controlled within a specialized establishment or at home, thanks to a special material.
Devices to reduce frequent snoring and benign sleep apnea
For patients who wish to reduce their snoring problem, treatments for nasal dilation can help them prevent narrowing of the nasal passages. Among these medical solutions are the following devices:
  1. Nasal strips to apply on the nose
  2. A nasal dilator to place inside the nostrils
These devices are another category of oral treatments for patients with mild sleep apnea. Some of them are available over the counter but they are not suitable for everyone. And for some patients, it will be necessary to consult an orthodontist so that the latter can achieve a customized mandibular advancement device.
The Silent Treatment device
The Silent Treatment device are another type of oral treatment for mild OSA. Some are available to buy ready-made, but this type will not be suitable for everyone. In some cases it is necessary to have a custom-built made by an orthodontist.

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Nicki Jenns

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John Smith posted 02 April 2020

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