- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
Snoring: The Noisy Killer
Snoring - Major Problem
Snoring is a problem for approximately 30% of the population, and that percentage rises to 40% for middle aged people, however, even 5.6% of children snore. Twice as many men snore than women; however, after menopause that gap narrows. Typically short women who are overweight and have sinus problems are more apt to snore as compared to men. Sleep apnea is the greatest concern for a person who snores and may occur in as many as 20-40% of the adult snorers.
The problem is many people stop breathing during the night for several seconds or more, but they do not know it. They are exhausted the next day and don't realize why.
Even Dogs Snore
Some symptoms snorers have during the day are headaches, fatigue, irritability or moodiness, as they are not getting enough sleep at night. If you are snoring you are typically not dreaming, which can cause the irritability you feel the next day. There is some controversy about this in the medical community, however, you are paralyzed during your many short dreams throughout the night in most cases.
Dreaming is said to help our mental health. Snoring is often a symptom of sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when your tongue, throat and jaw relax, which results in a blocked airway and your breathing stops.
Two Types of Sleep Apnea
There are actually two types of sleep apnea:
- The first is Obstructive Sleep Apnea which is the most common and results from the relaxation of the throat muscles.
- The second type is Central Sleep Apnea occurring when your brain is not sending the proper signals to the muscles that control breathing. This second type is only responsible for about 5% of the people with sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a serious condition and can cause the following problems:
- Half of the people with sleep apnea have essential hypertension
- Sleep apnea patients are 6 times more likely to be involved in a car accident
- Heart disease, plaque build up and heart attacks (3% chance)
- Increased chance of a stroke (3%)
The National Traffic Safety Administration states drowsy driving causes 100,000 crashes annually with 1,550 fatalities annually.
Spousal Arousal Syndrome,
Snoring is also a problem for your spouse or sleep partner, particularly if sleep apnea is part of the problem. The spouse may be awakened as much as 21 times an hour, and they typically lose one hour of sleep a night.
This is called the “Spousal Arousal Syndrome,” which can cause daytime exhaustion, poor performance at work, trouble paying attention and irritability. Recent surveys indicate that 80% of these couples, where one snores, sleep in separate bedrooms. Snoring can also negatively affect your sex life.
Some causes of snoring are alcohol consumption, being overweight, sleeping on your back, and taking some medications, like antihistamines and sleeping pills. Reaching middle age causes your throat to become narrower with decreased muscle tone.
Men have narrower air passages than women, thus they are more likely to snore. Certainly nasal or sinus problems can cause men or women to snore. Being overweight is a cause of snoring as fatty tissue and poor muscle tone contribute to snoring.
As snoring is a curable problem, try various remedies to eliminate the snoring until you find the one that works. Talk to your partner, as this is not something the snorer is doing intentionally, so do not take it personally.
Tips for the snorer to try:
- Lose weight, as even a small weight loss may decrease the snoring.
- Clear your nasal passages by a Neti pot, nasal decongestants or nasal strips to ease you breathing.
- Quit smoking.
- Establish a regular sleeping pattern and stick to the plan.
- Keep the air in your bedroom moist with a humidifier, as dry air irritates the throat.
- Elevate your head 4” as this may ease your breathing.
- Surgery for snoring is considered a last resort and is only tried if everything else fails. The most common surgery reduces the amount of tissue of the soft palate and/or removing the tonsils.
Try the tennis ball trick. Put a tennis ball in a sock and pin it to the back of your pajamas so if they only snore on their back, this will keep them on their side.
Sleep Apnea & Snoring: A Remedy in a T-Shirt
Introduction To The Sleep Lab: Sleep Apnea Diagnosis
Sleep Apnea Treatment
As for sleep apnea treatment, milder cases warrant life style changes, such as losing weight, and quitting smoking. For more serious apnea, CPAP masks are used, which requires using a mask connected to a machine that delivers air pressure.
Some people do find this method cumbersome, but it is very effective. There are also different adjustable devices, which sense your airway pressure and automatically adjust the pressure. There are also oral appliances that keep your airway open. Dentists have a number of airway devices available.
As snoring is such a wide spread problem, yet curable, it is certainly worth trying various solutions until you find one that works.
As the person who is sleeping with the person that snores, listen for pauses in their breathing or choking sounds as they may have sleep apnea and need evaluation. I hope you have found this information useful if you are experiencing this problem. I hope you all sleep well tonight!
If your mate snores do they:
The copyright, renewed in 2018, for this article is owned by Pamela Oglesby. Permission to republish this article in print or online must be granted by the author in writing.