Snoring can disrupt sleep quality and disturb those around you. While many people associate snoring with deep and sound sleep, it is important to debunk the myth that snoring indicates restful sleep. In reality, snoring can be a symptom of a serious underlying sleep-related respiratory problem. It can range from minor and infrequent to a sign of a significant issue that needs attention.
“While snoring can be caused by a range of factors, including obesity, alcohol consumption, and allergies, it is often associated with sleep apnea. According to ResMed’s Sleep Survey 2023, 58% of Indian’s consider snoring a sign of good sleep highlighting that they are unaware about the fact that snoring is a potential symptom of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and other sleep-related issues. The lack of awareness about sleep health and its impact on overall well-being is a growing concern in the country,” says Dr. Sibasish Dey, Head of Medical Affairs, South Asia, ResMed.
Snoring that is loud and persistent (chronic) may be a symptom of the sleep disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a potentially dangerous sleep breathing disorder in which breathing periodically stops and resumes. The more widespread type, Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), occurs when the muscles in the throat collapse and obstruct the passage of oxygen into the respiratory system, leading to a disruption in the balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the body.
These startling statistics emphasize the importance of taking steps to prevent snoring and improve sleep quality. Dr Dey shares a few steps that can aid in reducing snoring and enhancing your sleep quality:
- Lifestyle changes
Snoring may be treated with certain lifestyle modifications. Altering your sleeping position and lying on your side will lessen the likelihood of snoring by preventing the tongue and soft tissues from collapsing and constricting the airway. Additionally, snoring can be decreased, and general health can be improved by maintaining a healthy weight and engaging in regular exercise.
- Practice good sleep hygiene
Poor sleep hygiene can cause individuals to be overtired and sleep deprived. A healthy sleep hygiene involves developing healthy sleep habits such as sticking to a sleep schedule, creating a conducive sleep environment, and avoiding stimulating activities before bedtime. This can help in improving sleep quality and reducing snoring.
- Seek medical attention
If your snoring is severe or persistent, you should seek medical attention. The doctor may recommend a sleep study to diagnose sleep apnea, a condition in which breathing is interrupted during sleep. Treatment options may include continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. For instance, a patient suffering from sleep apnea and loud snoring, was unable to get a restful sleep at night and was constantly tired during the day. After discovering his sleep disorder and using ResMed’s CPAP therapy, he experienced a significant improvement in his sleep quality and was able to sleep deeply and restfully. He is now more focused, cheerful, and happy due to his improved sleep quality with therapy intervention.
- Consider using devices
CPAP therapy is the most effective and commonly prescribed treatment for sleep apnea. This strategy entails sleeping with a mask covering your mouth or nose. The mask keeps your airway open while you sleep by directing pressurised air from a small bedside pump there, leading to better sleep quality and it eliminates snoring. CPAP therapy improves sleep quality, manages sleep-related health conditions such as high blood pressure, and reduces the risk of accidents caused by daytime sleepiness and fatigue.
- Avoid stimulants before bed
Alcohol and sedatives lower the resting tone of the muscles in your throat, which increases the likelihood of snoring. Other sleep-related issues such as impact on the REM sleep can be caused by drinking alcohol and smoking.
Therefore, it is crucial to understand that snoring may be more than just a bothersome habit. It can be a sign of an underlying condition, such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea, that requires attention. By taking steps to prevent snoring, such as practicing good sleep hygiene, sleeping on your side, or seeking medical treatment, you can reduce your risk of associated health problems and improve your overall well-being. Snoring can be detrimental if neglected, but with early intervention, you can protect your health and well-being.