Why do I snore?
Cranky spouses. Air mattresses in the guest room. Next-day exhaustion.
These are all symptoms of a very common habit: snoring.
Social snoring has minimal medical consequences, but can make sleeping difficult for the snorer or bed partner. Men tend to snore more than women, as do people who are overweight. Weight loss can sometimes improve snoring.
Snoring may be decreased by:
- Sleeping on your side or stomach
- Avoiding food and drugs that make you sleepy, such as alcohol, sleeping pills and antihistamines
- Maintaining a regular sleeping schedule with adequate time for sleep
- Achieving a healthy weight
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea causes disruption of sleep, resulting in chronic fatigue with possibly fatal consequences (falling asleep when driving is thought to be a significant cause of traffic accidents – driving when sleepy can be as dangerous as driving when drunk). Obstructive sleep apnea has also been implicated in high blood pressure, heart disease and headaches.
Snoring in children
Snoring in children may cause sleep issues and result in attention problems and hyperactivity. Snoring in children is almost always caused by large tonsil and adenoids and can usually be cured by removing the tonsils and/or adenoids.
Snoring in adults
Snoring in adults can be caused by mechanical airway obstruction (large tonsils, stuffy nose, large tongue) but more often is caused by diminished muscle tone in the muscles which hold the airway open, which allows the airway to collapse.
Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea caused by mechanical airway obstruction can sometimes be relieved by surgery on the nose or throat. This surgery is often performed as an outpatient surgery at MultiCare Health System. Insufficient muscle tone in the airway is more difficult to remedy with surgery and is usually treated with a device that holds the airway open with positive pressure
Schedule a consultation with a MultiCare Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist if your, or a family member’s, snoring is keeping you up at night.
Zavie Newmark, MD, is an otolaryngologist (ear, nose and throat specialist) at MultiCare Gig Harbor Medical Park. To schedule an appointment or evaluation, call 253-530-8000.
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