I'm not talking about the snoring that comes from having a cold or for some of us with extra weight on our torso that can be fixed by rolling to the side. I'm talking about a much more serious form of snoring.
For the 18 million people in the United States suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA,) snoring is their body’s cry for help.
Throughout the night people with OSA literally stop breathing. They stop breathing because the muscles in their mouth, jaw, and throat relax, blocking the free flow of air in the airway. These moments of suffocation can last for up to an entire minute. A person with OSA wakes up hundreds of times during a single night as their bodies try not to suffocate. Snoring is their body’s only way to get enough air to breathe.
The result is that when people with OSA get out of bed in the morning, they feel like they haven’t slept at all. And it’s true—they have not had a full sleep cycle. Not only are their bodies exhausted, they have opened up an entire range of new health problems that are associated with this extreme sleep loss, including heart attacks, depression, strokes, memory loss, acid reflux and diabetes.
Treatment for this may include surgery and other invasive approaches, but here are some small ways to improve your current snoring habits (if you have not developed OAS)
Change Your Sleeping Position:
avoid sleeping on your back to remove that pressure to your air tunnels. Try taping tennis balls to the back of your pajamas to stop you from sleeping on your back!
Alcohol and sedatives reduce the resting tone of the muscles in the back of your throat, making it more likely you'll snore.
Open Nasal Passages:
If your nose is clogged or narrowed due to a cold or other blockage, the fast-moving air is more likely to produce snoring. A hot shower before you go to bed can help open nasal passages.
Change Your Pillows:
Allergens in your bedroom and in your pillow may contribute to snoring. When did you last dust the overhead ceiling fan? Replace your pillows?
Stay Well Hydrated:
Drink plenty of fluids. Secretions in your nose and soft palate become stickier when you're dehydrated and can create more snoring!