Snoring can impact people’s lives and relationships. It seems like a trivial issue, but it has serious consequences. Anyone who has a snoring partner knows this too well. Just as you are ready for bedtime and looking to get some rest after a tiring day at work, your snoring partner next to you makes it impossible. You feel frustrated and helpless at the same time. If you’re struggling with how to deal with snoring, here are some tips that can help you.
Understanding the causes of snoring
Before looking for ways to deal with a snoring partner, you have to know what is causing him or her to snore. There are two primary causes of snoring: temporary and structural.
Alcohol use, use of a sedative type of drug, seasonal allergies, swollen tonsils, smoking, cold, flu, or simply sleeping in the wrong position can cause your partner to snore. These are called temporary factors since they usually occur for a short time and disappear before coming back from time to time. They are not permanent causes.
Smoking cigarettes, for example, can cause the airways to inflame, and allergic reactions from pollen may do the same. Certain medications can cause the muscles around the airways to relax and collapse, causing a blockage in the airflow. Generally, removing these factors can solve the snoring and restore a quiet and relaxing vibe in the bedroom.
Structural causes, on the other hand, are anatomical factors. Excessive weight, for example, can cause fat deposits around the neck that may cause restriction in the nose, jaw, and palate. People with a narrow throat, round head, hypothyroidism, deviated septum, etc., are also prone to snore.
Another structural factor is an abnormal polyp growth around the nasal passage that may be blocking the airflow. Some people also suffer from anatomical irregularities such as soft palate muscle or muscle tone around the throat that makes regular breathing while asleep difficult.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
Another factor that you must consider is the possibility of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
OSA happens when the muscles around the throat relax too much to allow breathing but block the airways. This is common among people with excess weight and obesity problems.
OSA is a common indicator of health risks such as diabetes Type 2, heart disease, and strokes.
So what can you actually do about your partner’s snoring?
Since people snore for many reasons, identifying the reasons for the snoring can help you narrow down your options and find the best course of action and effective treatment specific to the cause.
Snoring, if left untreated, can have health consequences, including daytime drowsiness, lack of focus, interrupted sleep, low libido, etc. It also entails other potential medical risks like increased blood pressure, an irregular heartbeat, strokes, reduced immunity, heart disease, and even mental issues like depression.
How to help your partner manage, minimize, or even treat snoring
First and foremost, you need to ask yourself – how long have you been aware of your partner’s snoring? Is it only a recent condition, or has it been going on for a while? Take a hard look at your partner’s habits, such as alcohol and cigarette use, especially at night. Simply getting rid of these two can make a difference for some people.
The best person to diagnose your partner’s snoring is a doctor, particularly a sleep doctor.
Sleep doctors assess the patient’s body mass, sleep position, and any structural factors that may cause snoring. From there, the sleep doctor can provide tips on managing and minimizing snoring. In most cases, the doctor may require a sleep test to fully assess the patient’s sleeping habits and diagnose sleep apnea.
The doctor may recommend using a dental appliance or CPAP machine to help the patient breathe better at night and possibly get rid of snoring.
What you can do to get better sleep
In the meantime, you don’t have to suffer and compromise your sleep. Here are some tips to get your much-needed rest.
There are soft earplugs specially designed for sleeping. This simple tool can block your partner’s annoying snoring sound, helping you sleep better.
Get a white noise machine
If ear plugs don’t work, have background noise in your bedroom, such as a white-noise machine, to help block and drown out the snoring sound of your partner. You can also try nature sounds or classical music.
Ask your partner to sleep on their side
When you sleep on your back, the muscles around your throat and the backside of your tongue and surrounding tissues get pulled back and inside the airway. They get pulled too far back, causing a blockage in the airway. When this happens, it can cause the air to vibrate inside their airway and cause the familiar rattling sound of snoring.
Thus, one of the easiest ways to minimize snoring is to sleep on your side. If your partner is not used to sleeping on their side, you can get a special side-sleeping pillow or pile a couple of pillows behind them to prevent them from rolling on their back while asleep.
Offer your partner water before sleep
Water can help keep the mouth hydrated. A dry mouth or throat can amplify the snoring sound as the tissues around the throat lose flexibility. Thus, help keep your partner hydrated by reminding them to drink water before bedtime to moisten their air passage.
While this is not ideal, this is the best thing you can do for yourself to get the good night’s sleep you deserve. Of course, remember to make time for intimacy at different hours.
The best thing you can do to address your partner’s snoring is to seek professional help. Snoring may be common, but this is why many ignore it or push the issue aside. However, the consequences of this sleep disorder can be frustrating and dangerous for both the snorer and their sleeping partner. So, don’t hesitate, get your partner professional help!