Snoring is often seen as something almost humorous – and as something which is more of a concern for its affect on your partner or the friend you’re sharing a hotel room with. It is more common in overweight people and men (men have narrower airways than women).
However, snoring can be a sign of something more serious (not to mention the health risks to your partner from sleep deprivation). If you snore, you should consider getting yourself checked out. Here are some reasons why:
- Snoring can be associated with obstructive sleep apnea. This causes an interruption of breathing during sleep and strain on the heart. Also, people with sleep apnea sleep poorly and wake frequently, resulting in drowsiness the next day which can cause problems, including unsafe driving. Sleep apnea has also been linked to higher risks of stroke, heart disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease and depression. In some people it is associated with chronic headaches that occur only in the morning.
- If you do not normally snore, then snoring can be a sign of a sinus infection or the onset of allergies. Although most sinus infections resolve without treatment, it’s often best to get looked at, just in case.
- Snoring alone is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular problems, although it is unclear whether snoring causes the problems or the reverse.
- Even if your snoring is not affecting you, it can cause irritability, depression and a higher risk of accidents for your partner.
- Snoring in the third trimester of pregnancy is associated with fetal complications, perhaps because of interrupted sleep. The connection is not clear yet, but women who start to snore when the baby gets larger should always talk to their ob-gyn or doctor.>/li>
Light snoring may not be a concern. Snoring can, for example, be caused by allergies, a cold, sleeping on your back or alcohol consumption close to bedtime. If you snore because of allergies, then a change in the ways you treat your allergies could be in order. Changing to a more hypoallergenic mattress, such as one of our My Green Mattress beds, could also greatly help. Some medications, including Valium and sleeping pills can also increase snoring. However, if you snore heavily, snore in any sleep position, or if your partner notices you stop breathing during the night you should get a referral to a sleep specialist.
Snoring can be treated with lifestyle changes in some instances – for example, some people stop snoring if they use a thicker pillow or avoid sleeping in certain positions. A humidifier in the bedroom can also be helpful, as can avoiding alcohol within an hour or two of bedtime. If these fail, then there are a variety of medical interventions for sleep apnea and heavy snoring. A CPAP machine is one of the most common – this blows pressurized air into your mouth and nose to prevent your airway from becoming obstructed. Always consult your physician with regard to the severity of your condition and possible treatment options.
Snoring is a health concern for both you and anyone who shares a bed (or even a room) with you. So, consider getting yourself checked out – in most cases there is something a doctor or sleep specialist can do to give you both a quiet night.