Sleep is therapeutic and restorative as it rejuvenates the body. But one of the most common causes for loss of sleep is snoring - for the person as well as the room partner. Consequently sleep deprivation can lead to other health hazards. Find out more about sleep apnea and snoring. If snoring is a bother to you or your room partner, look up the snoring treatment options.
Snoring and sleep apnea
Although loud snoring is a symptom of this disorder, sleep apnea and snoring are not the same. Snoring occurs if there is an obstruction in your airway. Snoring is not as harmful as sleep apnea as in the latter there is a complete blockage of breathing. However both are caused by upper level airway obstruction. Snoring may indicate presence of a more serious disorder like sleep apnea so it is recommended that you go through a physical examination if you suspect a serious disease.
The retrolingual and hypopharyngeal areas are affected in both sleep apnea and snoring. Due to this disturbance in the normal sleep pattern, predictably the person feels tired and sleepy during the day. Morning headaches, irritability and personality changes are some of the other side effects. Normally, this condition is recognized first by the room partner of the individual whose sleep also may be disturbed due to the sounds and gasps of their partner.
Causes of snoring
Snoring is usually caused by incorrect sleeping posture and can be corrected by adjusting the person to a better position. Sleeping on one's side can relieve one from sleep apnea and keeping the head raised by 4 to 6 inches can also relieve snoring. This can be aided by a special pillow or by elevating the bed to a higher position.
Go to bed and arise at the same time each morning. Record your sleep disturbances and patterns using a sleep diary, which will also help with the diagnosis. A diagnostic sleep study or polysomnogram carried out in a hospital, sleep lab or at home can help determine the disorder.
A blocked nose, increasing age, being male, hypothyroidism, menopause, receding lower jaw, smoking, intake of alcohol before bedtime and allergies can cause snoring. Snoring can be the result of acid reflux after a meal or medications or alcohol consumption. In fact in most cases, snoring results from a combination of factors.
Try to relax. Do not bring your work home. Excessive fatigue and irregular work schedules lead to erratic sleep patterns. Adopt relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga and breathing exercises.
Enlarged tonsils, adenoids or excess tissue at the back of the throat can cause constrictions in the airway. Surgery to remove these obstructions can relieve snoring and sleep apnea. Medical interventions and surgery are used to treat upper airway obstructions.