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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 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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