Six things that can happen when you snore

Snoring is the main predecessor to sleep apnea, a disorder in which your breathing becomes shallow


July 04, 2015
PHOTO: FILE

Snoring yourself to bed? Your bedtime buzzing may be your body’s way of sounding the alarm. Snoring is the main predecessor to sleep apnea, a disorder in which your breathing becomes shallow, and can even stop completely, during sleep.

As compiled from Men’s Health magazine and helpguide.org, you have a lot more consequences in store besides your partner kicking you out of bed.

Read: Morning walk can give you a good night’s sleep

You wake up with headaches

Throbbing pain between your temples is the worst way to start your morning. If you snore, you’re four times more likely to wake up with a pounding headache, according to a recent Norwegian review. Sleep apnea, a condition caused by excessive snoring may make it more difficult for you to inhale oxygen or exhale the right amount of carbon dioxide when you sleep. As a result, the blood vessels in your brain dilate, causing excruciating migraines. You can prevent headaches by sleeping on your side to improve airflow. If this doesn’t help, talk to your dentist or ear-nose-and-throat specialist about wearing a custom mouthpiece to bed – one which is designed to shift your jaw forward and prevent you from snoring while keeping all systems clear while you snooze.

You’re prone to a stroke

If your snores resemble the angry growls of a car engine every night, check what’s really happening under the hood. Snoring puts you at a 26 per cent greater risk of stroke, finds a recent study in China. Researchers believe plaque buildup in the arteries may play a role in the development of both heavy snoring and stroke. What’s more, people who snore very loud also tend to carry more extra pounds than sound sleepers. To sleep snore-free and avoid plaque buildup, start an exercise regimen and follow a healthy diet plan.

Read: Drinker fell off 12ft wall and carried on 'snoring' all the way through dramatic rescue

Your memory fades

Air clog equals brain fog. Heavy snoring can cause your memory to decline an average of 10 years earlier than non-snorers, finds a recent study in the journal Neurology. Scientists think this kind of disordered breathing can cause increased levels of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), a fluid in the brain that’s key for regulating blood flow and brain function. But research shows that if you treat your snoring, you may be able to curb that cognitive decline. You can treat your snoring and save your memory by quitting smoking and avoiding sleeping pills and sedatives.

Your ticker might be in trouble

Habitual snoring combined with daytime sleepiness puts you at a greater risk of developing heart disease as you age, finds a study in the journal SLEEP.“Snoring is essentially a surrogate marker for obstructive sleep apnea,” says study author Thomas Rice MD, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea. But if you snore and feel tired the next morning, the condition may be more likely. That’s because sleep apnea keeps you from falling into a deep sleep, he says. If you experience trouble falling asleep every night, it’s time to see a sleep specialist to evaluate what’s causing your exhaustion, says Dr. Rice. The prescription is often a simple fix like nixing alcohol-based meds before bed, or dropping a few pounds.

You get hurt on the job

Impaired sleep patterns due to loud snoring is linked to increased workplace injuries, finds a recent Canadian report. Fragmented sleep patterns impact your brain’s ability to rest and recuperate overnight. And when you can’t clear the mental fog, your on-the-clock performance suffers, leaving you prone to making potentially harmful mistakes, such as hitting reply-all on a private email or backing into your boss’s car. When left untreated, sleep disorders that include symptoms of loud snoring alone may lead to higher rates of more serious injuries, researchers say.

You feel miserable

About 50 per cent of people who snore report symptoms of depression, finds an Australian study. The researchers believe it’s a two-way street - snoring may contribute to depression, and vice versa. When you’ve got the blues, the chemistry in your body is altered, which can mess with your stages of sleep and make sleep apnea more likely to occur. But at the same time, apnea can lead to depression due to sleep deprivation. The solution is simple - exercising three days a week can cut your chances of developing depression by 19 per cent, suggests a study in the journal JAMA Psychiatry. Symptoms can be reduced immediately after a workout, but it takes weeks of consistency to see a continual effect.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 5th, 2015.

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