Has your spouse compared the sounds you make when you sleep to a chainsaw? If so, here’s the latest buzz: you are not alone. About half of all Americans – some 45 percent – snore on occasion, and one out of five residents of Evans and across the country is a habitual snorer.
Before your bed partner complains about stuffing their ears full of cotton balls in order to get a good night’s sleep once the lights go out, rest assured: help is available.
Who Snores, and Why?
Snoring affects people of both sexes and all ages, though it is most common in people who share the following traits:
- Overweight individuals
- People aged 40+
While it may seem harmless enough, snoring is no laughing matter. It can lead to relationship woes that make fighting over the remote control seem tame in comparison.
Not only is it bad for your marriage; snoring robs you (and your significant other) of sleep, causing daytime fatigue, irritability, confusion, and memory problems.
Worse, snoring is often an indication of sleep apnea, a chronic sleep disorder that increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes, not to mention automobile accidents caused by drivers who fall asleep at the wheel. Not to sound dramatic, but snoring can literally kill you.
How to Combat Snoring
Not to fear: we’ve got some A+ remedies for uninterrupted zzz’s.
The following options may all help reduce your snoring; many of them are natural remedies or lifestyle changes.
- Change your sleep position. Snoring occurs when the tongue and throat tissues collapse during sleep, blocking the airway. This is most likely to occur when you sleep on your back, so try sleeping on your side instead. If you tend to roll over automatically in the middle of the night, try taping a tennis ball to the back of your pajamas to prevent this. Also try elevating the head of the bed a few inches or propping yourself up with pillows.
- Lose weight. Most chronic snorers are overweight or obese. Excess fat around the neck causes the airway to narrow and makes you more prone to snoring. Losing just 10 percent of your overall body weight can make a huge difference.
- Avoid alcohol before bedtime. An after-work glass of wine can be soothing after a stressful day but limit your consumption to earlier in the evening – and stick to a single glass. Alcohol acts as a muscle relaxer, allowing tissue and muscles in the back of the throat to sag. This makes snoring more likely.
- Quit smoking. Smoking is hazardous to your health in numerous ways already; it can also lead to snoring. Tobacco smoke irritates the membranes of the nose and throat, causing blocked airways and an increased risk of snoring.
- Maintain a regular sleep routine. Stick to a regular sleep schedule when possible, aiming for the same bedtime every night – even on weekends. An odd schedule may result in too little sleep, which leads to excess tiredness. Sleeping harder the next night leads to relaxed muscles and, in turn, snoring.
- Keep your nasal passages open. A stuffy nose prevents air from moving freely, causing snoring. To combat this, take a hot shower before bed or rinse your nasal passages with a saline solution or Neti pot. Over-the-counter nasal strips can help you breathe more easily at night.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids to keep your throat and palate moist.
- Use a humidifier at night. If you live in a dry climate, you may be prone to irritation of the membranes in your nose and throat. Try using a humidifier to moisten the air and keep your passages lubricated.
Need more tips on eliminating snoring in your household? Contact your Evans ear, nose, and throat specialist today for advice!