Lately, my Dad has been snoring very loudly, and my mom doesn't care. But, it bothers the rest of us a lot. What can we do besides get earplugs?
Snoring keeping us awake
Dear Snoring keeping us awake,
Your Dad doesn't want to snore; he can't help it. Snoring indicates something is obstructing his breathing and causing vibrations in his mouth and throat.
Many things may be causing your Dad to snore such as an obstructed nasal passage from a cold or allergy, poor muscle tone in the throat and tongue, throat tissue too bulky, long uvula (that small thing dangling at the back of the throat), or long soft palate.
You should talk to your Mom about not being able to sleep well at night because of Dad's loud snoring. She can recommend that your Dad see a doctor to make sure he doesn't have a serious problem such as sleep apnea where snoring is also accompanied by episodes of not breathing for short periods. Your Dad may not be getting enough oxygen while he sleeps.
Doctors who are experts in this area called Otolaryngologists (pronounced oh/toe/lair/in/goll/oh/jists) or ENT physicians (ENT for Ear, Nose, Throat). According to the American Academy of Otolaryngology (www.entnet.org), "more than 300 devices are registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office as cures for snoring."
If your Dad suffers from sleep apnea, then basic treatments are either surgery or CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) which is a mask worn to put air pressure into the throat.
You are not alone in hearing your Dad snore. About 45% of adults snore occasionally with males snoring more than females (www.entnet.org).
For people with occasional bouts of snoring, below are some ways to help stop snoring.
1. Sleep on the side instead of the back.
2. Sleep with head area raised a few inches.
3. Lose some weight. Being overweight narrows the air passages.
5. Avoid alcohol several hours before bedtime.
6. Avoid heavy meals or snacks several hours before bed.
7. Avoid sleeping pills and antihistamines before bed.
For more information on snoring, go to www.entnet.org