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What's the solution for snoring?

From gentle humming and whispery whistles to loud snorts and rumbles that rival a freight train, snoring is common. (Whether you want to admit it or not.)

About half of the U.S. population snores at some point in their lives, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). It’s also estimated that 25 percent snore regularly.

Habitual snoring can be disruptive (and obnoxious) for you and your bed partner. And for some people, it can become a chronic problem that’s far more than just annoying.


What causes snoring?

Snoring can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Nasal congestion triggered by allergies, sinus problems or a cold.
  • Weight. Excess weight is one of the most common causes of snoring. Additional bulkiness in the neck can cause airways to narrow.
  • Age. In children, snoring may be caused by swollen tonsils and adenoids. Snoring can also worsen with age as muscle tone decreases and causes airways to shrink.
  • Alcohol and sedatives. Drinking alcohol or taking sedatives (including sleep aids) can relax the upper respiratory tract and increase the likelihood of snoring.
  • Smoking. Cigarette smoking can inflame and swell upper airways.
  • Back sleeping. Blame gravity for this one. Lying on your back causes the base of your tongue and soft palate to collapse to the back of the throat.
  • Gender. Problem snoring is more common in men and individuals assigned male at birth. Around 40 percent of adult males (versus 24 percent of adult females) are chronic snorers, according to the AASM.
  • Anatomy. Some people have extra tissue in the back of their throat that can interfere with airflow.
  • Menopause. Fluctuations in hormone levels can cause or worsen snoring.
  • Family history. Research shows that 173 genes are linked to snoring.


When is snoring cause for concern?

Light or occasional snoring is usually harmless. But chronic snoring can affect your quality of life and may signal a serious health condition. 

Snoring is one of the most common symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). In addition to snoring, other symptoms of OSA include:

  • Loud, frequent snoring that disrupts your partner’s sleep.
  • Gasping or choking at night.
  • Interrupted breathing during sleep.
  • Headaches.
  • Waking with a sore throat or dry mouth.
  • Chest pain during the night.
  • Restlessness during the night.
  • Daytime fatigue or sleepiness.
  • Difficulty sleeping.
  • Irritability, mood changes, depression and difficulty concentrating.
  • Poor attention span and behavioral issues in children.

Sleep apnea can become a serious condition if left untreated. Studies show a connection between sleep apnea and other health issues, including high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and type 2 diabetes.  

Health concerns aren’t the only risks associated with snoring. When snoring regularly disrupts your partner’s sleep, it can also take a serious toll on relationships.

If you suspect snoring is affecting your sleep and quality of life but you don’t have a partner to point out your nocturnal habit, consider using a voice-activated voice recorder to monitor your sleep soundtrack.


How do I know if my child’s snoring is a problem?

Just like adults, most kids snore occasionally, which is perfectly normal. But around 10 percent of children in the U.S. snore regularly. 

Noisy night breathing could be a sign of sleep apnea or another medical issue if your child:

  • Snores most nights.
  • Frequently snorts during the night.
  • Snores very loudly.
  • Sleeps with their mouth open and chin or neck extended.
  • Pauses or gasps when sleeping.

If you’re worried about your child’s snoring, start a sleep journal to keep track of their sleep habits and share your concerns with a health care clinician.


What can I do to prevent snoring?

If you snore occasionally and don’t have additional symptoms that could signal a health issue, a few simple lifestyle changes may help reduce or eliminate your noisy nights.

  • Switch up your sleep position. If you sleep on your back, sleeping on your side may help prevent snoring. Easier said than done? A full-length body pillow that supports your body may make the transition easier.
  • Manage your weight. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers weight loss steps that incorporate a healthy diet, physical activity and stress reduction. It’s also a good idea to talk with a health care clinician before starting a weight-loss program.
  • Change your pillow. A wedge-shaped, or other snore-reducing, pillow properly aligns your neck to prevent or reduce snoring.
  • Avoid alcohol before bed. Alcohol not only increases snoring, it can also lead to sleep apnea. Stop drinking a few hours before bedtime or eliminate alcohol use altogether.
  • Quit smoking. Sleep interruption is just one of several unhealthy problems caused by smoking cigarettes. Children of parents who smoke also tend to snore more.
  • Try some nighttime hacks to open nasal passages. If a stuffy nose is causing your snoring, try a hot shower before bedtime, use a humidifier or consider taking a decongestant
  • Stay hydrated. When your body is dehydrated, it can cause throat and nose mucus to thicken and become sticky.
  • Skip the sleep aids. Sleeping pills and OTC remedies with “PM” in the name relax the muscles and worsen snoring.


Indigo can put you on the path to peaceful sleep

If snoring is a disruption for you or your partner, or you have additional symptoms that may indicate a health issue. Indigo is your first step to a better night’s sleep. 

An Indigo clinician will evaluate your symptoms, overall physical health, and sleep habits, and provide recommendations for treatment or lifestyle changes that can help ease or eliminate your snoring. If you need a higher level of care to get to the root of your snoring, we’ll coordinate a referral to a specialist.

With neighborhood clinics across Washington and Idaho, as well as Virtual Care, Indigo makes it easy and convenient to get the care you need, when you need it.   

In-person and virtually, we’re here 8 am to 8 pm, every day.

A better way to get better.

Health care that’s friendly, easy, and centered around you.

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