How to determine whether the noise is a major health issue or just a nuisance
We all snore, including our dog and you. According to specialists, almost everyone snores occasionally, and the behaviour can appear completely normal to the person who is actually sleeping loudly. However, sleep is undoubtedly suffering and health is also at risk when snoring sounds like a goods train rumbling through the bedroom or when unexpected thunderclaps are interrupted with protracted silence. According to recent study, snoring and other issues with going asleep and staying asleep can signal disease in the future—and a shorter one at that.
Scientists compared sleep issues with heart health using data from 300,000 middle-aged U.K. adults. A sleep apnea diagnosis reduced a person’s lifespan free of cardiovascular disease by seven years. Sleep apnea is a serious health problem. But even less severe sleep issues, such as snoring, staying up late, or feeling sleepy throughout the day, cost people two years of cardiovascular disease-free life. The results were published earlier this month in the journal BMC Medicine. The researchers’ conclusions were that “snoring and trouble falling or staying asleep can be a warning sign of potential health issues in the future.”
Moderate to mild snoring
It’s not necessary to seek medical attention right away if you or a companion snores subtly. Dr. Andrew Wellman, head of the Sleep Disordered Breathing Lab in the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said, “We don’t think it’s a health problem. It is a social issue. However, heavy snoring can be a clear sign that someone is not getting the deep, restorative sleep they need each night to recharge their bodies and minds and wake up the next day awake and capable. And it can indicate underlying health issues that are likely to get worse from the lack of sleep or feed other chronic illnesses, creating a vicious cycle.
According to a research published in the journal Sleep last year, those who snore frequently spend 36 more minutes each day sitting down than those who claim they never snore. (Whether any of those individuals genuinely “never” snore is dubious; perhaps they do it infrequently and in a way that is so mild that no one pays attention. However, there is no way to know with self-reporting on something like this.) The average amount of extra time spent sitting down for those with sleep apnea was 44 minutes. Although it is unclear which behaviour influences the other, the scientists hypothesise that it probably works both ways.
Severe snoring issues
Regular snoring is not the same as sleep apnea, a disorder that causes a person to stop breathing while they are asleep for about 30 seconds, after which they gasp or snort so loudly that no one is able to sleep. The cycle may repeat five or more times each hour, impairing the quality of your sleep and your general health. The problem, which most frequently results from soft tissue in the throat’s rear obstructing the airway, can appear at any time in life but becomes more prevalent after age 50. Men get it more often than women do.
The number of Americans believed to suffer some form of sleep apnea ranges from 80 million to 150 million, a startling range that suggests there aren’t any reliable statistics. In my book, Make Sleep Your Superpower, I state the following: Exact figures are unknown, in part because the disease can be so mild that some choose not to seek a diagnosis. Additionally, if they don’t have a spouse to complain to about the noise, they may not even be aware of their snorts and gasps during the night.
So how can you determine if you possess it? The next-day tiredness that occurs from severe sleep apnea is significant (the disorder is frequently a bed fellow of diagnosable insomnia). However, the undetected effects bad things that gradually occur at the cellular level can be much worse. The prolonged pauses in breathing not only prevent deep, high-quality sleep but also reduce the amount of oxygen reaching the brain. According to three studies published in 2022, the disease raises the risk of developing cancer, blood clots that can result in heart attacks or strokes, and dementia and mental deterioration later in life.
Sleep apnea cases are increasing. According to experts, increased obesity is to blame for the increase, even though heredity, alcohol consumption, and other factors also play a role in the illness. Susheel Patil, MD, clinical associate professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and director of the Sleep Medicine Programme at University Hospitals in Ohio, told me that obesity was likely the biggest risk factor for developing sleep apnea.
Observe these symptoms, then take action. Examining the following day’s symptoms of poor sleep, such as grogginess, forgetfulness, and problems concentrating, is the best approach to determine whether snoring is severely interfering with your sleep. These issues will result from sleep apnea, and frequently one or more of these identifying symptoms:
- Headaches in the morning
- Morning sore throat
- Sleep-related chest pain
- Sexual dysfunction
- Night sweats
Cut back on alcohol, exercise more, eat healthily, and get plenty of natural light are all tried-and-true home remedies for moderate sleep apnea or other snoring issues, all of which I’ve covered in depth here. Additionally, forcing oneself to sleep on one’s side can be beneficial because snoring is frequently worse when a person is lying on their back (this is difficult, but I have some recommendations). In addition to these basic components of excellent sleep hygiene, Patil notes that weight loss is known to improve the symptoms of sleep apnea. “Lifestyle modification becomes incredibly important,” he declared.
If you are unable to resolve the issue on your own, seek medical attention and a complete diagnosis, which may identify an underlying health issue that has to be treated. Even while surgery has a tiny chance of success and shouldn’t be the first choice, Patil said it is occasionally advised for people with severe sleep apnea. And if it turns out the noise isn’t coming from you? A relationship may be saved by earplugs.
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I am trying to convince my husband to get a sleep study done.
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It’s a good thing to do
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