Does Your Partner Snore? Here’s What To Do To Help
Snoring is not that uncommon. While the causes differ, 40% of normal adults snore regularly, whether they realise it or not. Many people aren’t even aware of their nightly habit and only discover that they snore when a partner or housemate finally lets them know.
The sound your partner produces when snoring while asleep occurs when air is restricted either though their nose or in their throat. When lying down, the muscles in their upper airway relax which creates what is known as ‘airflow turbulence’. When the air is breathed in and out, the surrounding tissue vibrates, causing that familiar shuddering sound. If the muscles relax too much, they can cause a complete blockage in the airway, which stops breathing altogether, causing them to choke or cough to clear it.
Unfortunately, these subconscious responses can lead to disruptions in their sleep patterns and overall sleep quality, not to mention yours too. If snoring continues night after night, the effects can get quite serious. You may find that they experience daytime fatigue, irritability, headaches and numerous other health problems. Additionally, the loud and repetitive sound can impact you each and every night.
What causes their snoring?
There are two main causes for snoring which are related to temporary and structural factors.
Snoring can be caused by a whole number of temporary factors, including sedative use, consumption of alcohol, excessive smoking, seasonal allergies, swollen tonsils, sleeping position and the cold or flu. These factors occur for a short time and are not permanent.
For example, smoking can inflame airways, pollen may cause an allergic reaction, while alcohol and medication can relax the muscles within the throat, all of which restricts airflow. Generally removing these temporary causes may solve the problem and restore quiet to the bedroom once again.
Structural factors are more long-term, and include excessive weight around the neck and the shape of their palate, nose and jaw.
For example, the nasal passages may be blocked due to polyp growth or a structural abnormality, or there may be irregularities with the soft palate or muscle tone within the throat which makes breathing while sleeping difficult.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
But most importantly, snoring can be an indicator of a more serious condition, known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). This condition can pose serious risks to your partner’s health due to diabetes, stroke and heart disease.
What can you do about their snoring?
There are many reasons as to why people snore as well as a wide range of effective treatments, which is why so it’s important to understand the specific causes behind their situation. Once they understand the reasons behind it, they can find the best solutions specific to their case and get a better night’s sleep- for the good of both them and you.
Tips to Help Stop the Snoring
The first things to do if you have a snoring spouse is to try to manage the snoring itself so you can try and restore the quality of sleep you both get.
Ask yourself is: how long have you noticed them snoring? Is it only recent or has it been happening for a while? Examining their habits may offer you a little insight into what may be causing the issue in the first place.
Addressing the factors discussed above, can greatly help your partner overcome their nightly snoring. For example, reducing their consumption of alcohol or cigarettes, especially at night, can go a long way in ruling those causes out.
In addition to this, you could try the following:
If your snoring partner sleeps on their back, you can try using a pillow to elevate their head or turn them onto their side. These positions place them more at an angle and help open the airways as they sleep, reducing the vibrations in their throat.
Different Sleep Schedules
If you know your partner snores, perhaps a simple solution may be to go to bed earlier than they do. This will give you plenty of time to relax and fall asleep in silence before they join you later on.
Playing some gentle sounds, such as white-noise or soft instrumental music may help mask the snoring noise so that you can improve the quality of your sleep.
The removal of the noise may be a temporary solution to the snoring issue. Wearing soft and non-invasive earplugs will help you block out the sound so you can get a better night’s sleep.
Being overweight is quite a common cause of snoring, as excessive weight can increase the tissue size around the neck and place extra pressure on breathing passageways. Improving their diet in order for them to lose a few kilograms may ease this issue.
Having a dry mouth or throat can amplify snoring sounds as the passageways lose their flexibility. Keeping a glass of water conveniently beside the bed will help your partner remain hydrated before and during the night which will soften the passageways and allow easier breathing.
While it’s never desirable for partners to sleep apart, especially over longer periods of time, sleeping in different rooms during the night can help you get some relief.
When Should You Go See A Doctor?
It’s easy to overlook snoring because people often underestimate how serious it can be. If the above tips are simply not working and you’re noticing that your partner’s snoring is just not improving, it’s time to book a visit in to see your Doctor or sleep professional.
Loud and reoccurring snoring may be an indication of other problems that your Doctor may need to diagnose. If you hear your partner snorting or gasping for air frequently throughout the night, it could mean they have Obstructive Sleep Apena.
People who suffer from sleep apnea have a chronic condition of restricted airways, meaning that they snore frequently. Unfortunately, their snoring is so severe that they actually stop breathing for a few seconds at a time throughout the night, causing them to briefly wake up with a choke, take in the oxygen they need, and resume breathing. This happens over and over again all night, often without them even realising. Besides your personal discomfort from the noise, waking up like this is quite stressful on their body and not conducive to a restful night of sleep.
When left untreated, this condition can also lead to an increase in risk of suffering from depressed moods, car accidents and injury.
At your appointment, your Doctor or sleep professional will ask you both several questions about your sleeping habits and encourage you to take a home sleep test or test at a sleep clinic to monitor your snoring habits and investigate your condition further. This is the most accurate way of determining the right solution for your loved one, so you can rest at ease.
About Dental Sleep Medicine at The Beacon Dental Clinic
As director of the Beacon Dental Group Dr Edward G Owens is a hospital affiliated Prosthodontist. He has been working successfully with oral appliances to treat snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea since 1997.
He collaborates with major hospital sleep disorder clinics and has been active in the management of oral sleep appliances and the development of Dental Sleep Medicine in Ireland.
Dr Ed Owens is one of a very small number of dentists qualified with recognised expertise in assessing and treating patients with Sleep Disordered breathing in Ireland. He is certified by the American Board of Dental Sleep Medicine as having undergone specialist education and qualification to best manage patients with a range of Sleep Disordered Breathing presentations and guide them into their optimal sleep, with the use of an individualised oral device.
Dr Owens works with physicians and surgeons in the recognised leading centers of established expertise in Sleep Medicine in Ireland, including St Vincent’s University Hospital, The Mater University Hospital, Beaumont Hospital, St James Hospital, The Beacon Hospital and the Hermitage Clinic, amongst many other hospitals around the country.
He has been working with a wide range of patients presenting with a range of Sleep Disordered Breathing presentations successfully for over 20 years. Many patients have been successfully treated by oral appliance therapy and enjoyed the benefits of enhanced sleep, which in turn results in a measurable improvement in sleep quality through Sleep Studies and their overall general health.
Good quality sleep is responsible for a variety of measurable patient benefits including mood, enhanced daytime energy, the control and enhancement of cardiac and respiratory health, amongst many other health benefits. All these benefits are measurable and have been shown to increase overall general health in many studies and published papers.
Spousal or sleeping partner disturbance and anxiety is often a factor in someone presenting for assistance in the management of Sleep Disordered Breathing. Patients making respiratory noise at night, snoring and/or appearing to gasp for air on occasion during the night as observed by a partner, is often the trigger to seeking help.
We encourage patient partners to attend as this often helps through a more detailed understanding, to reduce anxiety, which may sometimes be experienced around Sleep Disordered Breathing conditions.
Click here to download the Beacon Dental Sleep Patient Brochure
Beacon Dental Sleep Medicine Clinic is based in the Beacon Dental Clinic, Beacon Consultants Clinic, Dublin, D18 E7P4, Ireland
Tel: +353 01 5310088| Fax: +353 1 213 5645 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org