Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

The High Cost of Snoring

Newspaper article The Northern Star (Lismore, Australia)

The High Cost of Snoring

Article excerpt

SNORING denies you restorative deep sleep. It can set you up for illness, irritation, high blood pressure, chronic tiredness and poor performance at work.

And you're not even the snorer.

No, it's the bed partner of the snorer - we'll call them the snoree - who suffers. The spouse or partner 'has a sleep disorder, too', says Greg Kantner, clinical co-ordinator at St Anthony's Hospital's Sleep Disorders Centre in St Petersburg, Florida.

It's not just annoying to be taking your pillow and blanket down the hall to the guest room when you just can't stand the snoring another minute; it can be hazardous to your health.

"The spouse or partner is tired all day. They talk to their doctor and say, 'I'm tired and I don't know why, I slept all night and I don't feel refreshed'," Kantner said.

Even if the snoree wasn't actually awakened, she - it's often she - is denied the deep stages of sleep that everyone needs for real rest. In extreme cases, her hearing may be damaged by what ought to be the sound of silence but instead is the bray of snoring.

It's no surprise, therefore, that it's often the snoree partners who insist that the snorer get some help.

"It's the tired spouse who forces them to come in," Kantner said.

Who snores?

Mostly men, and mostly between the ages of 40 and 70, but children as young as five have been treated, and there are plenty of female snorers. Snoring is reported in 44 per cent of men and 28 per cent of women between the ages of 30 and 60, says Dr Jose Perez of the Sleep Disorders Center at St Joseph's Hospital in Tampa, Florida.

Snoring may taper off with old age, possibly as snorers stop smoking or drinking alcohol, both of which increase the risk of snoring.

Why do we snore?

When you breathe through your mouth, the uvula and soft palate at the back of the throat start to vibrate. If the airflow in the breathing passage is blocked, the sound becomes louder. While we're asleep, the muscles of the tongue and jaw relax and the soft palate can fall back into the throat, blocking the airway. You snore.

How to stop

A couple of ways to stop snoring are to lose weight or otherwise reduce that floppy tissue in the back of the throat that's cutting off the air supply. …

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