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5 Surprising Facts About Snoring

Everybody snores, right? Wrong. Snoring is normal, right? Wrong. Snoring might be irritating for your partner, but it’s not a serious problem, right? Wrong.

The reality is that snoring is not normal, it is serious and it can be helped.

5 Interesting Facts About Snoring & What it Means for You

Are you or your partner a chronic snorer? Schedule an appointment with your physician – or ask for a referral to an ENT specialist – so you can rest well once and for all. In the meantime, here are 5 interesting facts to inspire you into actionable well-being.

1) Snoring is not normal

Sleeping should never be a noisy activity. In fact, when observing a healthy sleeper, you should only hear the gentle sounds of inhales and exhales as the sleeper takes normal, rhythmic breaths. In contrast, snoring indicates an obstructed airway and in addition to loud, arrhythmic breathing, snorers can wind up breathless for 10-seconds or more, resulting in continuously disrupted sleep patterns.

Yes, snoring occurs from time to time – during a bad cold or when suffering from allergies. Other than that, however, sleepy time should be quiet time. If you snore on a regular basis, you have what we call “sleep obstructed breathing,” which indicates potential obstructed sleep apnea (OSA).

2) Snoring should be evaluated by a physician

Snoring occurs when the airway is obstructed. The question is, why? During sleep, airway obstructions most commonly occur as the result of:

  • The anatomy of your mouth and sinuses. Chronic sinus inflammation, a deviated septum, narrow nasal passages, enlarged soft tissue in the palate and throat, an elongated uvula (that little flap of skin hanging from the back of your throat) – all contribute to snoring. Snoring also changes the anatomy of the mouth because your soft palate becomes irritated and inflamed, contributing to more snoring.
  • Nasal problems. Just as colds and allergies affect snoring, so do chronic nasal or sinus problems.
  • Alcohol consumption. Drinking alcohol relaxes soft tissues in the throat, causing them to drop into the airway.
  • Sleep positions. As any partner can attest, snoring is worst when you’re on your back and often clears up when you’re on your side.
  • Sleep deprivation. The more tired you are, the more throat muscles relax, contributing to snoring. This creates a snowball effect since the more you snore, the more sleep deprived you are…

A physician or ENT will establish why you’re snoring, and then choose the least invasive solution.

3) You don’t sleep well when you snore

Often, snoring is associated with deep sleep. In fact, the opposite is true. Snoring deprives the brain of oxygen, so the brain can’t settle into a healthy, REM-filled sleep pattern. This leads to very shallow and disrupted sleep. Severe snoring restricts airways so dramatically that you “wake up,” for a brief second, forcing airways to open, after which the pattern begins again. The result is chronic sleep deprivation.

4) Snoring is bad for your heart

The experts at Harvard warn, …Snoring is a Sign Your Heart is at Risk. Multiple studies correlate sleep apnea with elevated risk of high cholesterol and heart disease. Men and women who snore also have notably higher risks for:

  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Moodiness and irritability
  • Morning headaches
  • Constant drowsiness

Don’t let your unwillingness to address chronic snoring put you at risk for life threatening conditions.

5) Snoring could diminish the quality of your relationship

There is a term for snoring that is audible to others sharing the room – or across the hall: socially unacceptable snoring (SUS). Snoring often means sleep problems for two people – the snorer and his/her partner, and studies show SUS negatively impacts relationships.

We’ll leave you with an excerpt from Psychology Today:

Poor quality and insufficient sleep interfere with our thinking skills and judgment. Lack of sleep can make us irritable and short-tempered. Poor sleep diminishes our ability to manage conflict well, increasing negative feelings and reducing our ability to empathize. Lack of sleep has been shown in scientific research to make couples feel less appreciative of each other, and to experience greater feelings of selfishness. Sound like a recipe for relationship difficulties? It is.

What’s more, snoring itself can become a focal point of both frustration and shame within the dynamic of a couple’s relationship. The person who is kept awake (or who has to shuffle off to the spare bedroom in the middle of the night) may grow to feel resentful of his or her snoring partner. 

Ready to get to the bottom of your snoring once and for all? Contact us here at Palouse Specialty Physicians or ask for a referral to one of our top-notch ENT specialists

Published on January 8, 2018