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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 September 10, 2019

    7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

    7 Morning Rituals to Empower Your Day And Change Your Life

    Most of your reality is not a given. It is shaped by your expectations, beliefs and thoughts you have formed about it. A big chunk of these beliefs and expectations are encoded into habits you integrate in your daily life.

    Yes, some of these habits are formed unconsciously and can be counter-productive or limiting but conversely, you can consciously form positive habits that will transform and empower your life significantly.

    This is a powerful point of departure that more and more people are becoming aware of. The most common trait of highly successful people is the recognition of the power they have in co-creating their reality through changing the way they think, believe or expect their reality to be.

    One of the most effective ways of changing our belief patterns is through practising and maintaining daily rituals. Ancient traditions had clearly understood the power of rituals in reinforcing habits and changing the way we see and create our reality a long, long time ago.

    Once again, if you look into the life history of any highly successful individual, you will find some form of ritual in their daily routine. Some of these rituals may seem banal or eccentric but don’t be deceived by appearances. Rituals are one of the most effective self-empowering tools freely available at the practitioner’s disposal – that is, you!

    Below are some the easiest yet life-changing morning rituals you can do every day. Of course, you can have your own afternoon or bed-time rituals but morning rituals are extremely effective in empowering your day since they help you charge yourself before it all starts.

    1. Gratitude

    Feeling gratitude and appreciation for those little signs and moments of joy happening in your life is probably one of the most overlooked or underestimated rituals. It is a perfect morning ritual to start your day on a very positive key.

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    The real power of gratitude is that it makes you pick out and focus on what is working in your life – what is in tune with your being as a whole. It is selectively positive. It reinforces happiness and positivity by shedding light on those awesome things, small or big, that grace your everyday living.

    Quite often, we just pick out the pain points, the problems, the bottle necks, whatever it is that is not working in our life and causing friction, anxiety and unhappiness. This is like constantly rewriting the script of your life with a negative or tragic overtone. Your subconscious mind follows faithfully that script you write whether it is a negative or positive one.

    So feeling gratitude is undoubtedly an immensely empowering ritual. Start your day by being thankful for those positive things that happened the previous day or throughout the week. It could be something really petty and small. It doesn’t matter. You might be grateful for an unexpected visit from an old friend, a beautiful encounter with a kind stranger, a new opportunity or whatever it is that shines your way. Do it every morning and see what happens during the day.

    Gratitude-Quotes

      2. Writing Down Your Most Important Tasks

      This is a very practical ritual. Start your day by identifying and writing down from one to three of the most important tasks you need to complete during that day. These tasks are ones which support important long term goals that are aligned to your purpose, passion or general direction in life.

      For example, if writing a book or building an online community are important long term goals which are aligned to your personal growth, then an important task for the day might be finishing off a particular page or two of the book or coming up with fresh content ideas for the online community.

      What is important with this ritual is that you identify these tasks and complete them as early in the day as possible. Of course, you will have other tasks apart from the ones you will write down but, these are tasks which can be tackled later or batched up and carried out in one go.

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      Writing down your most important tasks in the morning helps you focus your day and life according to what is essential. It helps you prioritize and manage your time better. As a result, you simplify your life by applying your focus and energy on what really counts for your overall life progress.

      3. Affirm Your Goals in Writing or Drawing

      This is similar to the previous idea but different in its application and purpose. Writing down your most important tasks of the day is a way to have a concrete structure of action to follow. Affirming your goals, on the other hand, is a very powerful way of crystallizing your vision and goals in life into your everyday mental space.

      Writing down or doodling your goals on a piece of paper helps you externalize those goals by giving them form. In return, they are reflected back in your subconscious mind and thus, reinforcing them and integrating them more wholly.

      An example of this would be writing down “I am achieving greater success in my career” or “I am becoming healthier and stronger through my exercise.” Notice the present tense being used as a way to tell yourself you are in the process already. Remember the life script we subconsciously follow? You are basically modifying the script to be applied now in the present.

      Drawing or doodling can be equally, or even more, effective  (if you are more of a visual person) as it summarizes a graphical representation of your goals. For example, if your goal is to build a new house or live in another country, you can draw the house or draw things that symbolise the country you want to live in.

      write down goals

        4. Practice Qi Gong Exercises

        According to Chinese philosophy, Qi (pronounced ‘Chee’) means the life force or energy inherent in all things;[1] and Qi Gong is the practice to cultivate and circulate that energy in your body. This may sound esoteric or complicated but actually, Qi Gong is really a set of simple exercises aimed at increasing your health and vitality.

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        There are numerous forms and practices available for free through the online media. As a morning ritual, I recommend following these simple exercises by Qi Gong master Lee Holden:

        5. Drink Hot Water with Lemon

        Simply add a slice of lemon in a glass of hot water and drink one every morning. This is a very simple ritual I follow faithfully every morning.

        Apart from being a good source of vitamin C and a great way of flushing out toxins in the morning, it balances and maintains the PH levels in the body, reduces pain and inflammation in joints and knees and helps nourishing brain and nerve cells. Here are some more benefits of drinking hot water with lemon.

        6. Rise Earlier

        The practical advantages of waking up early are obvious.

        For example, you gain more time for doing exercise such as walking, cycling or Qi Gong as suggested above. You gain more time to be with yourself to reflect, meditate or, more importantly, carry out the other morning rituals.

        So rising early can be seen as a foundation for all the other morning rituals. Many, like myself, find that they are more productive in the early hours of the day.

        Also, various studies have shown that there are many other benefits from waking up an hour or two earlier in the morning. Sleeping early and waking up early helps the body attune with the earth’s circadian rhythms thus, promoting more restorative sleep. Other curious results from such studies show, for instance, that early risers tend to be more optimistic and can anticipate and solve problems more efficiently than the norm.[2]

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        7. Listen to Uplifting Music

        Uplifting music can have a direct impact on our mood, especially in the morning. It charges us emotionally and tunes us into a more positive outlook of the day ahead.

        Most people wake up to music or listen to music as they commute to work. Very often, however, they tune in to a radio or randomly pick a playlist from their device. Being more selective and conscious of the music you listen to in the morning can have a great impact on your day and life in general.

        It’s funny how we try to choose music according to our mood. For example if you are feeling down or disappointed by something, you are more prone to listen to music that reflects that mood – for instance blues, sad songs or downtempo music. This has the effect of reinforcing that mood. What you need to do is the exact opposite and retune your mood by listening to music that beats to a different tune than that mood.

        Try to listen to more uplifting music in the morning even if, or especially if, your mood does not dictate so.

        More About Energetic Habits & Rituals

        Featured photo credit: Carli Jeen via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] Live Science: What Is Qi Gong
        [2] Harvard Business Review: Defend Your Research: The Early Bird Really Does Get the Worm

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