Is snoring causing a rift in your relationship? It affects about 90 million adults in America, but there is more-to-the-snore than it being just a nightly nuisance.
In severe cases, snoring could be a sign of a life-threatening medical condition called sleep apnea.
In the U.S., sleep apnea is as common as type 2 diabetes.
Left untreated, it can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease and even stroke.
So if the sounds of your slumber are sending others up the wall, here’s what you should know.
Severe snoring is just one indicator of obstructive sleep apnea — or OSA — a condition where one’s airway is blocked off during sleep, leading to repetitive pauses in breathing.
“I had events where I would go 90 seconds without breathing.”
For Victor Vargas, the signs of his sleep apnea weren’t so loud and clear.
“I had the most severe sleep apnea… oxygen down to 80%. In the hospital, when they call code blue, oxygen level is down to 80%,” Vargas says.
But help came for this father of one when he decided to hit the hay at a sleep lab, similar to the Comprehensive Sleep Center at Good Samaritan Hospital, where patients are monitored throughout the night.
Doctor Sterling Malish says that many times the answer to sleep apnea is a c-pap ‘mask.’
It is connected to a machine that generates airway pressure to split the airway open and is very effective in eliminating snoring and OSA.
“I use a nasal pillow… It was like night and day. So much energy. All because of a good night’s sleep,” says Vargas.
But what about those over-the-counter ‘cures’ that promise to remedy the rumble?
Many will claim that they’ll cure snoring, they’ll cure sleep apnea. But for a lot of these products, that’s simply not true.
You probably won’t find solace in a strip or a spray. Instead, try this trick to stay on your side.
“As simple as taking a fanny pack, fill it with golf balls or tennis balls, reverse it around your waist,” Dr. Malish recommends.
“During the night you happen to roll over you get a little reminder, hey you need to stay on your side.”
Other tips that might put your snoring to rest include losing weight, avoiding alcohol before bedtime and quitting smoking.
Doctors say every method is trial and error for each individual, and always check with a professional first — because not all snoring equals sleep apnea.