Most people don't take what is causing your snoring seriously. But maybe they should. Those nocturnal snorts, whistles and wheezes can actually cause serious problems - for your health and your relationships if your snoring is keeping others awake at night.
Snoring affects a surprisingly large number of people. The National Sleep Foundation estimates that nearly one in three Americans snores occasionally and 37 million are habitual snorers.
Watching Husband Snore
Primary snoring is a pretty common entity, probably 40 percent of males between 30 and 60 years old, and probably 30 percent of women in that age group snore.
Sometimes, what is causing this is a sign of a more serious problem - obstructive sleep apnea. In sleep apnea people actually stop breathing for several seconds. This disorder can contribute to high blood pressure and even cause stroke, according to the National Institute of Health.
But, it can be hard for the average person to distinguish between heavy snoring and apnea. For that reason, anyone who habitually snores should see their doctor or a sleep specialist to determine if the problem is sleep apnea, rather than ordinary snoring.
For most people, snoring doesn't pose a health risk, although the NSF said snoring can disrupt your sleep to the point where you may experience headaches, fatigue and concentration problems during the day. For your partner, however, their lack of sleep - called environmental insomnia - can cause these symptoms and more.
Snoring occurs when the airway becomes partially blocked. The noise originates in the back of the mouth where the tongue, uvula, upper throat and soft palate meet. If these structures rub together, the resulting noise from the vibrations creates snoring.
Common causes that could be causing this are excess weight, which narrows the airway making it more likely that the parts will rub together; nasal congestion, either from allergies or a cold; alcohol or sedating medications that relax the airways; or anatomical defects, such as a deviated septum.
Treatments for snoring often depend on the cause. If enlarged adenoids or a deviated septum are causing your snoring, surgery may be necessary. But, most doctors recommend lifestyle changes first. These include losing weight, exercising more and eliminating alcohol and other seating drugs before bedtime.
Quitting smoking is also helpful. For many people, making sure they don't sleep on their back does the trick. Nasal dilating strips are helpful for some people.
If sleep apnea is causing your snoring then, the gold standard of non-surgical treatment is called CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure). Using a specially designed nasal mask, or pillows, CPCP delivers air into the airway, with the flow of air creating enough pressure when you inhale to keep the airway open, according to the American Academy of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery.
Other treatments aren't generally recommended because they can stop the snoring but the apnea is still present.
Other related pages at Relax and Sleep