If you live with someone who snores, you understand how disruptive it can be to a good night’s sleep. It is a common problem for both men and women and affecting 90 million adults, it can also be an indication of an underlying health condition.
Snoring occurs when you are sleeping and the muscles of your throat are relaxed and your tongue slips backwards towards your throat. As you breathe your throat can vibrate or rattle creating a variation and volume of sound.
Snoring can be very disruptive for anyone within hearing distance, as well as the person who is snoring. Having disrupted sleep can negatively impact everyone involved.
Common causes of snoring
There are numerous factors that can contribute or cause snoring. Additional factors such as anatomical or functional issues can also be at play. Here are some of the most common reasons for snoring:
|Alcohol use||Colds||Chronic mouth breathing|
|Deviated septum||Elongated Uvula||Enlarged tonsils|
|Nasal polyps||Overweight||Respiratory Infections or inflammation|
|Seasonal allergies||Sinus congestion||Smoking|
How does snoring impact your health?
The most obvious effect is feeling overly tired throughout the day. But an ongoing interrupted sleep pattern can cause additional problems such as:
|Body aches||Blood sugar imbalance||Decreased reaction time|
|Difficulty concentrating||Increased inflammation||Irritability|
|Impaired judgement||Risk of heart disease||Risk of type 2 diabetes|
|Tremors||Varied heart rate||Weakened immune system|
Six Lifestyle changes to help reduce or eliminate snoring
There are numerous options to help reduce or eliminate snoring.
Switch your sleeping position-Snoring is typically the loudest and most consistent for back sleepers. Sleeping flat on your back causes your bottom jaw to drop and your throat to relax, which can lessen or block your airway, leading to snoring. Consider sleeping on your side, or elevating your pillow by about four inches to make your breathing easier. You can use a folded pillow or sheet, or pillow wedge for this.
Lose Weight– For many people who are overweight, the task of losing weight is a challenge, but one that reaps numerous health benefits, one of which is the reduction or elimination of snoring.
Food allergies/Intolerance- Consider avoiding inflammatory foods, as well as any foods that you are sensitive to. The most common allergens are tree nuts, eggs, shellfish, peanuts, soy, corn, dairy, fish, wheat and gluten.
Reduce or eliminate dairy– Consuming dairy products, especially before bed can make snoring worse. Dairy can leave residual mucous in your mouth and throat. This mucous layer can prevent your nasal passages from draining and contribute to snoring.
Use Breathe Right Strips-Nasal congestion can occur for numerous reasons. These simple non medicated, drug free strips contain little bands that lift the sides of the nose and open up your nasal passages, allowing you to breathe more freely.
Sinus health-Nasal congestion can make it difficult to breath and contribute to snoring. There are many options for maintaining healthy sinuses, such as performing a nasal rinse, or using humidifiers and staying hydrated to thin mucous and allow for better drainage.
When to see a doctor
Excessive snoring can be an indication of sleep apnea. Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. If your snoring is disrupting your daily life or that of your family, you may consider talking to your health care practitioner if none of the above suggestions improve or resolve your situation.
If you are snoring and experience any of the symptoms mentioned below, you may want to schedule a visit with your practitioner.
Chest pain at night
Excessive exhaustion during the day
Gasping, snorting or choking at night
High blood pressure
Poor work or school performance
Sore throat in the morning
Snoring so loudly, you wake your partner
Witnessed breathes pauses during your sleep
Getting a good night of sleep is important for your physical and emotional wellbeing. Snoring while common, can also be an indication of additional health concerns. If snoring is a concern for you or your partner, consider trying some of the lifestyle suggestions mentioned in this article. If they are not successful for you a visit with your practitioner may be in order.