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Sleep Disorders

Updated 17 February 2020

Occasional snorer? Silence your snore, save your romance

'While snoring is disruptive to bed partners and can cause frustration in a relationship, it can also be an indicator of a serious health problem.'

Roses are red, violets are blue, sleep experts have a Valentine's Day gift idea for you.

A box of chocolates and a candlelight dinner might seem romantic, but your partner might also embrace a lifestyle change: no more snoring.

"While snoring is disruptive to bed partners and can cause frustration in a relationship, it can also be an indicator of a serious health problem," said Dr Kelly Carden, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM).

"Snoring is a common symptom of obstructive sleep apnoea, a chronic disease that involves the repeated collapse of the upper airway during sleep," she explained in an AASM news release. "When sleep apnoea is untreated, it can increase the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stroke and other health problems."

For occasional snorers, the AASM offers this advice:

  • Lose weight. Weight gain can worsen snoring and lead to obstructive sleep apnoea. Shedding a couple of kilograms might eliminate your snoring.
  • Change positions. Some people find that they snore while sleeping on their back. If this is the case, try sleeping on your side instead.
  • Avoid alcohol, muscle relaxants and certain medications. Substances like these can relax your throat or tongue muscles, leading to snoring.
  • Get a diagnosis. If you're snoring loudly each night, talk to your doctor about it or consult a sleep specialist.

Image credit: iStock

 

Ask the Expert

Sleep disorders expert

Dr Alison Bentley is a general practitioner who has consulted in sleep medicine and sleep disorders, in both adults and children of all ages, for almost 30 years. She also researches and publishes on a number of sleep-related topics both in formal research journals and lay publications including as editor of Sleep Matters, an educational newsletter on sleep disorders for doctors.

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