Wednesday, July 14, 2010

And now for something a little different... Advice on living with a loud snorer

how to find relief...

by Peter Stern

Loud snoring may become a very difficult issue for the individual snorer and for the person sleeping with a snorer. There seem to be many different reasons for the the loud snoring, e.g., it may be an indicator of a physiological problem that should be reviewed and resolved as soon as possible. Interestingly, snoring seems to occur significantly with men and women who are overweight due to a bulky throat situation. Snoring may also occur for children, especially those with large tonsils. Snoring often increases with age and many people (45 percent of adults) only experience occasional snoring.

It is possible that the loud snoring may occur only when the individual is sleeping on his or her back. Even people who hardly ever snore may find that they do when lying in this position. The solution for them is simple enough, to lie in a different position, e.g., on either side should eliminate the problem. It may take a while to “retrain” to sleep differently, but can be learned fairly easily and after a short time.

There are chronic snorers for whom there is little or no relief from snoring in any sleeping position, in fact it is estimated that 25 percent of adults are considered habitual snorers. The physical problem may be a deviated septum, in which one or both nostrils are narrow making it very difficult to find some relief. There are several other reasons for snoring that include obstructed nasal passages, poor muscle tone in the tongue and throat, and long soft palate or uvula.

In addition, information from John Hopkins Medical Center indicates that Long interruptions of breathing (more than 10 seconds) during sleep caused by partial or total obstruction or blockage of the airway. Serious cases can have total blockage episodes many hundreds of times per night. Frequent waking from sleep may cause snoring issues that even a snorer may not realize.

Snorers who may have obstructive sleep apnea (pauses in breathing while sleeping) generally sleep lightly, as they try to keep their throat muscles tense enough to maintain airflow. Often, blood oxygen levels are lowered, which causes the heart to pump harder and raises blood pressure. The result is a poor night's sleep that may lead to drowsiness during the day and may interfere with the person’s quality of life. Continued suffering from obstructed sleep apnea may result in higher blood pressure and may cause enlargement of the heart, with increased risks of heart attack and stroke.

Those who sleep with a chronic snorer may have a difficult time sleeping themselves, which could trigger mental and physiological issues for themselves and quality of life for both parties may suffer.

There are many aids and/or cures for snoring and product cures have evolved into a multi-million dollar business. For those overweight, maintaining a proper diet and losing weight may help minimize and even eliminate snoring. Eliminating alcohol drinking and eating at least 4 hours before going to bed may aid snoring. Sometimes consistent sleep patterns, going to bed at the same time every night may help. Sleeping on either side could reduce or eliminate snoring completely. Enlarged tonsils could be surgically removed when they have been causing habitual snoring. Often using a second pillow to raise your head 4 inches may help the snoring. Other surgeries to eliminate snoring are removal of adenoids (adenoidectomy), somnoplasty (removal of soft tissue in the upper airway) and palate surgery (removal of soft palate tissue that may be obstructing breathing.

During the past decade many products have been offered to decrease or eliminate, e.g., nose strip, special metal nose clips, there are various “natural remedies” that may or may not work for people, there are special nasal and throat sprays including cortisol types that may help some, and there are some who use special magnets or unique metals like gold to sleep with.

Living with a snorer and trying to get a good night’s sleep may seem like an enormous undertaking; however, one of the easiest ways a partner can get some relief from the snorer is to purchase soft earplugs so as not to hear the sounds during the night. The plugs are comfortable and enable a good night’s sleep. In any case, the snorer and partner have several options so that neither one has to accept the snoring situation. It is no longer necessary for anyone to accept the loud snoring. Relief is just a short step away.

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