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How to Stop Snoring : Cures, remedies, and tips for you and your partner

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How to Stop Snoring Cures, remedies, and tips for you and your partner

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									                      How to Stop Snoring
    cures, remedies, and tips for you and your partner

                                    Just about everyone snores occasionally. Even a
                                    baby or a beloved pet may snore! But snoring can
                                    affect the quantity and quality of your sleep. Poor
                                    sleep can lead to daytime fatigue, irritability, and
                                    increased health problems. And, if your snoring is so
                                    loud that your bed partner can't sleep, you may end
                                    up banished from the bedroom.

                                      Sleeping in separate bedrooms doesn’t have to be
the remedy for your snoring. In fact, there are many effective treatments for snoring.
Discovering the cause of your snoring and finding the right cure will vastly improve your
health, your relationships, and, of course, your sleep.

The causes of snoring: Identify the cause to find the
cure
Have you ever sneezed one day from allergies then sneezed another day from a bad cold?
Snoring is like that. In other words, not all snoring is the same. Everyone snores for
different reasons. When we get to the bottom of why we snore, then we can find the right
solutions to a quieter, deeper sleep.

People who snore often have too much throat and nasal tissue, or “floppy” tissue that is
more prone to vibrate. The position of your tongue can also get in the way of smooth
breathing. Evaluating how and when you snore will help you pinpoint whether the cause
of your snoring is within your control or not. The good news is that no matter how and
when you snore, there are solutions to making it better.

Where does the snore sound come from?

Snoring is caused by a narrowing of your airway, either from poor sleep posture or
abnormalities of the soft tissues in your throat. A narrow airway gets in the way of
smooth breathing and creates the sound of snoring.

Common causes of snoring

Although it may be upsetting to think that there could be problems at the root of you or
your bed buddy’s snoring, it’s important to get to the bottom of it. When you do, you’ll
protect your health, and the intimacy of your relationship.
   •   Age. As you reach middle age and beyond, your throat becomes narrower, and the
       muscle tone in your throat decreases.
   •   The way you’re built. Men have narrower air passages than women and are more
       likely to snore. A narrow throat, a cleft palate, enlarged adenoids, and other
       physical attributes (which contribute to snoring) can be hereditary.
   •   Nasal and sinus problems. Blocked airways make inhalation difficult and create
       a vacuum in the throat, leading to snoring.
   •   Being overweight or out of shape. Fatty tissue and poor muscle tone contribute
       to snoring.
   •   Alcohol, smoking, and medications. Alcohol intake, smoking (or second-hand
       smoke), and certain medications, increase muscle relaxation leading to more
       snoring.
   •   Sleep posture. Sleeping flat on your back causes the flesh of your throat to relax
       and block the airway.

                                     Snoring and sleep apnea

                                     Snoring could indicate sleep apnea, a potentially
                                     life-threatening condition that requires medical
                                     attention. Sleep apnea is a breathing obstruction,
                                     causing the sleeper to awaken to begin breathing
                                     again. A person with sleep apnea wakes up many
                                     times a night to regain breathing, but usually doesn’t
                                     remember it. Serious risks of sleep apnea include
                                     sleep deprivation, oxygen deprivation, and
                                     depression.

Don’t let snoring damage your relationship
Is snoring causing a riff in your relationship? No matter how much you love each other,
lack of sleep can strain a relationship and put your health at risk. Though some snoring is
harmless, other times it can indicate poor quality sleep as well as critical health problems
such as sleep apnea.

Sharing a bed is one of the greatest pleasures of a romantic relationship because it fosters
intimacy and closeness. Bedding down for the night should be a pleasant part of the
evening that you and your partner look forward to. However, snoring can create a huge
relationship roadblock because it prevents this joint end-of-day ritual. When snoring is a
problem, relationship tension grows in the following ways.

   •   Sleeping alone. If your partner snores, you might decide to sleep alone. That only
       makes for a lack of physical intimacy and a strained relationship. And if you’re
       the one snoring, you might feel lonely, isolated, and frustrated about something
       you feel you can’t control.
   •   Snoring spats. It’s common to be irritable when lack of sleep is an issue. But try
       reining in your frustration. Remember, you want to attack the snoring problem—
       not your sleep partner.
   •   Partner resentment. Partner resentment can grow when a non-snorer feels they
       do everything possible to sleep through the night (ear-plugs, noise-machines) but
       their partner does nothing to combat their own snoring. Working as a team to self-
       remedy will prevent future fights.

If you value your relationship, make it your priority to solve snoring so you can sleep
together. Think of it like this: the way you and your bed buddy handle a snoring problem
is a sign of the strength of your relationship. Working together to stop snoring can be an
opportunity to improve the quality of your bond and become more connected.

Communicating with a partner who snores
So you love everything about your partner…except their snoring. It’s normal. Even the
most patient amongst us will draw the line at sleep deprivation. But no matter how much
sleep is lost due to secondhand snoring, it’s important to handle the problem sensitively.
Remember that your partner likely feels vulnerable, isolated, and even a little
embarrassed. And although it can be healthy for the relationship to communicate those
vulnerabilities, it can be hurtful if done in an uncaring way. The following tips can help
you approach your partner about his or her snoring.

   •   Time your talk carefully. Avoid middle of the night or early morning
       discussions when you’re feeling exhausted.
   •   Keep in mind it’s not intentional. Although it’s easy to feel like a victim when
       you lose sleep, remember that your partner isn’t keeping you awake on purpose.
   •   Avoid lashing out. Sure sleep deprivation is aggravating and can be damaging to
       your health, but try your best to approach the problem in a non-confrontational
       way.
   •   Beware of bitterness. Make sure that latching onto snoring is not an outlet for
       other hidden resentments you’re harboring.
   •   Use humor and playfulness to bring up the subject without hurting your
       partner’s feelings. Laughing about it can ease tension. Just make sure it doesn’t
       turn into too much teasing.

Dealing with complaints about your snoring
It’s common to be caught off guard—not to mention a little hurt—about your snoring.
After all, you probably don’t even realize it’s happening. And although it might seem
silly that snoring can cause such relationship turmoil, it’s a common and a very real
problem. If you dismiss your partner’s concerns and refuse to try to solve the problem,
you’re sending a clear message to your partner that you don’t care about their needs. This
could mean your relationship is in trouble, and that’s a bigger problem than the snoring.
Keep the following in mind as you and your partner work together to beat snoring.

   •   Snoring is a physical issue. Typically, snorers feel a little embarrassed about
       their problem. Try to keep in mind that snoring is a physical issue. Like a pulled
       muscle or a common cold, improving the condition is in your hands.
   •   Avoid taking it personally. Try not to take your partner’s frustration as a
       personal critique or attack. Your partner loves you, just not the snoring.
   •   Take your partner seriously. Avoid minimizing complaints. Lack of sleep is a
       health hazard and can make you feel miserable all day.
   •   Make it clear that you prioritize the relationship. If you and your partner have
       this understanding, you’ll both do what it takes to make the snoring better.
   •   Address inappropriate behavior. Although sleep deprivation can lead to
       moodiness and irritability, let your partner know that it’s not okay for them to
       throw an elbow jab or snap at you when you’re snoring.

Self-help tips and snoring remedies
The good news is that there are is a lot you can do to stop snoring. Just be prepared to
summon some patience, do a little detective work, and troubleshoot to try different
remedies. Likely your snoring won’t go away over night, but keep at it. With a little
teamwork, you and your partner can combat noisy nights together.

How you snore reveals why you snore

It’s crucial to note to the different ways you sleep and snore. Sleep positions reveal a lot,
and figuring out how you snore can reveal why you snore. When you know why you
snore, you can get closer to a cure.

   •   Closed-mouth snoring may indicate a problem with the tongue.
   •   Open-mouth snoring may be related to the tissues in your throat.
   •   Snoring when sleeping on back is probably mild – improved sleep habits and
       lifestyle changes may be effective cures.
   •   Snoring in all sleep positions can mean snoring is more severe and may require a
       more comprehensive treatment.

Troubleshoot to stop snoring

So you’ve tried different sleeping positions and you still suffer from noisy nights? Try the
following self-help tips.

   •   Lose weight. Losing even a little bit of weight can reduce fatty tissue in the back
       of the throat and decrease snoring. Exercise in general can help because toning
       arms, legs, and abs inadvertently leads to toning muscles you don’t see in the
       throat, which leads to less snoring.
   •   Clear nasal passages. Having a stuffy nose makes inhalation difficult and creates
       a vacuum in your throat, which in turn leads to snoring. You can do it naturally
       with a Neti pot or try nasal decongestants or nasal strips to help you breathe more
       easily while sleeping.
   •   Quit smoking. If you smoke, your chances of snoring are high. Smoking causes
       airways to be blocked by irritating the membranes in the nose and throat.
   •   Establish regular sleep patterns. Create a bedtime ritual with your partner and
       stick to it. Hitting the sack in a routine way together can promote better sleep and
       therefore minimize snoring.
   •   Keep bedroom air moist with a humidifier. Dry air can irritate membranes in the
       nose and throat.
   •   Reposition. Elevating your head four inches may ease breathing and encourage
       your tongue and jaw to move forward. (Tip: go pillow-free or try a specially
       designed pillow to make sure your neck muscles are not crimped).

Tip: The tennis ball trick

Do you sleep on your back? Try the “tennis ball trick”: sleep with a tennis ball (or
similar sized ball) attached to the back of your pajama top. (You can sew or safety-pin a
sock to the back of the pajama top, then put a tennis ball in it.) The tennis ball is
uncomfortable if you lie on your back, and you will respond by turning on your side.
Soon you will develop side-sleeping as a habit and not need the tennis ball.

Reduce snoring by avoiding the following substances

Research shows that consumption of certain foods and medicines right before bedtime
can make snoring worse. Placing a household ban on the following snore-hazards right
before bedtime can make for quieter nights.

   •   Large meals
   •   Dairy products
   •   Soymilk
   •   Alcohol

   •   Sleeping pills and other relaxants
   •   Antihistamines
   •   Caffeine




Throat exercises to stop snoring

Done 30 minutes a day, throat exercises can be a cost-effective snore-reducer for people
with mild to moderate sleep apnea. Studies show that by pronouncing certain vowel
sounds and curling the tongue in specific ways, muscles in the upper respiratory tract are
strengthened and therefore reduce snoring.
Try the following exercises to stop snoring. Start slow and gradually increase the number
of sets you do every few days.

   •   Repeat each vowel (a-e-i-o-u) out loud for three minutes throughout day.
   •   Place the tip of your tongue behind your top front teeth. Slide your tongue
       backwards for 3 minutes a day
   •   Close your mouth and purse your lips. Hold for 30 seconds.
   •   With mouth open, move jaw to the right and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat on left
       side
   •   With mouth open, contract the muscle at the back of your throat repeatedly for 30
       seconds. Tip: Look in the mirror to see the uvula (“the hanging ball”) move up
       and down.

Alternative remedies for snoring

   •   Singing – Singing can increase muscle control in the throat and soft palate,
       reducing snoring caused by lax muscles.
   •   Playing the didgeridoo – Thinking of taking up a new instrument? Studies show
       that learning to play a didgeridoo can strengthen the soft palate and throat,
       reducing snoring.

Medical cures and treatments for snoring
If the self-helps aren’t silencing your noisy bedroom, don’t abandon hope. Medical
treatments could make all the difference. Luckily, advances are being made all the time
and devices are becoming more effective and more comfortable. So even if your doctor
recommended something in the past that was uncomfortable or didn’t work, that doesn’t
mean the same will be true now.

Medical remedies for snoring

When your own efforts to stop snoring do not help, consult your physician or an
otolaryngologist (an ear, nose, and throat doctor, otherwise known as an ENT). If you
choose to try a dental appliance for your snoring, you will need to see a dentist
specializing in these devices.

   •   Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). To keep your airway open
       during sleep, a machine at your bedside blows pressurized air into a mask that you
       wear over your nose or face.
   •   Dental appliances, oral devices, and lower jaw-positioners often resemble an
       athlete’s mouth guard. They help open your airway by bringing your lower jaw or
       your tongue forward during sleep.
   •   Traditional surgery such as Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP), Thermal
       Ablation Palatoplasty (TAP), tonsillectomy, and adenoidectomy, increase the size
       of your airway by surgically removing tissues or correcting abnormalities. The
       Pillar procedure is also an effective surgery in which small plastic implants are
       inserted into the soft palate. Scar tissue grows around the implants, stiffening the
       soft palate, which stops vibrations that cause snoring.
   •   New developments. Laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP) and somnoplasty
       remove parts of the soft palate to reduce snoring using lasers or radiofrequency
       signals. These newer remedies may require further study.

When to see a doctor

Some snoring indicates a serious warning sign. Call your doctor if your sleep partner
shows any of the following red flags.

   •   Snores loudly and heavily and is tired during the day
   •   Stops breathing, gasps, or chokes during sleep
   •   Falls asleep at inappropriate times, such as during a conversation or a meal

								
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