Gone were the days when we hated being told to go to sleep as kids. Our curious and active spirits enjoy the wild outdoors and the many discoveries and learning we make in our daily adventures. But as we grow up and take on more adult responsibilities, rest and relaxation is a welcome reprieve.
But sleep has become more of a luxury for many nowadays. Work is more demanding. When in the past your time after work is just for you and your family, your boss and clients can still reach you now through texts, calls or emails. Technology has become a distraction too. #FOMO or our crazy fear of missing out keeps us glued to our smart gadgets and logged in to our various social media accounts.
It is one of the reasons why we are still wide awake in the wee hours of the morning and it exacerbates a medical condition known as sleep apnea, which has a big impact on sleep quantity and quality. Most snorers suffer from this condition. It requires medical attention because it puts you at risk to certain debilitating conditions.
A 64-year-old Kamal (name changed) suffered stroke recently and hospitalised for the treatment. Later, when the tests were conducted, he was found suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is one of the major causes of stroke.
With obesity, the cases of OSA are constantly being reported in the city. Over the past few years, private hospitals in the city have introduced the polysomnography (PSG) test, which requires a night stay at a hospital. In the test, a machine monitors breathing, heart rate and brain waves. Now, in city also, the test can be done in the comfort of your bedroom.
“Obstructive sleep apnea is a silent killer. People think that snoring is ordinary and ignore it. They take it in lighter mode. But, in reality, it is life-threatening too,” Dr Virendra Singh, former superintendent of Sawai Man Singh Hospital and respiratory diseases expert said.
The best defense against sleep apnea is to educate yourself about it and ways on how to beat it, so snoring is no longer an issue in your life. Couples can better relate to this scenario since wives often have to put up with their husband’s snoring. Many men sleep with a mouthgard on, just so they no longer have to deal with a cranky wife who is lacking in sleep because of their loud snoring.
When air can’t move freely through your nose and throat during sleep, the surrounding tissues will vibrate.
This produces the sound we know as snoring.
People who are prone to snoring will often have excess throat and nasal tissue – or ‘floppy’ tissue that is more likely to vibrate.
If your tongue is in a position obstructing smooth breathing, this will also cause snoring.
What can you do to minimize snoring and hopefully get rid of it for good?
Change your sleeping position
Elevating your head by four inches can help with breathing, and encourage your tongue and jaw to move forward.
Sleep on your side, not your back
One method to try is attaching a tennis ball to the back of your nightwear (this can be done by sewing a sock to the back of a top, then putting the ball inside).
If you roll onto your back in the night, the discomfort of the ball will cause you to go back to sleeping on your side.
Anti-snoring mouth guards can also help. These appliances work by bringing your lower jaw and/or tongue forwards during sleep, which helps to open your airway.
Clear nasal passages
If your nose is causing issues with snoring, rinse your sinuses with saline before bed.
Other ways to clear your nose include nasal decongestant or nasal strips, which can help you breathe more easily at night.
Dry air can irritate the nose and throat, and cause nasal tissues to swell, which can lead to snoring.
Keeping bedroom air moist, with devices such as a humidifier, can help to remedy the situation.
Some people who snore are overweight. Losing weight may help to reduce fatty tissue in the back of the throat. This can lead to less, or even no snoring.
Making some lifestyle changes and consulting a medical expert for help can help people overcome snoring and improve their health. Snoring is often a symptom of sleep apnea, so do not take it lightly. People sleep and no longer wake up because of it. So, get yourself checked and undergo a sleep assessment or even download an app that analyzes your snoring pattern, frequency, and amplitude during sleep. Get back the sleep you have lost and sleep more peacefully from now on.