If your bed partner’s snoring sounds like a freight train, should you be concerned?
Snoring isn’t as uncommon as you think! Roughly 50% of people snore, with 25% snoring regularly.While most find snoring funny or annoying, it can indicate some serious health concerns. That’s why it’s essential to know the common causes of snoring, so you can do something about it if needed.
First Of All, So Why Do We Snore?
The most basic definition of snoring is the noise made by turbulent airflow while asleep. So why don’t we snore when we are awake? You see, when you sleep, the muscles in your throat relax, and since your lungs stay the same size, you have to get the same air volume through a smaller space. When air flows past your relaxed throat tissues, it causes vibrations, which is the snoring sound.
Snoring can be caused by the anatomy of your mouth, throat, and sinuses. But other culprits behind the roar include having a cold, allergies, polyps in the nose, deviated septum, alcohol consumption, or sleeping on your back. Snoring is very common amongst middle-aged or older men and postmenopausal women. Those who are overweight and elderly also tend to snore regularly at night. Pregnant women also have a tendency to snore, especially towards the end of their pregnancy, as hormone surges can cause nose tissues to swell.
When To Get Concerned About Snoring
Snoring may be linked with a sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, but if you experience paused breathing during sleep, restless sleep, chest pain, gasping or choking at night, excessive daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, or memory problems, it’s best to contact your health care provider.
Another sign you might need help with your snoring is if it begins to interfere with the quantity and quality of your sleep. Sleep is a vital part of good health, both physical and mental. Getting enough sleep helps the body recover from illness and injury, and not getting enough sleep over a period of time is linked to health problems, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. So if you are waking up feeling beyond tired and feeling like you decline in function more and more as time goes on, be sure to speak to your healthcare provider.
So, What Can You Do About Snoring?
The good news is snoring can be stopped with a few specific lifestyle changes.
- sleeping on your side
- get an adjustable bed frame that can lift your head a little while you sleep
- maintain a healthy weight
- cut down on alcohol, especially before bed
- try different sleeping positions
- prop yourself up with pillows
- Avoid eating 1-2 hours before going to sleep
- try anti-snoring devices like nasal strips and special mouthpieces
If none of the tips above seem to help or your snoring gets louder or more frequent, speak with your healthcare provider about the next steps and setting up an individual treatment plan for you.
Don’t Let Troublesome Snoring Go On!
Since snoring can have negative health consequences, don’t just laugh it off. If you or your partner is a chronic snorer, find out if it’s a sign of a more serious medical condition and get the help you need to get back to restful sleep.