It’s the thing of comedy; a hapless person falls asleep and snores loudly enough to rattle the shutters. Everyone laughs. The sleeper wakes up and wonders what the ruckus is all about. Funny, right? It’s not if you are a person who suffers from snoring or a person who sleeps with a snoring partner.
Snoring negatively impacts relationships because the individual who is being kept awake by his or her snoring partner is not getting the sleep necessary to function. The person who is snoring is not sleeping well either. It’s been found that partners that have one snorer have significantly worse relationships than couples that are non-snorers.
Snoring is not an innocent health issue to be ignored. It can have profound impact on some individuals and can lead to other sleep problems and even death. A study by the Journal of Sleep found that out of 12,000 snorers, there is a 34% increase in heart attacks and a 67% increase in strokes.
What can be done?
Treatments for snoring can’t be undertaken until the person who is snoring is made aware of it and looks for professional help and treatment. Usually it is a partner who makes the snorer aware of the snoring problem. Snoring, which leads to sleep apnea, is one of the most commonly diagnosed sleep disorders that leaves more than 18 million adults struggling to catch their breath at night.
Sleep apnea is a dangerous disorder that occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat collapse, blocking the airway and causing a person to choke and gasp for air. This can happen as little as a few times a night to more than a 100 times per hour! This breathing pause can last a few seconds to even a few minutes. People with sleep apnea often complain of its symptoms but do not recognize that they have the disorder. Sleep apnea robs people of the deeper stages of sleep required for their bodies to restore itself. They wake feeling tired every day.
Because of the disruption to our partners sleep we often feel we should make the effort to look for treatments for snoring and sleep apnea. The first step to a diagnosis of sleep apnea and to address snoring is by talking with your doctor or undergoing a sleep study. Once the sleep study is complete the sleep professional will discuss your options.
There are several ways to address snoring and sleep apnea, including:
- Nasal sprays – snoring could be brought about by allergies. Individuals can react to airborne allergens such as pollen, fresh cut grass, dry, musty air or pet dander. Snoring by those who suffer allergies is usually due to nasal congestion. To deal with apnea caused by allergies, a doctor can prescribe nasal sprays that can greatly reduce the effects and lead to a decrease in snoring.
- Surgical methods – there are several types of surgeries that can be undertaken to address snoring in the most extreme cases.
- Nasal strips and drops – Over the counter nasal strips and drops can also be used to open the nasal airways. Nasal drops reduce nasal secretions, effectively widening the nasal passages.
- Cut back on alcohol and nicotine – Smoking is a stimulant that can cause insomnia. Alcohol relaxes the muscles in the back of the throat and can cause an individual to snore.
- Being overweight – People who are overweight have an increased risk of sleep apnea. Losing weight can help a person sleep more soundly.
- Another way to address sleep apnea is through the use of a CPAP device which helps open the airways and leads to a more productive night’s sleep.
Ask your partner if you are keeping him or her awake with your snoring. If you are, take steps to talk to your doctor or undergo a sleep study. Your health and your partner will thank you!
Since 2002, Valley Sleep Center, accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, has provided Arizona with diagnostic sleep disorder testing in a home-like atmosphere, ensuring a comfortable, relaxing experience for patients. Their Board Certified Sleep Medicine Specialists consist of experienced and knowledgeable physicians who provide expert advice across a multitude of sleep related disorders including insomnia, sleep apnea, snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, hypertension, sleepwalking, and pediatric sleep problems. They accept most insurance plans as well as Medicare. For more information contact Lauri Leadley at 480-830-3900; http://www.valleysleepcenter.com