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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 20, 2018

    How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

    How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

    Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

    If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

    1. Breathe

    The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

    • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
    • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
    • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

    Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

    2. Loosen up

    After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

    Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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    3. Chew slowly

    Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

    Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

    Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

    4. Let go

    Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

    The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

    It’s not. Promise.

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    Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

    Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

    21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

    5. Enjoy the journey

    Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

    Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

    6. Look at the big picture

    The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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    Will this matter to me…

    • Next week?
    • Next month?
    • Next year?
    • In 10 years?

    Hint: No, it won’t.

    I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

    Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

    7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

    You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

    Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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    8. Practice patience every day

    Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

    • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
    • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
    • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

    Final thoughts

    Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

    Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

    Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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