There cannot be many people who are not familiar with snoring sleep disorder. Even if you do not snore yourself, you have probably shared a room or bed with someone who does.
Although snoring is often the subject of many jokes, it can in reality be a serious medical condition which in turn can indicate underlying health problems.
Snoring can take its toll on your overall health as well as the quality and quantity of you and your sleeping partner’s sleep.
Many people mistakenly make no distinction between snoring and sleep apnea.
Regular, mild snoring occurs when a person experiences some sort of congestion or airway obstruction, resulting in loud breathing sounds during sleep. Most of the time, snoring is a normal phenomenon that occurs when a person is experiencing congestion, enlarged adenoids or tonsils, or when a person abuses alcohol or sedatives.
Mild snoring can usually be alleviated by avoiding alcohol consumption, the use of sedatives, or by sleeping on one’s back. Indeed, most people who are experiencing mild snoring can find relief simply by turning to sleep on their sides.
If snoring is caused by congestion caused by a cold, flu, or sinus infection, symptoms will normally subside as the illness gradually passes.
Severe snoring, which can indicate more serious health problems, occurs when a person experiences regular, chronic snoring.
When a person is experiencing severe snoring, they will snore no matter what sleeping position they take. If you tend to awake yourself or your sleeping partner with your snoring, chances are that your snoring is more severe than mild.
Also, if you find yourself experiencing fitful sleep, and wake feeling fatigued even after several hours of sleep, you should consult your doctor. You may need to be observed at a sleeping clinic to find out the degree and possible causes of your snoring.
Sleep apnea is often confused with snoring since it produces similar sounds. The basic distinction is that snoring is simply a sound a person makes while sleeping, while sleep apnea causes a person to stop breathing several times during the night.
Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that occurs when a person experiences an obstruction in breathing, causing a pause of up to ten seconds in breathing. These pauses of breath can occur up to 30 times during the course of one night’s sleep! When a person suffers from sleep apnea, they will wake several times a night to regain breath. Many times, people are not aware that they suffer from sleep apnea, and only become aware of it when their sleep partner observes the symptoms. In rare cases, sleep apnea left untreated can prove fatal.
Social Aspect of Snoring
As well as being a medical concern, snoring can also take quite a social toll. A person who snores may keep their sleep partner awake and cause their quality of sleep to decline. The snorers sleep partner may also worry about their partner’s health, especially if they also suffer from sleep apnea.
Both the snorer and their sleeping partner may experience sleep deprivation and insomnia that in turn leads to irritability, daytime fatigue, restlessness, and overall lack of energy and productivity. In serious cases, a person’s snoring may even drive their sleeping partner out of the bedroom, and into the respite of a quieter room.
Health Risks of Snoring
Excessive or chronic snoring can be indicative of more serious medical problems. Not only can snoring cause serious sleep deprivation, but it has also been linked to various health problems such as obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and a greater chance of getting a stroke.
The most obvious health risks of snoring include increased daytime fatigue and sleepiness, low energy, inability to think clearly, and a compromised immune system that is more susceptible to getting colds, flu and other illnesses.
Because snoring reduces the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain, it may also exacerbate a person’s vulnerability to developing adult-onset diabetes, hypertension, stroke, and heart disease.
The best thing you can do to prevent snoring is to make proactive lifestyle adjustments.
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Get regular exercise
- Avoid smoking
- Avoid overuse of alcohol or sleeping pills
- Avoid dairy products or other difficult to digest foods before bedtime
Many people can greatly reduce the occurrence of snoring simply by sleeping on their sides, and sleeping without a pillow, or at least a flatter pillow.