If your sleeping partner has threatened to file a noise ordinance with the City of Portland for excessive snoring, you should find some comfort in the fact that you won’t be the only one charged with this pretend-citation. Nearly half of all Rose City residents resemble lumberjacks when they crawl beneath the sheets, sawing wood while their loved ones toss and turn, unable to get a good night’s sleep.
The Statistics Behind Snoring
Snoring is a widespread condition that affects about 45 percent of the U.S. population. Anybody can snore, but those most likely to do so share a few common traits. They are typically:
- 40 or older
Snoring may seem like no big deal, but it is – even if you’re not the one who is actually doing the snoring. It robs you and your bed partner of quality sleep, leading to daytime fatigue, irritability, confusion, lack of concentration, and memory problems. It can affect personal relationships and job performance. Even worse, snoring is often a sign of a sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea. This is a serious medical condition that increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
Finding a treatment solution won’t only reduce the odds of your partner running off to Mexico. It may even save your life.
If you’re a habitual snorer, it’s a good idea to talk to your Portland ear, nose, and throat doctor. They may order a sleep study in order to diagnose or rule out a serious disorder such as sleep apnea.
Depending on the severity of your snoring, you may benefit from simple at-home remedies or may require surgery. The following solutions are natural remedies or lifestyle modifications.
- Change your sleep position. Snoring occurs when the tongue and throat tissues collapse during sleep, blocking the airway. This is most likely when you’re sleeping in the wrong position, such as on your back; try sleeping on your side instead. Elevating the head of the bed a few inches or propping yourself up with pillows is often helpful, as well.
- Lose weight. A majority of chronic snorers are overweight or obese. Excess fat around the neck causes the airway to narrow and increases the likelihood you will snore. Losing just 10 percent of your overall body weight can make a big difference.
- Limit alcohol consumption before bedtime. A beer or glass of wine after work is okay, but end your drinking early in the evening, and stick to just one. Alcohol acts as a muscle relaxer, allowing tissue and muscles in the back of the throat to sag, blocking your airways and causing you to snore.
- Quit smoking. Smoking is hazardous to your health in many other ways; it can also contribute to snoring. Tobacco smoke irritates the membranes lining the nose and throat, causing airway blockages and an increased risk of snoring.
- Stick to a regular sleep routine. Maintain a regular sleep schedule when possible, aiming for the same bedtime every night – even on weekends. An odd schedule may result in too little sleep, leading to excess tiredness the next day. Sleeping harder the following night causes overly relaxed muscles and snoring. It’s a vicious cycle you’ll want to break.
- Keep your nasal passages open. A stuffy nose prevents air from moving freely, leading to snoring. To prevent this, take a hot shower before bedtime or rinse your nasal passages with a saline solution or Neti pot. Over-the-counter nasal strips can help you breathe more easily at night.
- Stay hydrated. Drink lots of fluids to keep your throat and palate moist.
- Use a humidifier. This isn’t as big a deal in Portland, but if you live in a dry climate, the membranes in your nose and throat can become irritated. Try using a humidifier to moisten the air and keep your passages lubricated.
Your Portland ENT specialist can give you more tips on treating snoring. Give them a call today!