You may be among the 45% of adults who snore at least occasionally, or you likely know someone who does.
Not only is snoring a nuisance, 75% of people who snore have obstructive sleep apnea, a serious condition that occurs when breathing is disrupted for short periods repeatedly during sleep. If you wake up gasping for air when you are sleeping, you need to see your doctor to receive treatment.
In fact, earlier this month, the Mayo Clinic released a new study by Dr. Diego Z. Arvalhgo, a neurology fellow at Mayo, that supports a link between an increase risk for dementia and sleep disruption. So, if there is a chance you have obstructive sleep apnea, going to your doctor and getting treatment is a health imperative.
There are other medical reasons that may cause you to snore that should also be treated or corrected, such as a deviated septum, chronic allergies, nasal problems, and mouth anatomy.
Natural Sleep Remedies
One of the most common questions asked by patients who snore, or their family members, is whether there are any natural remedies to help you stop snoring. Cases of snoring caused by benign factors, such as sleep position, can often be treated with simple home remedies.
Renee Fitzhugh, owner of Practical Sleep Services, who performs sleep disorders testing and treatment services for Knoxville Hospital & Clinics, said, “Many stop-snoring aids are marketed without scientific studies to support their claims. Instead, try these five natural solutions and lifestyle changes, which may help you reduce snoring. Change your sleep position. Lose weight. Avoid alcohol. Get enough sleep. Stay well hydrated.”
- Change your sleep position. Lying on your back makes the base of your tongue and soft palate collapse to the back wall of your throat, causing a vibrating sound during sleep. Sleeping on your side may help prevent this. A body pillow enables you sleep on your side throughout the night.
- Lose weight. Weight loss helps some people, but not everyone. Thin people snore, too. If you have gained weight and started snoring afterward, then weight loss may help.
- Limit or avoid alcohol. Sedatives and alcohol reduce the resting tone of the muscles in the back of your throat, making it more likely you will snore.
- Get enough sleep. Make sure you get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep you need each night. Sleep deprivation can contribute to snoring.
- Stay well hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids. Secretions in your nose and soft palate become stickier when you’re dehydrated. Healthy women should have about 11 cups of water (from drinks and food) a day; men require about 16 cups.
If these remedies are not making a difference or if your doctor believes you may have a more serious medical condition, you should get the medical testing and treatment to address the underlying condition.
Speak to your doctor about getting a home sleep test or sleep lab study performed at the Knoxville Hospital & Clinics’ Sleep Disorders Program.
You may think that losing a few hours of sleep every night is not really a big deal, and after all, maybe you’ve been experiencing sleep loss for years. But there are serious potential health risks for unchecked sleep disorders, including heart disease, high blood pressure, depression, diabetes, and more.
Many people also don’t really understand the negative aspects of their sleep habits on their bed partners. If your sleep disorder is preventing your partner from getting quality sleep at night, it’s very likely they will display symptoms of sleep deprivation and suffer from similar health problems.
The information on this blog is provided for general information purposes and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, care, treatment or evaluation; nor should it be used in diagnosing a health condition. You are encouraged to consult your health care provider if you or a family member has or suspect you have a medical problem.