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Surgery and Medical

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Q: My husband complains that I snore at night. I’m not sure how I can be snoring because I’m not sure I’m actually sleeping at night! I had a hysterectomy and kept my ovaries last year. Yes, I’m a bit overweight and a bit fluffy! Can you give me ideas on how to get a good night’s sleep and not snore?

 

Dr. Warren's Answer: If you have trouble sleeping, rest assured that you are not alone. It may be surprising to know that more than 50% of US adults will report some form of insomnia during a typical week.

Other issues related to insomnia include snoring and difficulty waking. There are people who have trouble getting to sleep initially and then there are others who can fall asleep easily, but wake up during the middle of the night and can’t fall back to sleep.

Snoring is most disruptive to the person having to listen to it, but it also may be a sign of a much more serious health condition called sleep apnea. It is notable that research has shown that persistent loud snoring along with two common symptoms of insomnia, difficulty falling asleep, and unrefreshing sleep- each significantly increased the risk of developing metabolic syndrome.

Metabolic syndrome is a group of obesity-related risk factors that include; excess abdominal fat, Low HDL cholesterol, High trigylcerides, high blood sugar and high blood pressure. People who have three of the five risk factors have an increase risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

People who snore should be evaluated for sleep apnea and determine the risk of developing metabolic syndrome. Sleep apnea causes movement out of deep sleep into a lighter sleep when breathing pauses. Patients that have untreated sleep apnea do not feel rested because of poor sleep quality. This can trigger stress hormones to be released and may lead to feeling tired all day. Other negative effects of inadequate sleep include; weight gain, mood swings, aging skin, and memory loss.S

Simple snoring that is not due to sleep apnea is caused by relaxation of the tongue and airway tissue. This may be positional and occur when sleeping in certain positions. It can also be due to enlarged tonsils or after drinking alcohol.

There are many possible solutions to treat simple snoring like breathe right strips or snoring mouth guards. Positioning pillows so that back sleeping is prevented may be helpful.

Your partner may want to invest in ear plugs which is the most cost effective solution!


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