Looking for an effective treatment to stop snoring in Singapore? Sire tells you all you need to know about snoring and men’s health.
A UK survey conducted in 2021 suggested that Singapore ranks as the third noisiest snoring city across the world. If you are losing sleep because of the noisy snorer next to you or you find yourself embarrassed by the comments of family members or housemates, you are not alone.
What is snoring?
Snoring is a common condition that affects many people, both young and old, men and women. Snoring happens when air flows past soft tissues in the throat and causes them to vibrate during sleep.
While snoring may seem harmless, it can actually have a negative impact on your health if left untreated.
Is snoring bad or harmful?
The occasional snore is almost universal. It can happen to almost anyone.
Although loud habitual snoring may be, unfortunately, termed a “social nuisance” to the sleepers around you – it could be a sign of something more.
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
Studies have shown that snoring can be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a sleep disorder that causes breathing to repeatedly stop and start during sleep. This can lead to daytime fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and an increased risk of accidents.
In the next few sections, we’ll dive into the causes of snoring, the different types of snoring treatments available, and how you can determine which treatment is right for you.
What causes us to snore?
A variety of factors can cause snoring, including physical and lifestyle factors.
The most common cause of snoring is the relaxation of the muscles in the throat and tongue during sleep, which can cause the airway to narrow or even become blocked. This can result in a vibration of the surrounding tissues, which produces the snoring sound.
Other physical factors that can contribute to snoring include obesity, nasal congestion, deviated septum (“crooked nose”), and enlarged tonsils or adenoids. These conditions partially obstruct the airways, increasing resistance to airflow, contributing to snoring.
Lifestyle factors, such as smoking, alcohol consumption, and poor sleep habits, can also increase the likelihood of snoring.
How does smoking cause snoring?
It is not exactly known why smoking is associated with snoring. Studies have proposed nightly nicotine withdrawal and nasal congestion as some of the reasons.
How does alcohol consumption cause snoring?
Observational evidence pointed out that alcohol consumption can increase airway resistance due to relaxation of the airway muscles. This increases the likelihood of snoring.
At Sire, we believe it is important to identify the specific cause of your snoring in order to determine the most effective treatment. By understanding the causes of snoring and addressing them with appropriate treatment, you can improve your sleep quality and overall health. If you are unsure about the cause of your snoring, consult your doctor.
Non-Surgical Solutions for Snoring Treatment in Singapore: Lifestyle Changes and Devices
If you’re a snorer, you’re probably familiar with the various treatments that claim to help reduce or eliminate snoring. However, not all treatments have equal outcomes, and what works for one person may not work for another.
Sire takes a closer look at snoring treatments in Singapore and their effectiveness.
How can Singaporeans treat their snoring?
Lose the excess weight!
One of the most effective snoring treatments is to lose weight. Excess weight can cause fat to accumulate around the throat, which can obstruct the airway and lead to snoring. Losing even a small amount of weight can help reduce snoring.
Although you will notice a reduction in snoring frequency, you might not see a consistent pattern.
Do not be disheartened though! Losing the excess weight comes with additional health benefits beyond just stopping the snore. Combine this goal with other solutions for the best outcomes.
At Sire, we wrote about the latest medications available for weight loss. Read about it here.
Avoid smoking and alcohol
Smoking and alcohol consumption has an association with snoring.
Sleeping on your back can make snoring worse, as gravity causes your tongue and throat muscles to relax and block your airway. Try sleeping on your side instead, which can help keep your airway open and reduce snoring.
Easier said than done though! You can use devices to prevent you from sleeping on your back like special pillows or even modified pyjamas.
A simple trick that you can try at home is sewing a pocket over the spine area of a fitting T-shirt. Place some tennis balls in the pocket. The discomfort associated with rolling on your back is generally enough to prompt you to roll back on your side without waking up.
While it may seem uncomfortable and strange to force yourself to sleep strictly in one position, especially if you have been sleeping on your back your whole life, it is still worth a try. A simple habit like this can change your life for the better.
Try these upper airway exercises
Like the muscles in your body, you can also strengthen the muscles controlling your tongue and those at the back of the throat.
You can also perform ipper airway exercises, though best under the supervision of your sleep specialist.
Here are some basic examples you can try at least once a day:
Tongue curls: open your mouth wide and stretch your tongue down as far as possible towards your chin. Hold for at least 5 seconds. Repeat 5 times.
Tongue taichi: poke your tongue against your left and right cheek alternately. You can increase the resistance against the tongue by pushing your cheek against the tongue with your fingers. Hold for 5 seconds. Repeat up to 5 times on each side.
Mouth blowing: inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth while keeping your lips pressed together like blowing an imaginary balloon. Blow for 5 seconds. You can repeat up to 10 times.
Small studies found that upper airway exercises can improve snoring frequency and intensity.
What devices can I use as treatment to snoring (available in Singapore)?
(Breathe Right nasal strips, photo credit: Breathe Right)
Nasal strips or dilators are available as a snoring treatment in Singapore
Nasal strips or dilators can help open up your nasal passages, making it easier to breathe and reducing snoring.
Several small studies reviewing nasal strips or dilators found a reduction in either snoring frequency or intensity.
These devices are easy to use and you can purchase them over-the-counter at most pharmacies. As they are readily available, painless and affordable – Sire recommends giving it a go if your snoring is not associated with OSA and if your snoring does not improve with the methods already described above.
Try a mouthguard are available as a snoring treatment in Singapore
A mouthguard, also known as a mandibular advancement device, can help keep your airway open by pushing your lower jaw forward. These devices are custom-fitted by a dentist and can be an effective solution for snoring when used properly.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends the use of a mouthguard for people whose snoring is not associated with OSA and see no improvement in their snoring despite methods already described above.
During the period of initial use, side effects can be common – up to 80% in some studies. These side effects include excessive salivation, mouth dryness, difficulty chewing in the morning, tooth pain, gum irritation, headaches and jaw discomfort.
These side effects are generally minor and self-limiting, they go away with continued usage – regular long-term follow-up with a dentist is recommended.
(CPAP machine. Photo credit: CPAP Singapore)
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) are available as a snoring treatment in Singapore
CPAP is a popular treatment for sleep apnea, a condition that often goes hand-in-hand with snoring.
CPAP machines work by delivering a constant stream of air pressure through a mask worn over the nose or nose and mouth. While CPAP can be highly effective, it can also be uncomfortable and difficult to get used to.
If your snoring is not associated with sleep apnea or OSA, a custom-fitted mouthguard by a dentist may be a more convenient treatment compared to CPAP.
A study compared the use of a mouthguard and CPAP for the treatment of snoring. Both treatments were associated with significant improvement in snoring. The use of a mouthguard was chosen more frequently for long-term use compared to CPAP.
Are there any medications for treating snoring available in Singapore?
While there are no medications that are specifically designed to treat snoring, there are some medications that can help to reduce or eliminate snoring by reducing nasal congestion.
Medications for short-term (acute) nasal congestion
Medications to reduce nasal congestion before bedtime, such as using a saline nasal irrigation or a nasal decongestant spray, can help to reduce nasal congestion and improve airflow. These may help alleviate snoring.
These sprays are available over-the-counter at most pharmacies, but they should not be used for extended periods of time as they can cause a rebound effect and make congestion worse.Use of these sprays should be limited to two to three days.
Medications for long-term (chronic) nasal congestion
If you suffer from long-term nasal congestion and snoring, a trial treatment of intranasal steroids could improve your snoring.
Steroids can reduce inflammation in the nasal passages, which can help to open up airways and reduce snoring.
It is important to note that while medications may help to reduce snoring, they are not a permanent solution and should not be relied on as the sole treatment for snoring. At Sire, we recommend speaking with your healthcare professional to determine the underlying cause of snoring and to develop a comprehensive treatment plan.
Surgical Options as Snoring Treatment in Singapore: Pros, Cons, and Risks
If lifestyle changes and non-surgical treatments do not improve your snoring, your doctor may recommend surgical options. These procedures aim to address the physical causes of snoring and improve your breathing during sleep.
One common surgical option is called uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), which involves removing excess tissue from the throat, including the uvula, tonsils, and parts of the soft palate.
This procedure can be effective in reducing snoring, but it may also cause pain and discomfort during recovery, and there is a risk of complications such as bleeding or infection.
Another option is the pillar procedure, which involves inserting small implants into the soft palate to stiffen it and reduce snoring. This procedure is less invasive than UPPP and has a lower risk of complications, but it may not be as effective in severe cases of snoring.
Other surgical options include Laser-Assisted Uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP), radiofrequency ablation (RFA), and maxillofacial surgery. Your doctor will determine the best surgical option for you based on the severity and underlying causes of your snoring.
While surgery can be effective in treating snoring, it is important to weigh the risks and benefits before making a decision. Risks include bleeding, infection, and changes in speech or swallowing. It is also important to note that surgery may not completely eliminate snoring and may need to be combined with other treatments for best results.
Overall, if lifestyle changes and non-surgical treatments do not improve your snoring, surgical options may be worth considering. Sire believes in the importance of consulting with your doctor and discussing the pros, cons, and risks of each option before making a decision.
The Role of a Sleep Study in Snoring Treatment (Singapore)
If you have tried different treatments for snoring but still find yourself struggling to get a good night’s sleep, a sleep study may be the next step in finding a solution.
A sleep study, also known as a polysomnogram, is a test that measures different aspects of your sleep such as brain activity, eye movement, and muscle tone. It can also detect problems like sleep apnea, which is a common cause of snoring.
Inpatient vs. Home-Based Polysomnography: Which is the Right Choice for You?
When it comes to undergoing a sleep study, you may have the option of either an inpatient or a home-based polysomnography. Each method has its own advantages and considerations, so let’s explore the differences to help you make an informed decision.
Inpatient Polysomnography: Comprehensive Monitoring in a Sleep Center
Inpatient polysomnography is conducted in a sleep centre under the supervision of qualified sleep technicians. It involves spending a night at the sleep centre, where you will be connected to various monitoring devices to collect data on your sleep patterns, breathing, and other vital signs. The controlled environment of a sleep centre allows for comprehensive monitoring and evaluation by sleep specialists.
Benefits of Inpatient Polysomnography
Inpatient polysomnography offers a more comprehensive evaluation of your sleep as it records a wide range of physiological parameters, including brain activity, eye movements, muscle tone, heart rate, and oxygen levels.
The data collected during an inpatient sleep study is carefully analysed by sleep specialists, who can provide detailed insights into your sleep patterns, breathing abnormalities, and potential sleep disorders such as sleep apnea.
If significant sleep-related breathing issues are detected during an inpatient study, prompt medical intervention or recommendations for further treatment can be provided, ensuring timely support for your snoring or sleep-related concerns.
Home-Based Polysomnography: Convenience and Comfort of Sleep in Your Own Bed
Home-based polysomnography, on the other hand, allows you to undergo the sleep study in the comfort of your own home. You will be provided with portable monitoring devices that you can set up yourself according to the instructions provided by the sleep centre. Home-based studies are suitable for individuals with suspected mild to moderate sleep disorders or those who prefer the convenience of sleeping in familiar surroundings.
Benefits of Home-Based Polysomnography
Home-based sleep studies eliminate the need for an overnight stay at a sleep centre, allowing you to sleep in your own bed, which can be more comfortable and representative of your typical sleep environment.
Home-based studies provide flexibility in terms of scheduling, allowing you to choose a night that best suits your routine.
Choosing the Right Option for You
The decision between inpatient and home-based polysomnography depends on various factors, including the severity of your symptoms, your physician’s recommendation, and your personal preferences. It’s important to discuss these options with your healthcare provider or sleep specialist to determine which approach is most suitable for your specific situation.
Remember, whether you opt for inpatient or home-based polysomnography, the ultimate goal is to gather accurate data about your sleep patterns and breathing to assist in diagnosing and treating your snoring or other sleep-related concerns effectively.
If you have been struggling with snoring and haven’t found a solution, consider talking to your doctor about a sleep study. It could be the key to finally getting a good night’s sleep.
Getting the Snoring Treatment You Need for a Restful Night’s Sleep in Singapore
Tired of constantly putting on the ear plugs? Or is there something more than a simple annoyance? Sire understands the stress snoring can bring to a relationship, our in-house certified psychologist can go beyond the snoring to fixing your relationship as well. Check it out here.
At Sire, we answer all your burning questions about snoring treatment in Singapore.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What are the common causes of snoring?
Snoring can be caused by a variety of factors, including excess weight, age, allergies, smoking, alcohol consumption, and sleeping position. Some people may also have anatomical abnormalities, such as enlarged tonsils or a deviated septum, that contribute to snoring.
Q: What are the non-surgical treatments for snoring?
Non-surgical treatments for snoring include lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, avoiding alcohol and smoking, and sleeping on your side. There are also a variety of devices that can help, such as nasal strips and mouthguards.
Q: Can surgery help with snoring?
Surgery is an option for some people with snoring problems. The type of surgery will depend on the underlying cause of the snoring. For example, surgery may be recommended to remove enlarged tonsils, correct a deviated septum, or remove excess tissue from the throat.
Q: What are the risks of snoring surgery?
As with any surgery, there are risks associated with snoring surgery. These may include bleeding, infection, scarring, or an adverse reaction to anaesthesia. It is important to discuss the potential risks and benefits of any surgery with your doctor.
Q: Can medications help with snoring?
There are no medications specifically designed to treat snoring. However, some medications, such as nasal decongestants may help reduce snoring in certain cases. It is important to talk to your doctor before taking any medication for snoring.
Q: How can a sleep study help with snoring treatment?
A sleep study can help diagnose the underlying cause of snoring. During a sleep study, you will be monitored while you sleep to determine if you have any breathing problems, such as sleep apnea. This information can help your doctor determine the best course of treatment for your snoring.
Q: Is snoring only a problem for the person snoring?
Snoring can be a problem for both the person who snores and their sleeping partner. Snoring can cause sleep disturbances, which can lead to daytime fatigue, irritability, and other health problems.
Q: Can snoring be a sign of a more serious health condition?
In some cases, snoring can be a sign of a more serious health condition, such as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition where breathing is interrupted during sleep, which can lead to a range of health problems.
Q: How can I prevent snoring?
There are several things you can do to help prevent snoring, including maintaining a healthy weight, avoiding alcohol before bed, stop smoking, sleeping on your side, and using devices that can help keep your airway open.
Q: Can snoring be cured completely?
While snoring can often be improved with treatment, there is no guarantee that it can be cured completely. The effectiveness of treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the snoring and the severity of the condition. It is important to work with your doctor to develop a treatment plan that is appropriate for your individual needs.
The percentage of men in Singapore aged 30 and above who experience some degree of erectile dysfunction.