Relaxation and a good night’s sleep seem to go hand-in-hand, but as is often the case, too much of a good thing may be a problem. Snoring is one of those situations where relaxation of the soft tissues in your throat can cause a collapse that interferes with air flow. The resulting vibrations create the distinctive sound of snoring.
If snoring isn’t affecting your sleep process or that of others around you, it may not be any cause for concern. However, the soft tissue collapse can progress to where your sleep is interrupted many times each night. You may not recall these short episodes when your brain wakes you up long enough to correct the interruption to your breathing.
This is obstructive sleep apnea, and in advanced cases, it can be a serious health issue, one that requires medical intervention to overcome. However, there are things you can do to reduce the negative effects snoring may have on your well-being. Three-quarters of all snorers develop sleep apnea at some point, so get started today to keep yourself in the other 25%, those who can call their snoring merely an endearing quirk.
Alter your sleep position
If you’re a back sleeper, you’re in the worst position to prevent the tissues of your soft palate from collapsing. The base of your tongue may also sag and further aggravate snoring. Sleeping with a full-length body pillow, or with a regular pillow between your knees, may improve your comfort when sleeping on your side. Raising the head of your bed or purchasing an adjustable bed may reduce the amount of soft tissue collapse. If you snore less while sleeping upright in a reclining chair, this may be an answer for you.
Improve your sleep habits
Establishing and maintaining a regular circadian rhythm can reduce snoring by preventing you from becoming overtired. There are three stages of sleep that have a particular balance. Going to bed exhausted may overemphasize the deep sleep phase, where your soft tissues are most likely to collapse. Regulated sleeping patterns promote an even balance of sleep phases that optimize the amount of rest you receive.
Increase your water intake
You’re likely aware of the health benefits of drinking more water. It can be a snoring preventer, too, since it keeps natural secretions in your nose and soft palate running freely, rather than becoming sticky. That stickiness can aggravate snoring by increasing friction between collapsed tissues.
Having a drink four hours before bed could affect the resting tone of the muscles in your throat, causing you to snore, or to snore more. While the effects of alcohol may help you fall asleep, there’s a good chance the quality of that sleep is degraded. Alcohol is also a diuretic, so it could counter your attempts to increase hydration.
While people at their ideal body weight may snore, those carrying extra pounds are more likely to develop sleep apnea. This is particularly true if you didn’t snore prior to gaining weight. Additional stores of fat in the neck area can aggravate the soft tissue collapse that causes snoring and sleep apnea.
See a specialist
If your attempts to reduce snoring are unsuccessful, a visit to Houston Sinus Surgery is in order. I can examine your physical condition and define obstructive area(s). Treatment strategies is based on findings and personal preference. When CPAP is not tolerable; surgical correction is very effective and can resolve the origin of the problem.
Solid, restful sleep is one of your strongest defenses against threats to wellness, so call today, and don’t miss another good night’s sleep.