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Tips for Quieter Sleep

Does your night involve a series of nudging, pokes and prods in order for you to get a quiet environment to sleep?

socially bothersome snoringOr have you woken up to find a sluggish partner who complains of your loud disturbances in the night? Snoring can be a leading cause of concern for couples looking for a simple good night’s rest. Rather than being irritated for the lack of sleep or feeling targeted for something you have no control over, there are some tips to help make for a more peaceful environment.

Kenneth M. Scott, MD, FACS, is board certified in Sleep Medicine and has 25 years of experience working with patients who suffer from chronic snoring. “Partners who snore loud enough to keep others from sleeping can be a big deal because it leads to sleep deprivation,” says Dr. Scott. And it’s also unhealthy for the individual who snores. Often times, snoring may signal a serious medical condition rather than just an annoying noise. “It can be a symptom of sleep apnea which has many significant health risks.”

But what causes someone to snore? Understanding the issue may help solve the problem. Snoring is the result of tissues in the throat relaxing enough to partially block the airway and vibrate, creating noise. Sounds simple, but it creates complex problems. Obstructive sleep apnea can also cause one to stop breathing periodically and snore. Patients can be monitored and diagnosed in an on-site sleep lab, available at Midwest ENT. Significant risk factors of sleep apnea are high blood pressure, impairment of memory, risk of heart failure, and risk of developing diabetes mellitus, among others. “Bothersome snoring has been associated with artery blockage which can lead to an increased risk of stroke,” adds Dr. Scott. “So it’s always a good idea to get it checked out.”

Sleep deprivation can lead to serious health risks as well. Some simple solutions are to encourage the snorer to sleep on their side, treat any allergy symptoms they may have, and take note if your partner holds their breath or struggles to breathe. There are also treatment options available. “Socially bothersome snoring is often treated by lifestyle changes, office procedures and custom dental appliances,” adds Dr. Scott. Treatment options now include a couple of new minor in-office procedures. A paletine injection or “snoreplasty” helps to firm up and support the upper part of the airway. The other option would be a uvelectomy that removes some of the tissue causing blockage in the airway. Both procedures reduce the potential noise created with air movement within 2-4 weeks after the procedure has been completed.

Some tips for the person who struggles to sleep are to ensure the snoring has been properly diagnosed and a treatment plan is being followed, start using earplugs, or potentially seek a different environment in which to sleep. And don’t forget that snoring is a medical condition that should be treated as such. “There’s a large variability in character and volume of snoring, but there is also variation as to how light a sleeper a partner is,” Dr. Scott points out. So the best course of action is to communicate. A few nudges here and there are fine, but to ensure everyone receives healthy and adequate sleep, it’s best to address snoring right away.

By:  Jennifer Dumke - Sioux Falls Woman Magazine

Midwest Ear, Nose & Throat
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