When Snoring Becomes a Problem
Does your partner wear earplugs to block out your nightly snoring? Is your snoring the rule, not the exception? Does your family often make jokes about you and your snoring?
These are all signs that you have a snoring problem. Why do we call it a problem? For one, it’s disruptive – maybe not for you, but certainly for anyone who has to sleep in the same room (or house) as you. Secondly, snoring may also be the primary sign in deeper underlying condition that can impact your quality of life.
The difference between occasional snoring and a snoring problem are fairly easy to identify:
- Others around you (e.g. spouse, partner) change their habits to mitigate your noises
- Your partner’s sleep is impacted
- It’s well known that you are a snorer
- You snore most nights
When it is a problem, it’s definitely worth looking into what might be causing it, and how you might prevent it.
Find Out Cause of Snoring
There are many things that can cause snoring, and finding out if there is a primary reason for your snoring is the easiest way to stop snoring.
For example, excessive snoring is one of the primary signs of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is when you repeatedly stop breathing at night. OSA has significant long term effects on your health, such as:
- Lower life expectancy
- Lower quality of life in nearly all areas (cognitive ability, mood, stress levels, etc.)
- Lower performance in nearly all areas of life
- Increased risk of many heart-related diseases
Obesity can also be a primary factor in your snoring, as it narrows the breathing canal, and cutting weight may also cut decibels off of your snoring intensity.
Allergies and smoking can irritate the lining of the throat, narrowing it, and causing snoring. Alcohol can relax the breathing muscles in the throat, which causes snoring.
Ways to Prevent Snoring, or Reduce It
Do you have sleep apnea?
The first way to prevent snoring is to find out if it is caused by sleep apnea. This is done through sleep evaluations, consultations, or research. If you have sleep apnea, a CPAP machine will likely completely eliminate your snoring.
Does cutting alcohol help?
If you enjoy a night cap (or two) before bed, try eliminating it from your nightly routine and see if your snoring improves.
Does cutting back on smoking help?
While it’s certainly easier said than done, cutting back on smoking may make a big difference in your snoring habits, as you eliminate the irritant (smoke) which causes/contributes to your snoring.
Does losing weight help?
Like smoking, losing weight is easier said than done. However, if you are losing weight, try and evaluate (asking your partner) whether or not your snoring has improved.
Comfortable wearing a chin strap?
This is not ideal for comfort, but chin straps can be extremely effective for snoring that is caused by being a “mouth breather” at night. If you are a restless sleeper, this solution may not be for you. But if you are a relatively still sleeper, and struggle with breathing through your mouth at night, a chin strap may solve many issues at the same time.
Buy an anti-snoring pillow
Like a chin strap, this solution may not be ideal for picky sleepers or those of you who have your special pillow. Anti-snoring pillow elevate the head, which can significantly reduce snoring.
Avoid sleeping on your back
It may be a struggle to avoid sleeping on your back, but it's worth at least trying. The best ways to try controlling your sleeping positions are to fall asleep on your side, use a pillow between your legs, change sleep position of your arms and legs (e.g. bending them) to prevent rolling onto your back.
A sleep evaluation is an easy, extremely effective way to understand how and why you might be snoring. Please click the orange button to take a free online sleep test and get into contact with one of our sleep health professionals who may be able to provide you with some assistance.