Snoring is not good for anyone. It's not good for anyone who sleeps in the same room or in close proximity to someone who snores, and nothing good comes of it for the person who does snore. Snorers are often the butt of jokes, but it's no laughing matter for anyone within earshot who is losing sleep or having their own sleep affected because they are the ones registering on the Richter scale, even if they are not aware of it while they are doing it. A case of persistent snoring can often lead to separate bedrooms, and while that might save at least one party's sanity, it doesn't do wonders for that relationship's intimacy. Nor is snoring conducive to one's long-term good health. Per webmd.com, 75 percent of the people who snore – and it is estimated that 45 percent of normal adults do snore – have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), a condition in which breathing is disrupted for brief periods of time while they are asleep. The down side of that, besides the unwelcome noise and the interrupted sleep, is that it increases the risk of developing heart disease.
What Does Snoring Involve?Snoring is that rough or hoarse sound produced when air flows past relaxed tissues in your throat, causing them to vibrate when you breathe, per mayoclinic.org. The narrower your airway, the greater the vibration and the louder the snoring. Your breathing can come to a stop if the walls of your throat fully collapse (or occlude), a serious condition which begs medical attention, per sleepfoundation.org. Factors behind your snoring include the anatomy of your mouth and sinuses (such as an airway narrowed by a low, thick palate), alcohol consumption (as in too much), being overweight, a virus such as a cold, or allergies. Your sleep position could also be a contributing factor, with sleeping on your back linked to the most frequent and loudest snoring. Most people snore occasionally, but for some it is a chronic problem, per mayoclinic.org. Not everyone who snores has OSA, but it's worth an appointment with your physician for discussion, diagnosis, and possible treatment if your snoring coincides with any of the following conditions, per mayoclinic.org:
- Significant daytime sleepiness
- Sore throat and/or headaches after waking up
- Chest pain at night
- Restless sleep
- Problems concentrating
- Choking or gasping during the night
- Witnessed breaking pauses while asleep
- For children – short attention span, behavioral problems or lackluster academic performance
Dealing with Snoring IssuesObviously, self-diagnosing a snoring problem can be very difficult, but if your bed-partner or others with whom you live inform you of your snoring, it might be time to see your doctor, who can take your history, perform a physical exam, and perhaps refer you to a sleep specialist to look at sleep disorders. This could involve a sleep test to determine if you have sleep apnea and how and if your snoring is influencing your quality of sleep. Following are some treatments and means of coping:
- Lose weight. The greater your weight, it seems, the greater your chances of being a snorer, weight loss has been shown to possibly prevent snoring all together.
- Avoid sleeping pills before bedtime. Ditto tranquilizers and antihistamines, per sleepfoundation.org.
- Sleep well. Or, at least develop some regular sleep patterns, like same time to bed and same wakeup time.
- Nasal Strips. These strips can help open up your nasal passages which can reduce snoring.
- Sleep position. Sleeping on your side instead of on your back. By sleeping on your back you put pressure on your respiratory system and can contribute to snoring.
- Avoid alcohol, eating. That is, don't drink alcohol within four hours of your planned bedtime, and make it three hours prior for heavy meals or snacks.
- Use oral appliances. To do that, find a dentist experienced in making such devices and familiar with treatment of snoring and sleep apnea and help stop snoring, per sleepfoundation.org.
- Stay hydrated. Lack of hydration can make your nose and palata secretions stickier, which can create make snoring worse, per webmd.com.
- Supplements/aids. Wonder Labs offers Snoozze Ezz to help with mild sleep issues and aid in falling asleep.