Snoring is common and can be problematic for bed partners.
The Sleep Foundation defines snoring as “noisy breathing during sleep.” It is a common problem among all ages and both genders, and it affects approximately 90 million American adults—37 million on a regular basis.
Fortunately, there are some remedies for primary snoring, which means there is no underlying cause of the problem such as sleep apnea, a larger issue and not the focus of this story.
While living with a snoring partner may feel like a lost cause, there are reasons to seek available treatment, and there are ways to remedy this that do not involve surgery.
Snoring leads to loss of sleep for both the bed partner and sometimes the snorer. This begets daytime drowsiness and lost productivity at work or in life. The lack of sleep can cause headaches, weight gain, and impaired driving abilities. In short, seeking treatment for a snoring partner is essential.
“For a long time, sleep has been deemed a first-world problem,” said Dr. Ivia Rivera Agosto, a neurologist with an interest in sleep maintenance at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center. “But getting enough sleep is absolutely essential to health.”
“Primary snoring is caused by a narrow airway and, when the person breathes in, the air bounces creating a loud sound,” Dr. Rivera Agosto said. It may also be related to the body position of the sleeper. “Sometimes, re-positioning the person will help with snoring,” she said. Often people snore when sleeping on their back.
Dr. Rivera Agosto said there are over-the-counter methods you can try that involve a low commitment on the snoring person’s part. These include sleeping with a wedge pillow or a positional control device around the waist to prevent the person from sleeping on their back (these have recently been approved by the FDA). Dentist grade oral appliances require a prescription but can be helpful for both primary snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. They work by slightly moving the jaw forward and opening the airway.
If you don’t have luck fixing the problem, a trip to your doctor may be beneficial. There are ways to evaluate the cause of the snoring in order to remedy it.