Snoring has been defined as “noisy breathing”; an activity indulged in as per statistics, by more men than women, and is caused when one’s breathing is in some way partially obstructed. Sometimes, though, it could be to a more serious health problem or health condition.
Snoring might be a common problem, but the unusual side of it is that it affects not just the one snoring, but also those around. “Laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone.” Though it could be the butt of jokes, and a source of irritation and sleeplessness for those around, as many as half of adults snore, making it a serious problem that demands attention and action.
How Snoring Happens:
When you fall asleep, the progress is from a light to a deep sleep, and gradually the muscles in the top (roof) of the mouth, throat and the tongue (the pharynx) relax, partially blocking the air-passage inside the throat. This causes the tissues to vibrate: the narrower the passage gets, the greater the vibratory sound.
This is also the reason why, if you are overweight, or have a longer uvula- the triangular tissue suspended from the palate – the extra tissues may further narrow the air-passage.
Understanding why snoring happens is essential to deal with it. Once you understand what causes your snoring, it is easier to decide on and implement remedial measures.
What Causes Snoring?
- Stress or circulatory problems
- Sinus or other nasal problems
- Alcohol consumption too close to your bed-time
- Poor or imbalanced diet
- Family history of snoring
- Certain types of medicines
- Enlarged tongue and or tonsils, or nasal problems e.g. Nasal polyps, deviated septum
- Advancing age (muscle loss and loosening of tissue and weight-gain)
The Accompanying Ill-effects:
Did you think snoring was just a “bad” habit? After seeing what causes it; now let’s see how ignoring it affects everyone around, and what social consequences it can lead to:
- Sleep-deprivation, which in turn can cause stroke and heart-attack
- Health-problems of those affected by your snoring
- Drowsiness, increased levels of anger, irritability
- Gasping/choking due to irregular or obstructed breathing
- Sore throat, and in some cases, chest pain
- Increased likelihood of chronic diseases in the long run – stroke, heart-conditions
- Risk to machine operators, drivers of vehicles, industrial disasters, (and of course the subsequent fatalities)
- Inability to focus/concentrate
- Reduced libido
- One London-based study found that snoring can raise a partner’s blood pressure as much as a low-flying aircraft or a lorry reversing!
Though there are several lines of treatment, including surgery and special devices to help you stop snoring, yoga is recommended as it is safe and free from side effects.
Silencing the Snoring:
Yoga can help in reducing or controlling snoring, and can also be safely practiced with any treatment you may be undergoing. Certain yoga poses may also serve to decongest breathing passage.
Easy to practice and fun to do as a routine, yoga asanas can surprise you with their efficacy. In the process, if regularly practiced, they might result in a spinoff benefit: your body will get in shape and become more flexible.
To put a stopper on your snoring, begin with these asanas and pranayamas:
- Pranayama – It helps by strengthening the muscles of the throat and face. Variations: Bhramari or Humming Pranayama and Ujjayi pranayama.
- Simha Garjasana (Roaring Lion Pose).
- Chanting the “Om” mantra.
A Lifestyle Change to Support Your Sleep Patterns:
Additional supportive measures such as planned weight-loss, quitting alcohol and tobacco consumption, avoiding prolonged use of decongestants, or lying on your side while sleeping can also aid in the process. Fine-tuning your diet by incorporating Ayurveda can also give good results.
As it affects multiple aspects of health, well-being and day-to day functioning of snorers as well as those around them, it is crucial to seek prompt measures that can address this problem. Apart from following a suitable regimen of yoga and meditation, develop a pattern of sleep-hygiene and steer yourself out of the snoring-zone. And those around you, as well!
Yoga practice helps develop the body and mind bringing a lot of health benefits yet is not a substitute for medicine. It is important to learn and practice yoga postures under the supervision of a trained Art of Living Yoga teacher. In case of any medical condition, practice yoga postures after consulting a doctor and a Art of Living Yoga teacher. Find a Art of Living Yoga program at an Art of Living Center near you. Do you need information on programs or share feedback? Write to us [email protected]