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気になるいびき。そのメカニズムと様々な解消方法について

いびきをかいて寝る男

いびきの解消のためにはその原因ごとに治療方法を考えることが重要ですが、特に、肥満体質の解消はいびきの解消にとても有益です。

肥満体質の場合、どうしても気道が狭くなりがちで、その結果としていびきをかきやすくなります。また、睡眠時無呼吸症候群が原因となっているいびきを解消することにもつながります。睡眠時無呼吸症候群は、社会生活上も不都合を生じさせる可能性があるので、いびきとともに解消することが重要です。

本稿ではいびきの原理やその解消のポイントについてまとめています。

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いびきはどうしてかくの?

肥満の男

「昨晩はいびきがうるさかった」などと旅行の際に友人に言われたことがある方はおられませんでしょうか。

いびきは睡眠中にかくものですので、自分自身では気づきません。しかし、その音は、程度によっては人の睡眠の妨げになってしまうほどの大きさの場合もあります。歯ぎしりや寝言などと並び睡眠中に周りの人に迷惑をかけてしまう原因のひとつです。また、いびきの影に病気が潜んでいることもあります。

そもそもいびきはどうしてかいてしまうのでしょうか。いびきは睡眠中の呼吸の際にのどや鼻(上気道といいます)の中の粘膜が揺れて音が鳴ることで発生します。

起きている時にはいびきをかいてしまうことはなく、睡眠中にいびきをかくのは、この上気道が狭くなるためです。上気道が狭くなるのは、睡眠中に筋肉が弛緩すると同時に、顎に脂肪が堆積してしまうことなどが原因となります(肥満体質の方の場合)つまり、睡眠中にのどや鼻といった上気道が狭くなるのが、いびきの原因ということになります。

いびきはそれ自体ではあまり問題はないということができます。単に上気道の粘膜が揺れて音が出てしまうだけだからです。しかし、いびきの音があまりにも大きいと周りで寝ている人の迷惑になるばかりでなく、いびきの背後に病気が潜んでいる時に大きな問題となりえます。いびきを解消するための方法としてはどのような解消方法があるのでしょうか。

様々ないびきの解消方法

いびきはその原因に対応して様々な解消方法が考えられます。

上気道の狭まりを生じる原因を減らすこと

いびきは上気道が狭くなることが原因となって発生しますので、上気道が狭くなる原因を可能な限り解消することが、ひどいいびきの解消につながります。

具体的には、ひどいいびきの原因となる上気道の狭まりは、お酒・肥満・薬物(睡眠薬など)によって発生します。そのため、これらを可能な限り排除することがひどいいびきを解消することにつながります。お酒などを控えるだけでいびきが解消することもあります。

睡眠時に上気道が狭くなることを防止する

次に、いびきを解消する方法としては、睡眠時に上気道が狭くなることを防止するという方法をとることがおすすめできます。具体的には、横向きでねることや枕を良いものに買い換えるなどがいびきを解消するために効果的です。特に横向きで寝るという方法は、極めて簡単にいびきを解消するために役立つ方法ですので、ぜひ試していただきたい方法です。

睡眠時無呼吸症候群を解消する

いびきでもっとも問題となるのが、いびきの原因が睡眠時無呼吸症候群である場合です。睡眠時無呼吸症候群は睡眠中に呼吸が停止してしまうほど上気道が狭くなる状態ですので、健康に対して非常に大きな悪影響を与えます。例えば、昼間の眠気などから、作業効率の低下や事故の危険性などがあります。

睡眠時無呼吸症候群が原因となっているいびきの場合には、その解消のために、可能な限り、治療を受けることなどがおすすめできます。

睡眠時無呼吸症候群の解消方法としてもっとも重要な方法としては、肥満体質を解消することです。肥満体質は顎の脂肪の堆積からいびき・睡眠時無呼吸症候群の大きな原因となります。睡眠時無呼吸症候群とそれに伴ういびきの解消のためには、肥満体質の改善が最も重要となります。

もっとも肥満体質の方だけが睡眠時無呼吸症候群となるわけではありません。睡眠時無呼吸症候群は顎の形など骨格の関係からどうしても発症してしまう場合もあります。その場合には医学的な手術などでいびきとともに解消することができます。このような睡眠時無呼吸症候群の解消がいびきの解消につながることもあるので、肥満体質の改善には努力されることがおすすめできます。

なお、睡眠時無呼吸症候群の解消方法としては、睡眠中に鼻から空気を送り込むという方法(CPAP治療法)という方法など医学的な方法もあります。

ネルネル 21回用 (口閉じテープ)
三晴社 (2006-06-05)
売り上げランキング: 151

まとめ:いびきの解消のためには肥満体質の改善が最も重要

以上述べましたことをまとめると以下のようになります。

  • いびきは睡眠時に鼻やのどなどの上気道が狭まることが原因となって生じます
  • そのため上気道が狭くなる原因を解消することがいびきの解消につながります
  • いびきの原因が睡眠時無呼吸症候群の場合には、睡眠時無呼吸症候群の解消がいびきの解消につながります。この際には、肥満の解消が最も効果的です

このようにいびきは一見すれば、単なる体質のように思われがちですが、その背景には睡眠時無呼吸症候群などが潜んでいる場合があります。そのため、いびきをきっかけに生活習慣を改善するなどされて、特に肥満体質の解消に取り組まれることが重要です。

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