Snoring is due to the turbulent flow of air through upper airway which can rise from transient obstruction at several levels. Obstruction occurs due to the failure of the upper airway dilator muscles to stabilize the airway during sleep. The obstruction can occur due to oedema by the vibration injury during snoring and other factors such as ageing process and obesity may account for the progression of snoring in some individuals. About half of the population who snore have obstructive sleep apnea.
This problem can be distressing for the patients as they feel falling asleep in public places, fear of travelling, martial disharmony etc.
What are the symptoms of Snoring?
Snoring is often associated with a sleep disorder Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) but not all snorers have OSA but if snoring is accompanied by one of the following symptoms, it may be an indication for further evaluation of OSA. The symptoms include:
• Witnessed breathing pauses during sleep
• Restless sleep
• Gasping or choking at night
• Chest pain at night
• High blood pressure
• Morning headaches
• Excessive daytime sleepiness
• Snoring is so loud that it disturbs another person
• In children, poor attention span, behavioural issues, poor performance at school
Snoring according to Ayurveda:
In Ayurveda, snoring can be correlated to Urdwajatrugata Vikara to denote the problem persisting in the nasal passage and throat that are situated above the clavicle or collar bone as well as Nidra Roga meaning a sleep related ailment. All the three doshas are involved in this condition but the chief factor contributing to snoring as well as sleep apnea is the aggravation of Vata dosha.
Sleep apnea can give rise to the number of other health conditions such as high blood pressure, abnormal heart rate, dry mouth, mood swings etc. Moreover, it negatively influences the functioning of the nervous system by impairing memory, concentration, thinking abilities etc.
What is the treatment of Snoring?
Modern treatment of snoring includes fitting oral appliances that help in advancing the position of the jaw, tongue and soft palate to keep the air passage open. It also includes surgery of the upper airway in order to open the upper airway and prevent significant narrowing during sleep through a variety of techniques.
What is the Ayurvedic treatment of Snoring?
The primary goal of Ayurvedic treatment of snoring involves eradicating the root cause.
Ayurvedic treatment of snoring includes medicines that are administered via the nasal passage that affect Prana Vata, mind, Tarpaka Kapha, Sadhak Pitta as well as Majja Dhatu.
Ayurveda offers natural solutions to rectify the instances of snoring as well as sleep apnea. The Ayurvedic treatment also restores the tridoshic harmony. There are various remedies as wells as powerful herbs mentioned in Ayurveda that have astonishing results and they are the proven method to help tackle the problem of snoring and sleep apnea resulting in a peaceful sleep.
Some of the herbs useful in Snoring and Sleep Apnea are:
1. Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera): Ashwagandha is an excellent herb for the nervous system as it calms the nerves, mitigates stress and helps in smooth transmission of signals all over the body which helps the person to breathe deeply.
• Due to the presence of a phytonutrient known as triethylene glycol which induces undisturbed sleep at night.
• Therefore, ashwagandha efficiently combats snoring and sleep apnea and improves the quality of sleep.
2. Jatamanasi (Nardostachys jatamansi): The natural biochemicals of jatamanasi herb have the potential to stimulate deep sleep at night.
• It also helps in pacifying Vata, Pitta and Kapha doshas.
• This herb also diminishes stress, tension in the nervous system and soothes the heated body due to its sheet virya (cold potency).
3.Nirgundi (Vitex negundo): Nirgundi is a powerful Ayurvedic herb containing a powerful essential oil that tremendously improves breathing functions, power of the lungs and also pacifies the aggravated Vata dosha.
• Instilling 2-3 drops of nirgundi oil into the nostrils and inhaling the invigorating aroma before bedtime helps in preventing frequent snoring and augments uninterrupted sleep cycles.
3. Sarpagandha (Rauwolfia serpentina): Sarpagandha is a time- tested remedy to enhance quality of sleep as well as treating heart related conditions such as high blood pressure.
4. Shankhpushpi (Covolvulus pluricaulis): Shankhpushpi is a well-known herb in Ayurveda for boosting brain power.
• It is very useful in soothing headache and agitated mood that are often experienced by the patients suffering from sleep apnea.
• Being a Medhya herb, it provides relief in mental fatigue, elevates nervous system activity and ensures sound sleep.
Some Home Remedies useful in the treatment of Snoring are:
1. Cow Ghee (Clarified Butter): Put a couple of drops of cow ghee in each nostril before going to sleep. It not only helps in snoring but also gives relief in headache and sinus.
• Lukewarm cow ghee can be rubbed on the navel before sleeping.
2. Badam Rogan (Almond Oil): Take 1 spoon of badam rogan in a glass of warm milk before going to bed. Almond oil acts as a lubricant and helps in stopping snoring caused by dryness in the respiratory tract.
3. Shunthi Powder (Dry Ginger Powder): Take ½ spoon dry ginger powder with honey before going to bed.
4. Saline Solution: Prepare saline solution by adding ¼ teaspoon salt to ½ cup distilled water and mix it well till salt is dissolved. Store it in an empty nasal spray bottle or a bottle having dropper. Instil 2-3 drops into each nostril every night. This solution should can be used for 5 days, after that it should be prepared fresh.
Diet and Lifestyle:
Lekhana and Medohara (fat scraping/reducing) ahara and vihara and shodhan therapies are beneficial.
• Some yoga exercises such as neck rotation, shalabhahasana, uttanasana, surya namaskar, shoulder exercise can be included in daily lifestyle.
• Regular exercise such as daily walking is also very beneficial.
• Take alkaline foods in the diet such as fresh seasonal fruits.
• Dairy products should be avoided.
• Avoid yoghurt, bananas, ice creams, cold drinks.
• Reduce the consumption of caffeinated beverages.
• Avoid alcohol consumption because it can increase sleep apnea.
• Junk food containing preservatives should be strictly avoided.
Hence, Snoring can be successfully treated in Ayurveda with the use of herbs, herbal remedies, home remedies and by making changes in diet and lifestyle.