Have you been losing sleep because of your partner’s snoring? Does the irritating sound turn your room into a snorechestra at night? If so, you are not alone. In fact, about 90 million people in the United States are regular snorers.
If your partner or loved one keeps snoring at night, it’s important to talk to them about it. And to make your conversation more meaningful, here’s everything you need to know – from snoring causes and effects to its available treatments.
What is snoring?
Snoring is noisy breathing while sleeping. It’s a common condition among all ages but happens more often in men. Not only can it be a nuisance, but it can also indicate a serious health condition especially to people who are overweight. When someone snores often and very loudly, it can be a symptom of a health problem such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
Not all who snore, however, have OSA. But if snoring is accompanied by restless sleep, gasping at night, chest pain, sore throat, breathing pauses, or high blood pressure, it’s best to see a doctor for further examination and evaluation.
What are the causes and effects of snoring?
Snoring can be caused by a lot of factors, such as the mouth anatomy, alcohol consumption, nasal problems, sleep deprivation, and sleep position. Having long soft palates can narrow the airways; and when they vibrate and bump against one another, snoring occurs.
Moreover, drinking alcohol can make the tongue and throat muscles relax too much. It decreases the natural defenses against airway obstruction. Throat relaxation is likewise caused by sleep deprivation.
Sleeping on the back also causes and worsens snoring. The effect of gravity on the body compresses the airways.
Other risk factors that contribute to a higher risk of snoring include age, obesity, nasal problems, and heredity.
Chances are you already know that frequent loud, consistent snoring isn’t good for your partner. Yet, he or she is probably still not doing anything about it. And if left untreated, it can lead to anxiety, daytime drowsiness, cardiovascular disease, and relationship problems.
How to treat snoring?
Now that you know the snoring causes and effects, it’s time to learn what you can do about it and how to help your partner treat it.
The snoring treatment depends on the nature and severity of snoring as well as the types of problems it causes. If it’s infrequent, treatment may not be necessary. But if it happens often, several home remedies can treat it. These include the following:
- Clearing nasal passages. If your partner has been suffering from a stuffy nose or any sinus problem, let him or her use a nasal decongestant to help her or him breathe easier while sleeping.
- Losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight. Losing weight can reduce the fatty tissues on the back of the throat; thus, preventing one to snore.
- Limiting the consumption of alcohol. Alcohol triggers snoring so it’s best to avoid it especially four to five hours before sleeping.
- Sleeping on the side, not on the back. Sleeping on the side, either left or right, promotes proper airflow and stable breathing and eventually reduces snoring.
- Using an anti-snoring mouth device. As a snoring treatment, it can help hold the tongue in a stable position and open the airway while sleeping.
But if symptoms persist despite trying a snoring treatment, consulting a doctor is the best option for your partner.