MANY people struggle to sleep, and this can be made even more difficult if your partner is a snorer.
Snoring is common and most of the time it won’t be anything serious – but there are occasions where it can be a sign of an underlying health condition.
If your partner sounds like they’d be at home in Jurassic Park during the middle of the night, then it’s usually caused by things such as your tongue, mouth, throat or airways in your nose vibrating as you breathe.
The NHS says that this happens because these parts of your body relax and narrow when you are asleep.
There are some factors as to why your partner might be a snorer, so it’s worth addressing them first.
It could be that they are overweight, smoke, drink too much alcohol or sleep on their backs.
Associate professor of clinical medicine at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, Dr Raj Dasgupta said there are eight things to be mindful of when it comes to your partner’s snoring.
For each of the below issues your partner has, you can note down a score of one.
If they have five to eight of these issues then you should see your GP.
1. It’s loud
While it might seem obvious, Dr Dasgupta said that one of the main signs your partner’s snoring needs addressing, is if it can be heard from the other room – through a closed door.
“Some of the very descriptive bed partners of my patients with obstructive sleep apnea describe their partners’ snores as listening to a ‘dying bear’ or a scene from ‘Jurassic Park'”, he told CNN.
2. Feeling tired
People who have sleep apnea will often feel tired throughout the day.
Sleep apnea is a sleep condition that causes breathing to repeatedly stop and re-start when you’re asleep
The main symptoms are feeling very tired, finding it hard to concentrate and having mood swings, the NHS says.
If you’re falling asleep on your lunch break or any time when you’re in a relaxed state – such as watching television, then you might need to see a doctor.
It’s important to see a doctor as sleep apnea is a dangerous condition.
3. No flow
Many people have no idea they snore at night – aside from those who wake up gasping because there is not enough air flowing.
Dr Dagupta said observed apnea is worse than snoring and is a red flag.
Watching your partner stop breathing, gasp for air and snore aren’t normal and that’s something that warrants seeing a specialist.
4. High blood pressure
High blood pressure is a common condition and can cause shortness of breath, the NHS says.
People with obstructive sleep apnea will often suffer with high blood pressure due to the stress the body has been placed under.
When you stop breathing during your sleep, your nervous system kicks in and raises your blood pressure, releasing stress hormones which will gradually also raise your blood pressure over time.
The things you need to know to help your partner stop snoring
If your partner’s snoring is getting a bit too much, there are things you can do to help it
The NHS recommends the below measure:
- Lose weight: If you’re overweight, try exercise and a healthy diet to lose weight. People who are overweight may have extra tissues in the throat that contribute to snoring
- change it up: Change you’re sleeping pattern and Sleep on your side not you’re back
- move it: Raise the head of your bed by about 4 inches
- Stop: Stop smoking and cut down on alcohol
- treat it: Nasal strips or an external nasal dilator
- clear it out: Treat nasal congestion or obstruction – if you have a stuffy nose clear it out
- Adjust: Adjust your sleeping pattern. Adults should aim for at least seven hours of sleep per night
- reduce it: Watch what you eat before bed. Eating large meals or certain food such as dairy can cause snoring
- Exercise: Try an anti snoring exercise- Exercising your mouth and tongue
The NHS states that people who are overweight will often snore.
They recommend if a person’s snoring is getting worse – then they try and lose weight.
People who have sleep apnea are often overweight and struggle with their sleep because of the extra pressure the weight in their mouth causes on the tongue and neck.
This makes it more difficult to breathe easily, without letting out mammoth snores.
We’ve all got fond memories of watching our grandparents or parents asleep and loudly snoring on the sofa after an intense Sunday lunch.
Studies have shown that muscle tone weakens as we age – with experts saying that being over 50-years-old could be a warning sign when it comes to snoring.
These studies do however state that cases of sleep apnea are milder in the elderly.
7. Neck size
Dr Dasgupta said that having a larger neck circumference is a key sign of sleep apnea and that there is a general rule of thumb for measuring your partner’s risk.
“The rule of thumb is always going to be a collar size of greater than 17 inches (43cms) for a male, and greater than 16 inches (40.6cms) for a female will put you at a higher risk for sleep apnea”, he said.
Experts say that your gender at birth could make a difference to whether or not you will develop sleep apnea.
Dr Dasgupta said men are more at risk as they carry more upper body fat than women.
However he added that women are also at risk after the menopause.
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