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In the U.S., we celebrate Independence Day with fireworks, cookouts, and those quiet moments when we remember what the day is there to mark: the ideals of liberty that drove our founding as a nation.
After many firework celebrations were cancelled last year due to the pandemic, many are looking forward to finding a comfortable spot to watch their town’s fireworks show and reunite with friends and family. While we celebrate the independence of the United States, you can also declare your independence from a common problem...snoring.
Declaring your independence from snoring means having a sleep routine that you control, rather than being controlled by your sleep issues.
About half of us will snore at some point during our lifetimes. Around 90 million American adults snore occasionally or regularly, and roughly 25 million or more adults suffer from sleep apnea, a form of sleep-disordered breathing for which loud snoring is often a symptom. That’s a whole lot of Americans who are not in control of our sleep!
Snoring can also have a ripple effect. Partners or spouses of snorers can’t control their sleep either. It might be tempting to think we’re in control of our sleep even when we snore, but science tells us otherwise.
Snoring can cause frequent short awakenings throughout the night. Some of these sleep interruptions, called micro-arousals, are so brief we don’t even know they’re happening, but they are linked to higher risk for heart disease and metabolic disease. At least in part because of these more frequent awakenings, snoring changes the way we move through the five different stages of sleep, which run from light sleep to deep sleep and REM sleep.
REM sleep is also referred to as paradoxical sleep. That’s because, while your brain becomes aroused with mental activities, your voluntary muscles become immobilized. REM sleep begins approximately 90 minutes after falling asleep. During this time, this is what happens:
REM sleep is important for memory consolidation. With REM sleep, your brains activity most closely resembles its activity during the hours you are awake; however, your body is temporarily in a state of paralysis, which is good, as it prevents you from acting out while you dream. A fun fact about REM sleep is that babies can spend up to 50% of their sleep in the REM stage, compared to only about 20% for adults.
When we snore, we’re likely to spend more time in the lighter stages of sleep, and less time in deep sleep. That’s part of the reason why a snoring habit leaves many people feeling tired and unrested after a night of sleep. Sleep apnea also causes these (and other) problems, usually to an even greater degree than snoring on its own. But increasingly, scientific studies are telling us that “simple snoring” is never really simple, and that snoring contributes to health problems, even when it isn’t associated with sleep apnea. For example, new research shows that snoring is linked to a higher risk for high blood pressure, apart from any influence of sleep apnea.
There are a range of ways to address and reduce snoring problems, from making lifestyle changes to using different devices that help you breathe better during sleep. How can you take back control of your sleep and stop snoring? If you find yourself snoring, consider trying the ZQuiet 2-Size Anti-Snoring Mouthpiece Starter Pack. It prevents snoring by stabilizing and advancing the jaw forward to maintain an open airway while you sleep. A mouthpiece is an adjustment as most of us are not used to wearing one at night, but if you stick with it, the results are life changing.
You’ve probably heard that weight loss can make a big difference for snoring and sleep apnea. Sleep experts suggest that even a modest weight loss can make a difference for snoring. And weight loss can also improve sleep apnea (Many people who are overweight or obese have sleep apnea). Read on for some tips for quality sleep while you’re trying to lose weight.
For people with sleep apnea, CPAP is often prescribed as a treatment. CPAP is a long-standing, effective treatment for sleep apnea. It also has a long-standing issue with compliance. Research shows one of the toughest things about getting CPAP to work effectively is getting people to use the device consistently, night after night. Studies indicate many people stop using CPAP after a while—or never even start after they’re prescribed the device. It can also have the below side effects:
Oral mouthpieces are another scientifically proven treatment to help you stop snoring. These mouthpieces move the jaw forward, opening the airway to reduce the vibrations that cause snoring and restore normal breathing. Sleep experts tell us they’re effective in helping snoring as well as in treating sleep apnea and are often an easier form of snoring and sleep apnea treatment for people to stick with than CPAP.