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Stop Snoring and Sleep Better -- No Surgery, No Devices
This Snoring Has To Stop!
Every night throughout North America (and other parts of the world as well, I'm guessing), sleep partners are groggily snarling at, jabbing, and turning a snorer. Nobody in this scenario has a great, restful sleep. This article looks at several "alternative methods" for the possibility of overcoming snoring and getting a healthy, restful sleep without the need for surgery or devices such as the CPAP machine. See your trusted physician/health care provider before trying any of the following in lieu of, or in addition, to other orthodox procedures.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, disrupted sleep patterns affect three-quarters of all adults who snore. Over time both the snorer and partner are likely to register serious sleep debt that creates a cycle of physical, emotional, and mental health issues. The Canadian Society of Otolaryngology reports that severe snoring may result in sleep apnea.
The new term, "Spousal Arousal," has everything to do with being jerked awake by your partner's loud snoring and nothing to do with passionate foreplay. Dr. Jordan S. Josephson, MD states “Snoring is the #1 medical cause of divorce as well as breaking up cohabitational relationships.” This snoring has to stop!
Snorers and their partners have been feverishly leafing through the Internet looking for answers. We know that obstructed airways play a huge role in chronic snoring and sleep apnea. If you sit with the light behind you and have your snorer partner sit next to you and sing or say "ahhh," you can see the uvula do its little workout, and the saggy flesh on either or both sides. The uvula itself might be droopy as well. The flabby tissue is what rolls across the opening to the throat when the snorer is relaxed and sleeping. This particular tissue is not the only possible airway obstruction: overgrown adenoids, tonsils, nasal polyps, and other tumors (growths), as well as deformation of the airway bony structures can get in the way of smooth breathing.
And there are other factors that can contribute to snoring such as obesity, allergies, congestion from a cold or sinus infection, poor posture in bed, dry air, asthma, and neurological dysfunctions, some related to alcohol, other drugs or medications. If you or your partner are concerned about cessation of breathing (sleep apnea) being part of the mix, go directly to your physician for counsel and testing before going ahead with an alternative regimen. In fact, please see your physician about snoring and any general sleep disturbance that is affecting your quality of life.
Sleep Clinics are popping up everywhere as well. There is really no substitution for a good diagnostician and personal, skilled professional attention and treatment. What you find here is a sort of "exercise plan" and "supplementary" suggestions to go along with a trained professional's care and recommendations.
Snoring Detox - The Nutritional Part
If you are really serious about trying everything short of surgery, devices and the CPAP machine to stop snoring you will be happy to remove the following from your lifestyle for at least an experimental period of time (14 to 30 days is a good test period):
- any foods you already know create "issues" for you when you eat them
- all dairy products (including milk, cheese, ice-cream, and foods that have dairy as an ingredient)
- alcohol (including beer, wine, and highly sugared foods that create alcohol when digesting)
- heavy, high fat meals-- your last meal of the day should be a light one eaten four hours before you go to bed and snacking should be avoided
- coffee and other caffeinated drinks and foods
During the test period, add in the following:
- enough water to fully hydrate yourself (drink up until about 6pm if you are worried about being up all night in the bathroom)-- google and read the free online .pdf "Your Body's Many Cries For Water," for more important details on this subject of hydration
- your choice of ripe, organic, juicy fruits
- green juices and green smoothies
- a handful of raw nuts every day
- raw salads and veggie sticks
- herbal teas such as chamomile and mint
Keep a journal or write in a blog about your nutritional detox. Write down, in as much detail as possible, what you ate and when. How do you feel-- how is your digestion? How did you sleep after taking X out of your diet? Please don't re-introduce known allergens. Highlight or star significant changes in mood, sleep patterns, snoring, energy levels, new allergic reactions, and other areas that strike you as important. Some folks get positive feedback from their bed partner early on-- that's an important cue!
Don't try to implement everything on the first day, but do attempt to eliminate the no-nos as soon as possible. Quite often it is not what we start eating/drinking that makes the most significant difference to our health, but what toxic items we remove from our diet.
Lose the Weight
Most people have been asked by their doctors to "lose the weight" and many of us have found that difficult, even with a high-density/low-fat/low-calorie diet and a gym membership. So, what to do?
First of all, don't lose heart! For the "test period" continue to remove and add in the foods in the capsule above. If the cravings and hunger wear you down, remember to eat extra of the fresh, ripe fruits and veggies, and drink another glass of water, have another cup of herbal tea. DON'T count calories. Just cut out the foods that are on the no-no list and add in more foods on the other list. This is you "testing" you for a period of time that you have determined.
Second, build in some exercise (you knew that was coming, right?). Do your research and choose physical activities that will work for you over your 'test period'. If you are an extroverted people-person, you might want to try out a team sport. Do some regular exercise every day. Check in with your health care provider before you start an exercise program.
Third, keep swigging back that pure water! Don't overdo that, though! Do your research about what "overdoing water consumption means and what the results are" if you don't know.
Learn about "emotional eating" and if you find that you run for the comfort foods when you are in a crisis or bored, incorporate some simple stress management into your day... enroll in a Yoga class, write "relaxation" into your day's schedule, pick up tips from the internet (Pinterest is a good source), and/or from friends who have made changes around stress in their lives.
Go to bed at a specific time each night-- keep that routine sacred throughout the 'test period' at least. There is a saying that 2 hours sleep before midnight is equivalent to 4 hours after midnight. Getting enough sleep is often helpful with weight management.
Get outside in the fresh air, in nature if possible, and do some breathing exercises. Regular deep breathing exercises the diaphragm and other important elements of the breathing apparatus. Like exercise, proper breathing has a restorative role in weight management.
You've Tried Everything and Can't Lose Weight?
There are many theories about why it is that obesity has become epidemic these days and that even people eating healthy foods, exercising and dealing with stress are unable to lose the spare tire around their middles. For people with snoring problems, the fat around the throat and constricting the whole breathing system is worrisome.
- It may help to have your thyroid checked by an integrative or complementary physician (a health care professional who is a practicing MD who has also studied, and implements learnings from, the field of alternative medicine). Dr. David Brownstein, author of several books on Thyroid problems and alternative solutions for healing the thyroid, cites research that shows that the dysfunctional thyroid can account for the inability to lose weight. He suggests that the usual thyroid tests do not always show up thyroid disease, and that other ("alternative") diagnostics are useful. Two signs of critical thyroid health are an enlarged tongue with grooves along the sides and eyebrows that have stopped growing hairs beyond a certain point. The usual "synthetic thyroxin" prescription might, in Brownstein's opinion, contribute to a worsening of thyroid symptoms overtime instead of healing. This of course can mean that weight problems may only lessen for a while and then will likely return. The person with snoring problems related to fat obstructions in the breathing area will be unlikely to overcome the problem without surgery, devices and/or a CPAP machine. And because our body functions as a system containing many systems, a healthy thyroid is a boon for general improved health.
- Getting checked for other impediments to losing weight is also a good idea. If you are being treated for various health conditions with pharmaceutical drugs, some of these medications will also have weight gain as a 'side effect'.
Singing Away Snoring
In this brief youtube clip you can hear about the effects of having implemented a set of sung sounds at periodic times throughout the day. The video's narrators are a singer and her friend who snored. He implemented a couple of simple singing techniques and toned his throat and palate in only three months (with no devices or surgery).
Throat, Palate, Tongue Exercises
Here is a demo of 2 minutes of throat, palate and tongue exercises, some with throat sound, that come from an article in American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine (AJRCCM) 2009; volume 179, pages 962-966. . A person could sit in front of their own computer for 2 minutes during the course of the day and do these exercises. Easy-peasy! http://ajrccm.atsjournals.org/cgi/con...
Snoreless Down Under?
This 3 1/2 minute video from the BBC shows how playing a didgeridoo can work-out the throat muscles and exercise the breathing system. An interviewed man from Switzerland stated that he went from snoring and 27 sleep apneas an hour to no snoring, no apnea in 5- 6 months.