Discovering the Best Cure for Snoring!

Snoring is a problem which is affecting millions and the Schnarchmuseum’s unusual collection traces humankind’s millennia’s long struggle to cure this issue.

But do we yet know the formulae for curing this issue?

Considering the medieval fact of a steel cannonball which lays on a shelf above the head of a mannequin whose mouth is covered with a thick leather muzzle-like mask.

Believe it or not, these medieval torture devices were actually used to prevent snoring.

Sleep researcher and therapist Josef Wirth found the mask and cannonball some 17 years ago and they are now a part of Schnarchmuseum in Alfred, Germany.

These items were collected through the patients who brought them to him. They stated usually that the item has not worked on them.

He stored all the items collected and grew the collection. He was always on the lookout for new items.

The museum is now visited by 1,500 people from around the world each year. Soldiers who snored had it sewn into their uniforms to stop them from sleeping on their backs. Wirth explains that the cannonball was used during the War of Independence in the US.

It is of no help if they snore through their nose as the 100-year-old mask next to it is designed to keep a snorer’s mouth shut while they are asleep.

How Snoring is related to Sleep Apnea?

Snoring is a phenomenon created by the obstructed airflow during breathing which causes parts of the respiratory system to vibrate.When you consider just how many people are affected by snoring,  It is not surprising how much interest there is in Wirth’s project.

When your throat muscles and tongue intermittently relaxes and blocks the airway during sleep, it can also be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea.

Scientists have still not found a simple solution or the issue which affects hundreds of millions of people despite the fact that snoring has persisted for millennia.

About 41.5% of the population snores while in the US recent data puts the figure at 44% of men and 28% of women is what the British Snoring and Sleep Apnea Association estimates.

Marianne Davey, director of BSSAA states that there will never be a "one solution fits all" cure as there are so many reasons why somebody may snore.

We have to tailor treatment to each individual as your snoring will not have the same cause as the next person.

In order to attain success in managing the snoring issue, the patient will have to work with the treatment.

Changing Lifestyle habits that Help Cure Snoring

Losing weight,eating healthy and avoiding alcohol which is thought to narrow the airways, the main treatment for snoring involves lifestyle changes.

While surgery is an option for those with a deviated septum for example, decongestants and allergy medication can help. Oral devices can also be successful, but care should be taken in choosing as some will cause harm in the long term.

Changing your sleeping position can help to cure acute snoring because different sleep positions have their pros and cons that you should not ignore.

In the ancient times, ideas about how to cure snoring were not all that different. Dionysus, the Greek god of wine was a well-documented perpetrator as the Greeks and Romans knew that over-eating and drinking meant that you were more likely to snore.

Using thyme to reduce snoring was recommended by the Ebers Papyrus of herbal knowledge dating to circa 1550 BC. They are still available today when it comes to snoring oils which are made from thyme and other herbs.

Devices have gone from cumbersome to sleek in modern history and technological advancements.

Rafael Pelayo, the clinical professor at the Stanford Center for Sleep Science and Medicine stated that over time treatments for snoring have evolved and changed but the principals are the same.

Know About the Snoring Devices Available

One such device is an oral appliance which holds the tongue forward while the snorer sleeps. Since 1953 a comparable oral device made from metal rather than the more comfortable plastic which is now used has been around.

They are now normally made using a mold formed to each patient’s teeth and mouth shape as the devices have benefited from the technology. 25 years old is the oldest example in the Wirth’s museum.

He stated that they are very effective and in the recent times it got much more comfortable and people can change and it is not fixed like the older ones.

Surgery for snoring has also improved. It used to be that they would crush the bone out but now they use radio waves to do it and it heals much faster. Also allergy medication has got much better according to Pelayo.

The first surgery for snoring became widely available to the public in the UK in 1999. Snoring specialist Prof Bhik Kotecha says that robotic surgery is increasingly used for sleep apnea.

He stated that this is the most aggressive form of therapy and the robotics allows you to perform surgery more accurately and it can be used in areas which are more difficult to get at.

Another device is the continuous positive airway pressure ventilator or CPAP. This has also evolved since it was invented in 1980 by Colin Sullivan, an Australian physician.

Looking more like an effort to create Frankenstein’s monster, the snoring museum has a kit from 1985. It now tips the scales at as little as 400g making them portable and easy to use at home.  Wirth explains that in 1985 CPAP kits weighed 35kg.

Recently approved for further testing is a device which stimulates the nerves which coordinate the muscles in the airways, intended primarily for obstructive sleep apnea.

It requires surgical implantation, in a similar way to that required for a pacemaker. As this technology gets better, it could be applied to snoring. The evolution of snoring treatments does not stop here, according to Lawrence Epstein the former president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.