While not uncommon, snoring should not be classified as ‘normal’. Snoring can cause severe damage to your health and relationships if left untreated.
One of the most common risks that come with snoring is fatigue. Some people snore so loudly that they wake themselves up in the middle of the night. This makes getting a good night’s rest difficult, or even impossible, depending on the severity. A lack of sleep over time will have detrimental effects on your health, such as impairing your memory and judgment. Over time, these can lead to critical errors in your daily life that can have life-threatening consequences. You wouldn’t want to fall asleep at the wheel during your commute to work, would you?
Finding the correct snoring solution for you will help improve your overall health and remedy any fatigue you have accumulated in the absence of sleep.
Stroke and heart disease
Chronic snoring increases your risk of having a stroke. When you snore, your airways become constricted, and your breathing can stop altogether. Those who suffer from snoring can experience forms of sleep apnoea, meaning that the amount of time you stop breathing at night can range from just a few times to hundreds. The longer you snore, and the louder it is, the less oxygen gets to your brain, which puts you in danger of having a stroke.
Snoring also puts you at risk of developing abnormal heart rhythms. The more severe the snore, the greater the risk that comes with it. These abnormal rhythms are potential health hazards as they cause your heart to work overtime, which can result in heart disease if left untreated. With enough disturbances during sleep, your risk of death from heart disease could increase as well.
Did you know that drinking can make sleep apnoea worse? Consuming alcohol lowers your breathing rate and relaxes your throat muscles, making you more susceptible to snoring. While avoiding alcohol altogether is the best way to prevent this from becoming an issue, that is unlikely. If you must drink, refrain from drinking within a few hours from when you plan to sleep. Allow the alcohol to run its course to ensure you get a whole night of sleep.
Studies have shown that snoring has a direct effect on delivering babies. Mothers who snore while pregnant are more likely to experience difficulties when delivering, possibly needing a c-section, and the child is more likely to suffer as a result. Children born to snoring mothers have a higher chance of needing care in the NICU due to their smaller size.
You may not notice that you snore, but your partner will. If they are kind enough to let you know, they may request alterations in your lifestyle to improve the situation. After all, now you are affecting their sleep, too! They may ask you to cut back on drinking or lose weight to sleep soundly. If this doesn’t work, your partner may become frustrated and irritable with you due to their lack of sleep, putting a strain on your relationship with them. Making accommodations for them can be successful, but if your snoring continues, further action may be required to remedy that.
Consult your doctor
If your chronic snoring has become a constant issue, you may want to consider seeking treatment. Your doctor may be able to diagnose any underlying health risks associated with your snoring, such as sleep apnoea, stroke, and heart disease. Your doctor can identify the cause of your condition and may recommend surgery, should it be especially serious.
Robert Haynes did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health and well-being.