How to help someone who snores

December 10, 2018 | by Priya Jimmy, M.D.
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

There’s good chance you share a bed with someone who snores (maybe it’s you).

Snoring is a common sleep problem, and it can disrupt your night — whether you’re the one snoring or the one listening to it.

Almost half of adults snore. It’s more likely in older people, men or people who are overweight.

Snoring can be a symptom of a serious problem: obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea causes lapses in breathing of more than 10 seconds at a time because of narrowed airways.

The narrow or obstructed airway happens when a person’s tongue slides back against their soft palate, which then falls back against their throat, covering the opening to their airway.
These lapses in breathing can prevent you from getting enough sleep, so you feel tired during the day. It can also result in headaches and depression, and, eventually, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke or diabetes.

How to find quiet

There are things you can do that may help you stop snoring, including:

  • Lose weight
  • Don’t drink alcohol right before bed
  • Clear out nasal congestion
  • Get enough sleep! Being sleep deprived can lead to snoring
  • Sleep on your side, not your back

If your snoring is caused by obstructive sleep apnea, a doctor can help.

First, your doctor will likely ask you to complete a sleep study. Sleep studies are simple and painless. A specially trained sleep technologist monitors your brainwaves, eye movement, breathing, blood oxygen levels, heart rate and muscle activity while you sleep comfortably in a private sleep study room at our Sleep Center.

If you are diagnosed with a sleep condition, your primary care doctor will develop a treatment plan that works for you, which may include: changes in daily habits, weight reduction, stress management, medications, surgery or other options.

Some doctors recommend sleep apnea patients:

  • Use an oral appliance, something a dentist would have fitted to your mouth that would help keep your airway open.
  • Use a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which is a mask that fits over your face while you sleep and provides a continuous flow of air to breathe while keeping your airway open.
  • Undergo surgery. A surgeon would tighten up excess throat tissue so the airway remains clear. Sometimes a deviated septum can cause snoring, which can also be corrected with surgery.

Everyone needs a good night’s sleep to stay healthy. If you snore or have trouble breathing at night, tell your doctor.

Dr. Priya Jimmy is an internal medicine physician with Elmhurst Memorial Elmhurst Clinic. View her profile and schedule an appointment online.

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