The ABZzzzs of Good Sleep
Snoring is not normal!
Snoring occurs when a person’s air passage is too narrow. When the tongue and muscles around the air passage relax during sleep, there may not be enough room for quiet flow of air. The problem usually gets worse as a person ages or gains weight.
“People who snore usually have to work harder to breathe during sleep,” explains Marc Raphaelson, M.D., director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Washington Adventist Hospital. “When breathing is difficult, often we are not fully refreshed in the morning, and we are sleepy or fatigued during the day. This is what happens in people who have sleep apnea.”
Adds Konrad Bakker, M.D., director of the Sleep Disorders Center at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital: “People with sleep apnea frequently stop breathing at night, leading to an increased risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, diabetes and daytime sleepiness. Fragmented sleep, second to sleep apnea, also has been implicated in weight gain. Left untreated, there is a tremendous cost, in terms of health, quality of life and work productivity.”
Sleep testing is the only way to find out whether the snoring is just noise or an indicator of sleep apnea. Talk to your doctor about getting help if you:
- Have a hard time falling asleep
- Have high blood pressure
- Snore so heavily that it bothers others
- Wake up in the middle of the night and cannot go back to sleep
- Get sleepy while driving, reading or watching TV
- Feel sore or stiff in the morning
- Wake up with headaches