- About Us
Is your partner keeping you awake at night? | Dr. Petter
Does your partner snore? Do you routinely tell him or her to “roll over?” Are you sleep deprived because of the loud snoring? Has the situation gotten so bad that you have resorted to sleeping in separate bedrooms?
Snoring can be a significant issue in a relationship. Approximately 90 percent of adults will snore at some point in their lifetime. Snoring is more common in men than women, and it certainly can become worse with age.
Snoring is caused by relaxation of the throat muscles, soft pallet and tongue as you fall asleep. This relaxation can cause a partial obstruction of the upper airway, resulting in vibrating noises when a person breathes.
The major concern when a person snores is whether he or she might have Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). This condition is characterized by gaps between breaths lasting about 10 seconds, and 30 or more episodes a night. OSA can increase your lifetime risk of developing high-blood pressure, heart failure and stroke.
OSA can cause extreme daytime sleepiness, fatigue, headaches, lead to poor memory and concentration, as well as weight gain and sexual dysfunction.
The solution for snoring is not always easy. What works for one individual might not work for another. The first step starts with lifestyle changes. If you are heavy, lose weight; 70 percent of people who are obese have sleep apnea. Do not drink alcoholic beverages.
Sleep on your side. Since a person naturally moves during sleep, help keep yourself on your side, and therefore diminish snoring, by taping a tennis ball to the back of a snug T-shirt.
Over-the-counter, non-medication sleep aids can be helpful. Examples include nasal strips and various mouth pieces.
If you suffer from nasal or sinus congestion, treat the symptoms with over-the-counter decongestant medications. If the condition does not resolve, be sure to see your doctor.
Consider singing. A study showed that people who spend 20 minutes a day singing can decrease their snoring.
Last, if your sleeping partner says you snore,
then you do. Make an appointment to see your doctor to be screened for OSA if: you experience excessive daytime sleepiness or fatigue; easily fall asleep while watching TV, driving or at work; if you have been told you stop breathing or choke while sleeping.
Overnight sleep studies now can be done in your home and in the comfort of your own bed. Many companies provide services for in-home testing. In addition, there is a significant cost savings to you and your insurance company. “Home sleep” studies cost 50-75 percent less compared to those done in a hospital setting.
Dr. Linda Petter is a weekly feature on KOMO TV/News Radio in Seattle (1000 AM and 97.7 FM) every Saturday and Sunday 7:45 a.m. and 9:45 a.m. and Thursdays during the evening commute. She trained at the Mayo Clinic and the University of Illinois, Carle Hospital. Dr. Petter is chief of the Department of Family Practice at St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way. She is a consumer healthcare advocate, and her books, "Healthcare On a Budget" and "Common Medical Sense", are available on Amazon.com. Visit her website, www.DocForAll.com, or call her office at 253-568-0841.