Could your snoring be putting your life at risk? Snoring and sleep should not go together. You might be surprised to learn about the scary consequences of snoring and how it could be linked to serious health problems. From sleep apnea to heart disease, the dangers of ignoring your snoring could be more severe than you think. But don't fret, we've got you covered with simple solutions to help you stop snoring and get the good night's sleep you deserve. Don't wait until it's too late - read on and take control of your health now!
What causes snoring?
During sleep, the muscles in the back of the throat relax, and the tongue, as well as the soft tissues in the throat, can slide back and partially obstruct the airway. This blockage leads to vibration in the surrounding tissues, which causes the sound of snoring.
Is Snoring Dangerous?
We all know that snoring can be annoying, but is it actually dangerous? The short answer is yes.
Even occasional snoring and sleep will interrupt natural sleep cycles leading to many health problems. If your snoring is habitual then that can be a sign of sleep apnea, a sleep disorder that can have serious health consequences.
According to the American Heart Association, sleep apnea is associated with a higher risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and other cardiovascular problems. It can also lead to daytime sleepiness, fatigue, and decreased quality of life.
What is the difference between snoring and sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea snoring is often louder and more irregular than typical snoring. It may include loud snorting or choking sounds, and pauses in breathing that can last for several seconds. These pauses may be followed by gasping or choking sounds as the person resumes breathing.
Sleep apnea snoring is often more disruptive and can cause the person to wake up feeling tired or with a headache. It is important to seek medical advice if sleep apnea is suspected, as it can lead to serious health problems if left untreated. (source: Sleep Foundation - Sleep Apnea).
How Common is Snoring?
Snoring and sleep is more common than you might think, with about 90 million adults in the United States alone snoring regularly. That's almost 40% of all adults! But just how common is snoring? According to research from Johns Hopkins Medicine, about half of all men and a quarter of women snore on a regular basis. So if you're a snorer, you're definitely not alone.
Who is more likely to snore?
- Observed sleep apnea episodes (breathing pauses during sleep)
- Excessive daytime drowsiness
- Challenges with focus and attention
- Headaches upon waking up in the morning
- Sore throat upon waking up in the morning
- Restless sleep
- Nighttime gasping or choking
- Elevated blood pressure
- Nighttime chest pain
- Disruptive snoring that affects partner's sleep
- In children, poor academic performance, behavioral issues, or lack of focus in school.
How do I know if I snore if I sleep alone?
According to a study published in Sleep Medicine Reviews, about 30% of people who snore have no idea that they do. In this article, Do You Live Alone? Here's How to Know If You're Snoring at Night we do a deep dive on several strategies to identify if you are affected by snoring and sleep.
When should you see a doctor?
If you're snoring and have any of the symptoms mentioned earlier, it's a good idea to see a doctor. These signs could mean you have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
If you have a child who snores, it's important to talk to their pediatrician. Even kids can get OSA! Problems with their tonsils, nose, throat, or being overweight can cause the airway to get blocked during sleep, leading to OSA. So it's better to get it checked out by a doctor sooner rather than later.
How to prepare for your Doctor's Appointment:
Write down your symptoms - This can help ensure you get the proper diagnosis.
Make a list of all of your medications - it is possible some of them are affecting your snoring and sleep quality.
Write down all the questions you might have for your doctor - It is easy to forget everything you might want to ask.
First, your doctor will ask you some questions about your snoring, like how often it happens and how bad it is. They may also ask if you have other symptoms, like feeling tired during the day or having trouble concentrating.
Your doctor might also use a small camera to look inside your nose and throat to see if there's anything blocking your airway. Or, they might use imaging tests like an MRI or CT scan to get a better look at your airway and see if there are any problems there.
To get a more accurate diagnosis of snoring and sleep, your doctor might suggest a sleep study. During a sleep study, you'll spend a night at a special clinic where you'll be hooked up to machines that measure things like your breathing, oxygen and heart rate while you sleep. This can help your doctor figure out if you have a sleep disorder like sleep apnea.
If you snore frequently, you may be wondering what treatments are available to help you stop snoring and sleep better at night. There are several options to consider, ranging from oral appliances to lifestyle changes. In this section, we'll explore some of the most common treatments for snoring. For a detailed article with many more tips please find our Ultimate Guide to Stop Snoring.
Oral appliances are devices that you wear in your mouth while you sleep to help keep your airway open. These devices can help reduce snoring by repositioning your jaw or tongue, or by holding your tongue in place. Some common types of oral appliances include tongue retaining devices, mandibular advancement devices, and palatal lift devices. If you're considering an oral appliance, it's important to talk to your dentist or doctor to find the right one for you.
Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)
Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is a treatment that uses a machine to deliver air pressure through a mask while you sleep. The air pressure helps keep your airway open, which can reduce or eliminate snoring. CPAP is a common treatment for sleep apnea, but it can also be used to treat snoring. However, it can be difficult to adjust to wearing a mask while you sleep, and some people find it uncomfortable.
Upper Airway Surgery
If your snoring is caused by a structural problem in your airway, such as enlarged tonsils or a deviated septum, surgery may be an option. Upper airway surgery can help open up your airway and reduce snoring. However, surgery is typically only recommended if other treatments have been unsuccessful, and it carries some risks and potential complications.
Lifestyle and Home Remedies
In addition to medical treatments, there are several lifestyle changes and home remedies that can help you stop snoring and sleep better at night.
- Losing weight if you are overweight or obese
- Sleeping on your side instead of your back
- Elevating the head of your bed
- Avoiding alcohol and sedatives before bedtime
- Quitting smoking
Here are our editor's top picks for how to stop snoring naturally. It's important to remember that snoring can sometimes be a sign of sleep apnea, a serious condition where you stop breathing during sleep. If you're feeling really tired during the day or have other symptoms, talk to your doctor. But with a little effort, you can stop snoring and sleep better!
Prevention: Stop Snoring and Sleep Better!
If you want to stop snoring and sleep better, prevention is key. Did you know that what you eat can affect your snoring? Eating a lot of processed foods, dairy, or spicy foods can cause inflammation in your airways and make you more likely to snore. Instead, try eating more fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins like chicken or fish. For more information on how nutrition can affect your sleep, check out this article on the powerful connection between nutrition and sleep.
Another way to prevent snoring is to use a humidifier or vaporizer in your bedroom. This will keep the air moist and prevent your airways from drying out. But which one is better for your sleep? Find out in this article that compares humidifiers and vaporizers and discusses their benefits.
Lastly, creating a relaxing bedtime routine can help you sleep better and prevent snoring. Try reading a book, taking a warm bath, or doing some gentle stretches before bed. For more tips on creating your perfect sleep environment, check out this expert guide that outlines 10 steps to follow for a better night's sleep. With these simple steps and helpful resources, you can say goodbye to snoring and hello to restful sleep!
American Heart Association. (2021, March 17). Sleep and heart health. Retrieved from https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/sleep-disorders/sleep-and-heart-health
American Sleep Association. (2021). Sleep Apnea. Sleep Foundation. Retrieved from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-apnea
Website: Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2023).
Access Date: May 13, 2023.