Have you had to wake up from a sound sleep and find a new place to sleep because of someone snoring? Have you ever woken yourself up by snoring too loudly? Does your spouse or significant other sleep in a different room because your sonorous sleeping skills shake the windows? You are not the only one.
Snoring can be more than just an obnoxious nuisance. It can be an indicator of some serious health problems.
If you sleep alone, you may not even know you have a problem. What you don’t know can hurt you, in this case. If you have someone to witness your sleep time, you should ask them to make a mental note of your breathing and snoring performance and report back to you.
Other options would be to record an audio or video of yourself sleeping. If you are experiencing some of the symptoms of sleep deprivation, you may even want to check into a sleeping clinic for professional observation and assessment.
What Causes Snoring?
Snoring results from the vibration of respiratory structures when breathing pathways are obstructed when sleeping. The uvula, soft palate, the tongue, and the trachea can partially block the breathing pathway.
There are a variety of reasons and influences:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
- Weakened throat muscles
- Obstructed nasal passages
- Relaxants, such as alcohol and other medications
- Sleeping on one’s back
Any one or a combination of these things can result in a snoring problem that may range from merely annoying to severe. This can be as a result of your inherited physiology, or develop over time due to accumulated problems.
Chronic Snoring Can Be Very Bad For You
A very serious health threat is Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA). OSA is when a person stops breathing for unnaturally long periods due to a blocked airway, until the body senses the need for oxygen and jolts the person awake enough to start breathing again. This results in hypoxia (lowered levels of oxygen in the blood), which causes the heart to work harder, resulting in higher blood pressure, which negatively impacts the health on multiple levels.
This breathing pattern may not fully awaken the subject, but it does interrupt the sleep process, preventing the person from reaching the much needed deeper levels of sleep.
Why Sleep Matters
Normal human sleep occurs in cycles of approximately 90 minutes that are repeated over the course of the evening. Scientists have divided sleep into two types: Rapid Eye Movement (REM) and Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM).
There are 3 zones of NREM and that one must pass through before REM sleep is achieved. REM sleep is necessary for the body’s natural maintenance and healing processes.
If REM sleep is not achieved, serious consequences may be suffered. Some of the effects include:
- Muscle pain
- Impaired memory
- Attention span irregularities
- Styes on the eyelids
- Puffiness under the eyes
- Raised blood pressure
- Increased stress hormone levels
- Increased risk of diabetes
- Increased risk of fibromyalgia
It is possible to sleep all night and wake up exhausted. This is because you can be constantly waking up and falling asleep without every really resting deeply, nor even noticing this happening. Some of these symptoms are just annoying, while others can be life-threatening.
If this condition goes unchecked there can be serious consequences that can impact one’s overall health and longevity. Health problems and behavioural disorders may go unchecked for decades as there is no obvious cause. People often assume that it is normal for them and just learn to live with poor sleep patterns and a lower quality of life.
If you are experiencing any of the disorders listed above, you should consider having your sleep patterns assessed by a professional.
Chiropractic Can Help
Chiropractors practice a holistic health treatment that focuses on treating the whole person with the most natural and least invasive methods. At Canberra Spine Centre, we try to solve health problems by treating causes rather than merely alleviating symptoms. We approach breathing and sleeping issues in the same way.
Steps to Resolving Sleep Issues
- Adjust your sleep environment to improve sleep quality. This includes examining things such as:
- light pollution (humans are biologically programmed to sleep in near total darkness – street or appliance lights can interfere)
- sound pollution (try to eliminate noise or adjust the sound environment to encourage sleep – this might be as simple as closing a door so you don’t hear the fridge)
- allergic reactions (there may be things in your sleeping area that are causing allergic reactions that often affect the respiratory system: eg. dust, pollen, pet hair, cleaning chemicals in bedding. Poor ventilation can exacerbate the effect of these)
- medications (including alcohol, that can reduce tone of the throat muscles)
- interruptions from outside (turn off mobile phones, instruct others not to disturb you)
- If you are overweight, take steps to lose it. OSA is exacerbated by extra weight in the neck and facial areas. Losing weight can reduce this effect, and will have overall health benefits, which will enhance sleep quality.
- Sleep on your side. Sleeping on the back increases the likelihood of OSA occurring. By simply sleeping on one’s side, the severity of OSA can be reduced significantly.
- Chiropractic Adjustments:
There are two ways in which the effects of OSA can be worsened by vertebral subluxations (misaligned vertebrae causing nerve interference) in the neck. 1. Vertebral subluxations can alter posture and alignment of the upper neck and jaw, which in turn can influence the position of the tongue in relation to the airway.
- Vertebral subluxations in the upper neck can have a profound effect on the function of nerves in the brain stem, including those that control tone of the glottis. Poor tone of the muscles at the back of the palate can be a significant cause of snoring.
Chiropractors specialise in locating and treating vertebral subluxations with gentle maneuvers, known as chiropractic adjustments. Many of our patients who suffer from snoring report greatly reduced snoring as their spine and nervous system function improve. Of course, there are many factors that contribute to snoring, the spine and nervous system being one of those.
- Via reduced nerve interference, help to restore normal tone to (relax) muscles in the neck, shoulders, and back;
- Reduce nervous system interference to important structures of the body, including those involved with breathing, and
- improve general mind/body communication and function.
This has a positive impact on the effects of OSA, the resultant sleep deprivation, and the physiological damage that comes from not sleeping properly.
At Canberra Spine Centre, we will carefully evaluate your overall health and symptom picture and advise you regarding your environment, diet, and sleep habits.
We will also provide you with a thorough, comprehensive examination of your spine and nervous system function, and provide holistic, sound advice regarding your lifestyle and relevant environmental factors.
At Canberra Spine Centre, we utilize holistic, non-invasive treatment methods to help people recover from a range health issues, including snoring and sleep problems. We will find the source of the problem, inclusive of your overall health, diet, and environment.
Don’t suffer needlessly through this life. Let us help you find a holistic and economical treatment strategy that fits your needs and special circumstances.
Call today (02 6257 9400) to receive our special offer for a thorough examination and consultation.