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Breaking the Snoring Cycle

Breaking the Snoring Cycle

Snoring

Snoring is a common condition that affects men and women of all ages. People snore when their breathing is partially obstructed while sleeping. Aside from annoying your partner, snoring can indicate a more serious underlying health condition.

According to studies, half of all adults snore sometimes. Snoring occurs when air flows past relaxed tissues in your throat, causing those tissues to vibrate as you breathe, creating those all too familiar and very irritating sounds.

Simple lifestyle changes such as losing weight, avoiding alcohol before bed, or sleeping on your side can often reduce snoring. Alternatively, a new generation of medical devices can reduce snoring significantly, as can surgery. However, these solutions aren’t suitable or necessary for everyone who snores.

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Snoring Causes & Risk Factors

Many factors, including your weight, alcohol intake, allergies and the structure of your mouth or sinuses can contribute to snoring. When you fall asleep and drift into a deep sleep, your soft palate (muscles in the roof of your mouth, tongue, and throat) relaxes. Those tissues can then partially block your airway and vibrate. The narrower your airway, the more the tissue vibrates causing your snoring to get louder.

The following conditions can affect the airway and cause snoring:

  • It’s a guy thing! Men are more likely to snore or have sleep apnea than women.
  • Overweight or obese people often have extra tissue in the back of their throats narrowing their airways causing snoring or OSA.
  • Sleeping position. Snoring is typically most frequent and loudest when sleeping on the back as gravity narrows the airway in the throat.
  • Drinking alcohol before bed can relax your throat muscles contributing to snoring.
  • Chronic nasal congestion or a structural defect such as a deviated septum can contribute to you snoring.
  • A narrow airway (low, thick soft palate) large tonsils or adenoids, can cause snoring.
  • Not getting enough sleep can lead to further throat relaxation and contribute to snoring
  • Having a family history of snoring or obstructive sleep apnea.

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    Obstructive Sleep Apnea

    Snoring may also be linked with obstructive sleep apnea. This is a potentially serious condition where your throat tissue blocks your airway preventing you from breathing.

    OSA produces loud snoring followed by silence when your breathing stops. Eventually, this pause signals your brain to wake up, causing you to wake with a loud snort and often gasping for breath.

    This broken breathing pattern may repeat itself during the night, resulting in broken sleep. OSA sufferers usually experience four or five interruptions to their breathing every hour they are asleep.

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    Seven Common OSA Warning Signs

    Not all snorers suffer from OSA, but if snoring is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, visit a doctor to check for OSA:

    1. Restless sleep including gasping for breath at night
    2. Your snoring is so loud it disrupts your partner’s sleep
    3. Chest pains during the night
    4. Sore or raspy throat
    5. Excessive sleepiness during the day
    6. Difficulty in concentrating
    7. Headaches in the morning

    Similarly, if your child snores, ask your pediatrician about it. Common childhood nose and throat problems such as enlarged tonsils or adenoids and obesity can narrow a child’s airway, leading to your child developing OSA.

    Common OSA Complications

    Aside from disrupting a bed partner’s sleep, chronic snoring if caused by OSA may put you at risk for other complications, including:

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    • Increased risk of developing behavior problems, such as mood swings, outbursts of frustration, or anger, while children can become more aggressive and experience learning problems.
    • Problem concentrating and daytime sleepiness
    • Increased risk of high blood pressure, heart conditions and stroke
    • Higher risk of motor vehicle accidents due to lack of sleep

    Conclusion

    Snoring is a common condition that can affect both men and women, although it is more common in men and people who are overweight. Snoring tends to worsen with age. Aside from its relationship downside, occasional snoring is usually not serious. However, chronic snoring can impact the quality of your sleep, and medical advice is often needed to help sufferers, and their loved ones, enjoy a good night’s rest.

    Featured photo credit: Snoring Couple

    Featured photo credit: Tom Clark via wakeuptothesunriselight.com

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    Elise Bauer

    Freelance Writer, Lawyer & Blogger

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    Last Updated on July 10, 2020

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

    We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

    We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

    So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

    Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

    What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

    Boundaries are limits

    —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

    Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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    Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

    Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

    Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

    How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

    Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

    1. Self-Awareness Comes First

    Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

    You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

    To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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    You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

    • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
    • When do you feel disrespected?
    • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
    • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
    • When do you want to be alone?
    • How much space do you need?

    You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

    2. Clear Communication Is Essential

    Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

    Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

    3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

    Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

    That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

    Sample language:

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    • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
    • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
    • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
    • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
    • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
    • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
    • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

    Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

    4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

    Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

    Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

    Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

    We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

    It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

    It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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    Final Thoughts

    Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

    Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

    Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

    The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

    Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

    Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

    They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

    Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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