Does snoring bother you? This article discusses the causes of the phenomenon and how it can be harmful to your health.
What causes snoring can vary greatly among those affected. Science actually knows very little about snoring or its importance. We have discovered medical concerns, but not really any benefits so far. This article is about concerns for adversely affected bodily functions due to snoring. We have yet to determine the positive effects of snoring but as a health practitioner with decades of interaction, I have to believe that snoring serves some sort of function for the body that we have yet to discover. It seems all animals do it. It is easy to understand a hibernating bear snoring but also cats and dogs snore quite audibly from time to time. We will have to leave the positive effects of snoring for a later article, for now, let’s move on to the health risks.
What causes snoring?
Snoring can be dangerous
Those affected often only become aware of their nocturnal breathing disorder when annoyed relatives speak to them about it. We should be taking such information seriously – not only for the sake of social peace but also for your own health: Studies show that heavy snorers are more prone to cardiovascular diseases. They are more than twice as likely to suffer a stroke! This is due to the restricted airflow during snoring. The temporary lack of oxygen in the blood can damage the blood vessels. A study also came to the conclusion that snorers are less rested the next day – the louder the nightly concert, the more tired.
Particularly dangerous: Snoring can develop into sleep apnea with paused breathing. About ten percent of all men and five percent of women suffer from this. Daytime sleepiness, pressure in the head, dry mouth, increased sweating at night, nocturnal heartburn, high blood pressure or irregular heartbeat can all be signs of sleep apnea. “That is why you should have the symptoms clarified. In case of doubt, a sleep laboratory can diagnose sleep apnea,”
Women snore differently
Women have a narrower throat opening than men, which is why they should actually be more prone to snoring. But their tongue falls back less often because their muscles are more tense due to the influence of estrogen. In addition, the soft tissues of the throat flutter less when breathing. This is why women snore much more quietly. Partners often say that the woman only occasionally makes noises, clicks or swallows when she is asleep. Nevertheless, they could also have sleep apnea requiring treatment with more than 15 breathing pauses per hour. In the past, sleep apnea has not been thought often enough in women, which is why they only make up about twenty percent of patients in sleep
Sleep apnea is a major risk factor
People with sleep apnea are also at a significantly higher risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The pauses in breathing are correspondingly widespread among heart patients: About half of people with high blood pressure suffer from sleep apnea, and of those with high blood pressure that is difficult to treat, even 80 percent. Every second person with heart failure and every fourth person with atrial fibrillation also have sleep apnea.
Reason enough to fight snoring as soon as possible.
Measures against snoring
1. Keep nasal breathing as free as possible
If breathing through the nose is impeded, the sleeper breathes through the mouth. If it is open, the opening of the airways in the throat area narrows. This makes it easier for the tongue to be sucked to the back of the throat when inhaling. Therefore, chronic sinus infections, a curvature of the nasal septum, or allergies should be treated carefully.
2. Fight allergies
Allergies can not only hinder nasal breathing but also cause the mucous membranes in the throat to swell and thus further narrow the airways. Allergies to tree pollen are particularly tricky because they prefer to fly at night. Allergy sufferers should therefore close their windows at night. In addition, those affected should conscientiously take measures to reduce allergies. Desensitization is often most effective in the long term.
3. Avoid lavish meals in the evening
If the stomach and intestines are very full, they push the diaphragm up a little, and with it the lungs above the diaphragm. By moving the lungs, there is less tension on the upper airways. This makes the vulnerable areas in the throat easier to collapse and block the path of the airflow.
4. Regulate body weight
Excess pounds can put pressure on the airways at night. Fat tissue in the throat also narrows the airways. Fat pads in the abdomen can push the diaphragm and lungs upwards. Even a small amount of weight loss can have a positive effect on snoring. Sleep apnea also correlates strongly with bodyweight: over 70 percent of people with breathing pauses are overweight.
5. Avoid lying on your back
Sleeping on your back can encourage snoring by causing your tongue to fall back. Appropriate cushions such as pillows for sleepers on the side or T-shirts with rolls sewn into the back may prevent the sleeper from turning on their back. Flexion of the head is also unfavorable, i.e. when the chin is pulled towards the chest. Therefore it is better not to use high pillows.
6. Tilt the bed
During the day, fluid collects in the lower half of the body. At night, the liquid redistributes when you lie flat on the bed. However, the redistributed fluid can cause the soft tissues of the neck to swell, which makes breathing even more difficult if the anatomy is unfavorable. This redistribution can be reduced if the bed is jacked up ten to 15 centimeters at the head end so that it has a slight incline from head to foot.
7. Don’t drink too much in the evening
The tissue also swells as a result of increased fluid intake, so do not drink too much in the evening. Medicines such as cortisone can also promote water retention and thus increase snoring. Drinking alcohol is particularly unfavorable because it reduces muscle tension and therefore, among other things, slackens the tissue in the throat.
8. Avoid sedative medication if possible
As with alcohol, soothing medication also relaxes muscles, which encourages snoring. These include, for example, certain sleeping pills, antidepressants and neuroleptics. Therefore, patients should discuss with their doctor to what extent it is justifiable to switch the medication to more natural options.
9. Don’t smoke
Smoking irritates the mucous membranes. This causes them to swell and make breathing difficult. In addition, smoking in the blood turns the blood pigment hemoglobin into a certain proportion of non-functional methemoglobin. This worsens the transport of oxygen to the cells, which can further intensify the harmful effect of sleep apnea.
10. Don’t over-exercise your neck muscles
If you train yourself to have a strong neck through bodybuilding or weight lifting, for example, you can narrow your airways. In fact about forty percent of bodybuilders have sleep apnea syndrome.
Having colonics will not stop you snoring, but can help to calm the body, and ultimately support a good night’s sleep.
Make a booking today.