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13 Things You Need to Know if You or Your Partner Snore Too Much

From sleep apnea, to being overweight, to whether you lie on your back, there are many factors that can cause excessive snoring.

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Snoring is common

An estimated 45 per cent of adults snore occasionally, and one in four are chronic snorers.

Partner’s snoring driving you nuts? Here’s what causes snoring.

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There are many causes of snoring

That buzz-saw sound is caused by loose, floppy tissues in your throat, tongue and palate vibrating and slapping together. Nasal congestion, being overweight, drugs, alcohol and a deviated septum can all compress the airway, making the vibrations stronger.

Find out why you’re suffering from chronic nasal congestion.

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Snoring could hurt your marriage

One British survey found that 12 per cent of respondents cited snoring as a reason for divorcing a spouse.

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Watch out for sleep apnea

If your snoring is interrupted by bouts of total breathing obstruction, talk to your doctor. You may have sleep apnea, diagnosed in 6.4 per cent of Canadians. Sufferers are roused out of deep sleep as many as 300 times a night, experience chronic daytime drowsiness and are at risk for high blood pressure and heart problems.

Tired all the time? Learn to tell if your fatigue is something more serious.

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Seek a diagnosis

Sleep apnea can be diagnosed by an otolaryngologist, who examines your mouth and throat for abnormalities, and a sleep study, requiring you to spend a night in a lab.

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You can treat sleep apnea

The gold-standard treatment for sleep apnea is a continuous-positive-airway-pressure (CPAP) machine. A mask fits over your nose and mouth and blows air into your throat to keep your airways open at night. “The reality is that only about half of CPAP users stick with it, because it can be highly intrusive,” says Dr. Brian Rotenberg, an otolaryngologist and surgeon in London, Ont.

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Your weight can make a difference

If you’re overweight, losing weight can lessen snoring. In one study, subjects who lost 10 per cent of their body weight saw their snoring drastically reduced afterwards.

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Try a little music

You might also consider taking up a new hobby: the didgeridoo. A Swiss study found that consistently practising the Australian instrument strengthened the muscles in the throats of snorers and was an effective alternative to a CPAP machine.

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Snoring can be a stubborn condition to treat

“It can come from different areas of the mouth and throat,” says Rotenberg. Using an endoscope—a thin camera with a light— doctors can pinpoint where the vibrations are happening, helping doctors recommend effective treatments.

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Be wary of cure-alls

Many drugstore contraptions promise a quick, cheap fix, but buyer beware. Mouth appliances like SnoreRX or Zyppah work by pushing your lower jaw forward, opening your airway wider. “These can be effective if you belong to the low proportion of patients whose snoring is caused by the tongue,” says Rotenberg. “Most of the time, the issue is in your palate, and dental devices won’t help.”

Follow these simple tips to have a better sleep tonight!

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Nasal strips aren’t always the right fit

Nasal strips open your nasal passages wider. But they won’t help if issues with your tongue, palate or throat are causing you to snore.

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There are cheap fixes

Taping tennis balls onto the back of your pyjama shirt really does work, says Rotenberg. Your sleep position can worsen snoring. “Something that forces you to lie on your side can be effective.”

These are the best sleeping positions for a good night’s sleep.

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Extreme cases may call for surgery

For example, uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)—a real mouthful of a procedure—rearranges throat tissues to increase the size of your airway.

Next, discover the serious downside to sleeping in on weekends.

Reader's Digest Canada
Originally Published in Reader's Digest Canada