Historically, snoring has been a laughing matter within families. People always seem to talk about that person within their family that can "rattle the timbers" when they sleep at night.
Snoring may occur due to any of a variety of causes, from the common cold to sleep apnea. Obesity and a large neck can contribute to snoring. People who drink alcohol before bedtime may snore more than usual.
Although snoring is often a sign of sleep apnea, most snorers do not, in fact, suffer from sleep apnea. Also chronic snorers have an increased risk of developing hypertension. Snorers may also have fragmented sleep. Many times bed partners no longer will sleep together because one's snoring is too disruptive to the other's sleep. Snoring can also cause headaches, difficulty in concentration, fatigue and reduced work performance.
There are many different ways to reduce snoring. One of the most effective is through weight loss. Reducing your weight will reduce fat deposits in the throat, providing a more spacious airway and usually less snoring.
Another way to reduce snoring is to improve nasal breathing by using a nasal strip that gently opens your nostrils during sleep. Your dentist or orthodontist can prescribe dental appliances that are also available. Sleeping on your side with a pillow is the preferable position to help alleviate snoring.
Two lifestyle changes to consider are avoiding alcohol and cigarettes. Abstaining from alcohol, which relaxes muscles in the airway, at least four hours before bedtime; and abstaining completely from smoking, which is associated with nasal congestion, can help alleviate snoring.*
Finally, ask your doctor for recommendations, so he or she can address your specific snoring situation.
*National Sleep Foundation, (n.d.) retrieved from www.sleepfoundation.org on 3-20-2007.