DOES YOUR PARTNER SNORE?
Snoring occurs more as we age. At the time in our lives when we need to be well-rested to deal with all of life’s issues, we may be exhausted and cranky due to our partner’s snoring – or our own. Snoring is not just annoying – it is potentially dangerous. We’re here to help you get a good night’s sleep.
THE REASONS PEOPLE SNORE
First – what is snoring? According to the Mayo Clinic, it is the “hoarse or harsh sound that occurs when your breathing is partially obstructed in some way while you're sleeping.” If your partner snores, you know exactly what it sounds like. Men are more prone to snoring than women, and older people are more prone to snore than young people. The reasons people snore are myriad.
HERE ARE THE MOST COMMON REASONS
ACCORDING TO THE MAYO CLINIC, THE SYMPTOMS OF SLEEP APNEA ARE:
- Overweight. When people are heavy, their mouth anatomy changes as extra tissue appears in the throat as well as in other places in the body. This excess tissue can block or narrow the airway and cause snoring.
- Alcohol consumption. When someone drinks (excessively) before bedtime, the throat muscles can relax and lead to snoring.
- Back sleepers. When someone sleeps on their back, the mouth can drop open and constrict the back of the throat.
- Nasal problems. Those with allergies, and those who are suffering from congestion due to a cold, may breathe through their mouths. When the mouth is open and the jaw drops back, snoring can occur.
- Obstructive sleep apnea. This is a sleep disorder that can be life-threatening if left untreated.
If you recognize one or more of these symptoms, please see your doctor or participate in a sleep study. If your situation isn’t awful/horrible/desperate, you can try a number of home remedies that work for many people.
- Noise during sleep
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Morning headaches
- Sore throat
- Restless sleep
- Gasping or choking at night
- High blood pressure
- Chest pain at night
- Your snoring is so loud it's disrupting your partner's sleep
- You wake up choking or gasping
HOW TO STOP SNORING
- Lose weight.
- Elevate the head of your bed by four inches
- Sleep on your side and place a pillow near your back to prevent rolling over
- Nasal breathing strips
- Avoid alcohol before bedtime
- Decongestant to alleviate nasal congestion
- Don’t take sleeping pills
- Avoid getting over-tired
TREATMENT FOR SLEEP APNEA
For those who are diagnosed with sleep apnea, there are a few remedies available.
While snoring can be irritating, sleep apnea can be dangerous and carries an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart conditions and stroke.
- Dental device. A dental appliance is like a hockey mouth guard that you wear while sleeping. It holds the lower jaw forward, which keeps the airway open. For best success, a dentist should be consulted for a properly fitting device.
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). A CPAP (SEE-pap) is a device which fits over the mouth and nose, and is attached to a pump which maintains positive air pressure in your airway. A CPAP works really well, although some people have trouble tolerating the face covering aspect of the device. It requires sleeping next to an electrical outlet, although battery operated CPAPs are available for those who like to camp. During a sleep study, the amount of air pressure needed will be calibrated to the individual patient.
- Surgery. Although this is not typically the first option chosen, it has provided relief for some. There are four types of surgery:
- Palatal implants are done when a doctor injects braided strands of polyester filament into the soft palate to stiffen it and reduce snoring.
- Traditional surgery (uvulopalatopharyngoplasty or UPPP) is when the surgeon tightens and trims excess tissues from the throat.
- Laser surgery (laser-assisted uvulopalatopharyngoplasty or LAUPPP) involves using a small hand-held laser beam to shorten the soft palate and remove the uvula.
- Radiofrequency tissue ablation (somnoplasty) is an outpatient procedure in which a doctor uses a low-intensity radiofrequency signal to shrink tissue in the soft palate to help reduce snoring.
Try the home remedies, and consult a doctor if the home fixes don’t fix the snoring. We all need our ZZZZZs – both the snorers and the snorees.