Anyone who has dealt with a snoring bed partner understands the impact that lost sleep can have on mood and health. While it can be tempting to poke a partner in the ribs and go back to sleep, snoring can pose serious health risks, so ignoring the problem isn’t necessarily the best tactic.
A National Sleep Foundation survey indicates that around 32 percent of men and 16 percent of women snore regularly. Snoring can have a huge impact on relationships. Waking a bed partner is common, but it’s not healthy.
Why Snoring Happens
There are a multitude of reasons for snoring, some simple and some quite complex. While snoring in itself is not a disease, it’s usually the symptom of a greater heath problem. The reasons for snoring include:
A low, soft palate can narrow the airway. If the uvula is elongated, this can also obstruct the airway.
Issues such as congestion or a deviated septum could contribute to a snoring problem.
Sleep deprivation or alcohol consumption:
Further throat relaxation can be caused by lack of sleep or drinking alcohol, which could lead to snoring.
Gravity affects the function of the airway and snoring is often louder and more frequent for back sleepers.
Snoring is associated with sleep apnea. This serious medical condition is characterized by shallow breathing or pauses in breathing.
Sharing a Bed with a Snorer
Lack of sleep is a serious concern, so the bed partners of frequent snorers often seek out solutions for disruptive snoring. These include:
- Sleeping in separate bedrooms.
- Wearing earplugs or noise cancelling headphones
- Providing “snore strips,” which are designed to keep nasal passages open while sleeping.
- Propping the snorer’s head up with a pillow.
- Regular waking of a snorer.
While all of these solutions could minimize the problem, they often do not provide long-term relief. Because snoring is the indicator of serious health issues, the best way to deal with snoring is to consult with a medical professional.
An otolaryngologist (ENT doctor) can diagnose the underlying cause of snoring and provide sustainable solutions. If sleep apnea is responsible for the loud nights, snoring is not the only side-effect. In fact, obstructive sleep apnea is linked to heart problems, type 2 diabetes, asthma and stroke, so prolonging treatment can lead to life-threatening consequences.
Consulting with a doctor is the first step to receiving an accurate diagnosis and developing a treatment plan. If sleep apnea is suspected, the patient will undergo sleep tests. For some patients, this can even take place at home.
If sleep apnea is the cause, there are several treatment options. For many, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy works wonders for alleviating snoring and managing the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea.
Though this standard sleep apnea treatment is highly effective for many snorers, many find the masks constricting and difficult to wear. For these individuals, and those seeking a permanent solution, there are alternative treatments. Many of these options are minimally invasive and can be performed in an office setting. Cutting-edge treatments include the Pillar Procedure, Coblation turbinate reduction, soft palate Coblation, Ballon Sinuplasty and radio frequency reduction of the tongue base.
Whatever the cause of snoring, it doesn’t have to be a lingering issue. It’s important to take action to decrease the risk of ongoing health concerns. Start by asking your bed partner to complete our Berlin quiz, to determine if sleep apnea is a possibility.
Then, an appointment should be scheduled with one of our board certified otolaryngologists for a thorough examination and development of a customized treatment plan. Don’t let you and your bed partner be a victim of frequent snoring. Choose the path to healthier sleep by contacting eos sleep today.