If you share a bed with someone who snores, you know how annoying it can be. It can even be the inspiration for separate bedrooms, as is the case for almost 70% of Boomers who say they sleep apart. It can even be the motivation for divorce.
Snoring has its downsides for the person doing it, as well – beyond relationship difficulties. It can lower the quality of your sleep enough to make daytime fatigue and irritability real problems, not to mention a higher risk of other health issues.
And about half of us snore at least sometimes. Twenty-five percent of us are habitual snorers.
Anatomy of a Snore
But just what is a snore, really?
As you drift into sleep, the tissues around the top of your airway relax right along with the rest of your muscles. Your jaw and tongue may fall backward a bit. A snore is the sound of air flowing past these obstructions, causing the tissues to vibrate.
While snoring is sometimes taken as a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea – a condition in which you stop breathing for 10 seconds or more repeatedly through the night – it isn’t always. Sometimes a snore is just a snore.
The quickest and easiest way to get a sense of whether sleep apnea is an issue for you is to take the Epworth Sleepiness Scale test, which you can do right now here. A score of 10 or more is a clear indication that you should talk about it with your doctor, who can order a sleep test to make a diagnosis one way or the other so you can get appropriate treatment.
There are treatment options for plain snoring, as well, although the effectiveness of various devices are often questionable. After finding just one of six devices worked well enough that she used it “sporadically” over the course of two years, one writer conceded that “ultimately, losing weight seemed to help my snoring best.” (Weight loss can help by reducing the amount of tissue around the top of the windpipe.)
The good news is that there’s a device-free solution that has proven very effective, and we offer it right here in our own office in Boise: NightLase.
What Is NightLase & How Can It Help Me Sleep Better?
NightLase is a non-invasive laser treatment designed to address snoring. It uses laser technology to tighten and strengthen the tissues in the throat, reducing the frequency and intensity of snoring and improving breathing during sleep.
Using our Fotona laser, Dr. Montgomery recontours the tissues around the top of the windpipe over a series of appointments, usually spaced about a month apart. The laser energy heats the tissues, stimulating your body’s natural ability to restructure collagen around the site, causing the tissues to tighten and contract.
Over time, the newly formed collagen strengthens the tissues, reducing their laxity and preventing them from collapsing and obstructing the airway during sleep. Tighter, stronger tissues? Less snoring.
The treatment is minimally invasive and painless, with results lasting up to a year or even more before retreatment may be needed.
NightLase has other virtues, as well, which have made it a treatment option that more and more patients are choosing.
For one, it requires no incisions, anesthesia, or cutting of tissues. Since it involves no surgery, the procedure typically requires minimal downtime. Most people can resume their normal activities immediately after each treatment session.
NightLase is also quick and convenient. Each treatment session usually lasts around 30 to 45 minutes. It can also be tailored to meet individual needs. The number of treatment sessions and laser energy levels can be adjusted based on the severity of the condition and the desired outcomes.
But most of all, by improving the airway, NightLase can improve sleep quality – not just for you but also your bed partner, both of you able to get the quality sleep you need and deserve.