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The Unexpected Way to Improve Everything About Your Sleep Quality

The Unexpected Way to Improve Everything About Your Sleep Quality

By now, most of us know the basics about getting good sleep — go to bed at the same time every night, set the alarm for the same time every morning, avoid screens in the hour leading up to bedtime, and, of course, implement a relaxing pre-bedtime routine.

This is all sound advice, but it won’t do anything for you if you’ve overlooked one of the most powerful factors involved in determining sleep quality: snoring.

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If you’re a snorer, then you’re jeopardizing every aspect of your sleep quality, regardless of if you make it a point to go to bed at 10 o’clock on the dot every night, or not. To counteract that, here’s how you can improve everything about your sleep and eliminate snoring from your life altogether.

The Consequences of Snoring

Snoring is very common. In fact, up to 45 percent of adults snore when they sleep sometimes.[1] Snoring occurs when air can’t move freely through the mouth and nose of a sleeping person, causing the surrounding tissues to vibrate and make that chainsaw-tearing-through-a-log sound. It can be caused by everything from nasal and sinus issues to age, sleeping position, medications, mouth anatomy (e.g. bulky throat tissue or a long soft palate), weak muscles in the throat and tongue, or obstructive sleep apnea (a more serious condition that can cause a person to fully stop breathing at times throughout the night).[2]

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Just because snoring is common doesn’t mean it’s harmless. Snoring on a regular basis can not only decrease your sleep quality, but it can also harm your health. For starters, snoring impacts sleep stages in a negative way.[3] The various stages of sleep include the well-known REM (rapid eye movement) stage, as well as NREM (non-rapid eye movement) stages.

During high-quality sleep, the sleeping body cycles through these stages, each of which provides physiological benefits. Unfortunately, snorers don’t get most of these benefits because their snoring disrupts the natural sleep cycle and prevents their bodies from reaching the most restorative stages of sleep.

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Given all this, it’s no wonder snorers often suffer from daytime sleepiness! But that’s not the only consequence of snoring. The sleep deprivation and low-quality sleep[4] resulting from snoring can cause chronic fatigue, frequent headaches, weight gain, irritability, difficulty concentrating or remembering things, and an increased risk of stroke, heart disease, arrhythmias, mental health issues, such as depression, and even shorter lifespans.[5] And if your snoring prevents your partner from getting quality sleep, it can also place a strain on your relationship.

So if you’re suffering from any of these conditions, or you simply want to improve your sleep quality, it’s possible snoring might be the root cause of all your sleeping woes.

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Simple Ways to Stop Snoring

If you’ve determined that snoring is destroying your sleep quality, then you’re not without hope. The following strategies can help you reduce your snoring and significantly improve your sleep:

  • Stop smoking and drinking. Smoking inflames the tissues in your upper airway, which significantly ups the chance that you’ll snore.[6] Alcohol, meanwhile, relaxes your throat muscles, which can also increase your snoring risk. While it’s best to quit smoking entirely, you don’t need to go cold turkey on alcohol—just try to avoid drinking within three hours of your bedtime.
  • Work out. Regular exercise doesn’t just tone your arms and legs—it can also strengthen the muscles in the throat, which can reduce your chances of snoring.[7] Working out can also facilitate weight loss, which has been linked to a reduction in snoring.
  • Get tested. If you suffer from chronic nasal or sinus issues, then you may have allergies you aren’t aware of.[8] Getting tested will allow you to identify irritants in your life and remove them so you’re less likely to experience congestion, which can cause snoring. It might also be helpful to clear your nasal passages before bed using a decongestant, nasal strips, or a Neti pot.
  • Use a humidifier. Some people find their congestion and/or allergies are aggravated by dry air, so using a humidifier in your bedroom at night might provide relief from these conditions—and, by extension, relief from snoring.
  • Prioritize hydration. When we’re dehydrated, everyday secretions from our nose and soft palate become more viscous, which can up the chances of snoring. In contrast, staying hydrated allows fluids to move more easily through the body. This also allows air to flow more easily through the mouth and nose (instead of getting caught in sticky secretions), which can limit snoring.
  • Keep it clean. Dust and dust mites can provoke allergies that, in turn, provoking snoring. Make a point of dusting the surfaces in your bedroom once a week, and clean (or replace) your pillows on a regular basis in order to limit your exposure to potential allergens.
  • Help your partner. If your partner is suffering from poor sleep quality as a result of your snoring, then it will be good for their health (and your relationship) if you do what you can to ease their plight. Consider experimenting with different sleeping positions to see if any of them help, purchasing ear plugs for your partner, or investing in a mattress for couples, which can help increase your partner’s physical comfort and thereby potentially make it easier for them to stay asleep through your snores.[9]
  • Consider oral devices. If the other strategies on this list aren’t providing relief, it might be time to up the ante with an oral device. There’s a tremendous variety of mouthpieces on the market, so expect to experiment with several brands until you find the one that works best for you.

If you’ve tried all the strategies on this list and nothing has helped your snoring, then it’s probably time to consult a physician. Snoring can seriously impact your sleep quality and, by extension, your quality of life—so it’s worth investing the time and energy to figure out how you can quit snoring for good.

Reference

[1] WebMD: 7 Easy Fixes for Snoring
[2] Mayo Clinic: Snoring Causes
[3] Quit Yer Snoring: Stages of Sleep and How they Affect Your Snoring
[4] National Sleep Foundation: Snoring and Sleep
[5] Everyday Health: 11 Health Risks of Snoring
[6] Psychology Today: Snoring May Be a Warning of Serious Health Risk
[7] HelpGuide: How to Stop Snoring
[8] The Sleep School: Top Ten Tips to Stop Snoring
[9] National Sleep Foundation: Partners & Sleep

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Kenny Kline

Entrepreneur

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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