The Impact of Snoring on Healthy Sleep
Snoring can be a nuisance that interrupts the sleep of yourself and your partner. But it may also indicate a serious health condition like sleep apnea, which should not go untreated.
What Causes That Annoying Snore?
Snoring occurs when air has trouble moving smoothly through the throat and nose. The tissues in the throat vibrate, creating that familiar snoring sound. It often worsens when sleeping on the back, which allows the tongue and throat tissues to collapse backwards.
Several factors can obstruct breathing and lead to snoring:
- Enlarged tissues like the uvula, tonsils, or adenoids
- Deviated nasal septum
- Sinus congestion or nasal polyps
- Being overweight or obese
- Natural aging that thickens throat tissues
- Alcohol consumption before bedtime
- Sleeping pills or sedatives
For some, an occasional nightly snore is normal. But for many, it becomes a chronic issue that demands medical attention.
When Snoring Indicates Sleep Apnea
Loud and frequent snoring may be a red flag for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This serious disorder causes breathing to stop and start repeatedly through the night. The breathing interruptions reduce oxygen levels and disrupt natural sleep cycles.
Symptoms of OSA beyond snoring can include:
- Morning headaches
- Excessive daytime fatigue
- Difficulty concentrating
- Weight gain
- High blood pressure
Left untreated, sleep apnea increases risks for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity and car accidents due to daytime drowsiness.
Seeking Solutions For Healthy Sleep
If snoring is affecting sleep quality for you or a partner, consult a doctor. You may be referred to a sleep specialist for an evaluation.
Lifestyle changes like losing weight, avoiding alcohol, and sleeping on your side can help reduce snoring. Other treatment options include:
- CPAP machine to improve breathing
- Oral appliances such as a mandibular advancement device
- Surgery to remove obstructions like adenoids
- Nasal strips or nasal dilators to open airways
The right solutions combined with proper sleep hygiene can help you achieve restful nights free of disruptive snoring. Addressing snoring can improve health, concentration and quality of life.