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Trying to sleep next to a snoring partner who snores like a bear with a chainsaw might lead you to wonder what you did wrong in a past life. The good news is that you aren’t alone! A recent study found that 1 out of every 4 couples say they have gone as far as sleeping in separate beds to try and block out snoring to catch a much-needed snooze. The stress that snoring can put on a relationship is no joke, and it can even lead to divorce! Relationship strain aside, there are many other ways that snoring can negatively affect one’s life, like causing sleep fragmentation. Sleep fragmentation is a term to describe brief interruptions in sleep that occur repeatedly during the night. These breaks in sleep caused by snoring can impact the natural sleep schedule and circadian rhythm of the snorer (and the snorer’s partner). Here’s why that’s cause for concern.
There’s no question about it: snoring leads to sleep fragmentation that can cause your internal clock to be all over the place. But that’s not all. Sleep fragmentation can also lead to issues with memory, difficulty focusing, headaches, and fatigue throughout the day. You may also release more cortisol, which can lead to mood swings, delayed motor performance, and even decreased overall happiness. When sleep becomes fragmented, parasympathetic activation becomes more difficult.
Parasympathetic activation refers to the activation of the parasympathetic nervous system, which relaxes the body after a response to stress during a fight or flight situation. When parasympathetic activation takes place, the mind and body relax and begin to reduce anxiety. This process boosts the immune system and decreases blood pressure. If you sleep next to a snorer, chances are that you and your partner are both experiencing sleep fragmentation. Luckily, we’ve put together some strategies that you can use to make your life easier while sleeping next to a snorer.
We get it. Squeezing the pillow over your head just isn’t cutting it anymore. If you want to know how to block out snoring and get some shut-eye, try out the following tactics:
Noise-canceling headphones work by detecting low-frequency sounds and diffusing them before they can reach the ear. Small microphones on the outside of these headphones detect background noises. Once a noise is detected, a technology called Active Noise Cancellation, or ANC, works to neutralize the sound by creating an out-of-phase noise that cancels it out. Noise-canceling headphones are typically more expensive than traditional headphones.
A white noise machine may be effective in filtering out the sounds of your partner snoring. These machines create ambient noise, which some insomniacs need to help them fall asleep. White noise machines can also help ease ear-ringing in tinnitus sufferers by blending sounds.
It might seem like a simple fix, but lying down and relaxing into sleep before your snoring partner is a viable solution. That said, this method doesn’t ensure that light sleepers will stay asleep once their partner comes to bed.
While it sounds like an old wive’s tale, sleeping on your back really can increase your chances of snoring. This is because the position forces your mouth and tongue to relax, causing it to push backward and block your airway. By sleeping on your side, you lessen the chances of your airways compressing.
Some snoring can be triggered by breathing in dry air, which can lead to a dry mouth. Since humidifiers add moisture back into the air, they can help alleviate this issue. If you wake up with a dry throat or have dry skin, you and your partner may benefit from adding a humidifier to your bedroom. Drop-in some eucalyptus oil for an additional fresh-smelling benefit.
Aside from wondering how to block out snoring, you may be curious to know what causes it in the first place. When air can’t pass freely through the nose and throat while sleeping, the surrounding tissues repeatedly press against each other with each breath. The vibrations that this sensation causes are what lead to the dreaded sound of snoring. People with a larger amount of nasal or throat tissue may be more prone to snoring.
Snoring can also be caused by sleep apnea. Symptoms of sleep apnea include: pauses in breathing while sleeping, chest pain at night, a sore throat in the morning, or gasping while sleeping. If you suspect that you or your partner may have sleep apnea, visit a specialist that can order a sleep study. Mouth breathing can also cause snoring, as it isn’t an optimal breathing method. The lower jaw opens and decreases the support of the soft palate. Then, tissues fall backward and passageways become constricted. Snoring isn’t the only issue that breathing through the mouth at night leads to.
Mouth breathing may seem like it isn’t a big deal, but it can lead to an array of health problems. Since an open mouth dries out saliva, mouth breathing can be harmful to your dental health. Saliva coats the mouth and teeth to prevent the growth of bacteria. Without it, bacteria and plaque thrive. Breathing through the mouth at night can also cause an irregular bite, jaw pain, and bad breath. Those who mouth breathe may wake up with a sore throat, runny nose, fatigue, or hoarse voice. In serious cases, it can even lead to speech problems, difficulty swallowing, or facial deformities. That’s why nasal breathing is the key to preventing larger health issues (and stopping snoring once and for all).
By breathing through the nose, the tongue can stay affixed to the roof of the mouth. This means that it is less likely to fall back where it can obstruct passageways, which leads to snoring. There are other neat benefits to nasal breathing besides helping you get an uninterrupted night’s rest. By breathing through the nose, you’ll allow for more oxygen to enter the bloodstream and reach active tissues. Nasal breathing also allows the body to release nitric oxide, which helps to defend against airborne pathogens.
Instead of searching for a quick fix on your quest to learn how to block out snoring for good, why not try a permanent solution? It’s obviously hard to make sure you’re breathing through the nose while you’re sleeping. Somnifix takes the guesswork out of optimal breathing for uninterrupted sleep with gentle, skin-safe, hypoallergenic mouth strips that keep your lips zipped.
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