Coping with a snoring spouse

Snoring is a loud, raspy noise made during sleep. Loud snoring can make it hard for you and your partner to get a good night’s sleep.

You may not know that you snore. Your bed partner may notice the snoring an that you sleep with your mouth open. If snoring keeps you or your bed partner from getting a good night’s sleep, one or both of you may feel tired during the day.

Snoring may point to other medical problems, such as obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can be a serious problem, because you stop breathing at times during sleep. So it is important to see your doctor if you often snore.

Snoring is more common in men than in women.

What causes snoring?

When you sleep, the muscles in the back of the roof of your mouth (soft palate), tongue, and throat relax. If they relax enough, they narrow or block your airway. As you breathe, your soft palate and uvula vibrate and knock against the back of your throat. This causes the sounds you hear during snoring.

You snore when the flow of air from your mouth or nose to your lungs makes the tissues of your throat vibrate when you sleep. This makes a loud and raspy noise, Ghhhhrrrrrrrrrrhhhh

The tonsils and adenoids may also vibrate. The narrower the airway is, the more the tissue vibrates, and the louder the snoring is.

What can I do to reduce it ?

Snoring is often reduced successfully by making some lifestyle changes. These include:
  • Losing weight (if overweight).
  • Sleeping on your side, not on your back.
  • Try sewing a pocket in the middle of the back of your pajama top, putting a tennis ball into the pocket, and stitching it closed. This will help keep you from sleeping on your back.
  • Raising the head of your bed 4 in. (10 cm) to 6 in. (15 cm) by putting bricks under the legs of the bed (using pillows to raise your head and upper body will not work).
  • Promptly treating breathing problems, such as a stuffy nose caused by a cold or allergies.
  • Going to bed at the same time every night and getting plenty of sleep.
What can I do to reduce it ?
Avoiding the use of alcohol and sedatives before bed.
Quitting smoking.
Using nasal strips, which widen the nostrils and improve airflow.
If your bed partner is bothered by your snoring, he or she may try using earplugs or machines that play ambient music or natural sounds. These can block or cover up the noise.

When should I call my doctor ?

If these treatments do not work, you may need visit your doctor.

A device is inserted in your mouth at night that helps you breathe easier. This device pushes your tongue and jaw forward to improve airflow when you sleep

You may need to use a machine that helps you breathe while you sleep.

This treatment is called continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP (say "SEE-pap").

In rare cases, your doctor may suggest surgery to open your airway.

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