Things That Go Gurgle in the Night

   By drodriguez  May 20, 2008

Restful sleep for many may seem like an impossible fantasy. There are many reasons why our sleep can be affected, but if you’re not getting enough sleep because of a snoring spouse or you yourself tend to snore the problem may be bigger than you think. A recent Newsweek article discusses the risks and remedies for people who snore or live with those who do.

If the snoring is persistent and loud the problem could be something called sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a condition in which the sufferer stops breathing repeatedly as they sleep. A person with sleep apnea can wake up as many as 100 times a night without even knowing it.

In patients with sleep apnea, the sound of snoring occurs because of an obstruction or a narrowing of the airway. The more the airway is narrowed the harder it can be for the body to work to push air out which also puts stress on the heart. A past director of the New York University Sleep Center, Joyce Walseben says this is the very reason why people who snore loudly tend to have high blood pressure. “People who are just snorers have higher incidence of stroke and cardiovascular disorders,” said Walseben.

A recent study published in the journal Sleep found that loud snorers had a 40 percent greater risk than those who do not snore to have high blood pressure, a 34 percent greater risk of having a heart attack and a 67 percent greater chance of having a stroke.

Snoring usually worsens with age and affects both men and women about equally. Menopause and weight are thought to be a factor as well. Sleep specialists estimate that somewhere between 12 and 18 million Americans have some form of sleep apnea and do not even know it.

The effects of sleep apnea may sound frightening, but it can be very treatable. Doctors are now giving patients something called a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine (CPAP). If used correctly it is said to improve mental clarity, energy levels, and an overall improvement in one’s mood. The CPAP is a mask that helps force oxygen into the airway while the patient sleeps. When used properly it is 100 percent effective.

People who snore, but do not suffer sleep apnea can take other measures to have a more restful night such as avoiding big meals and alcohol before bed. Refraining from taking antihistamines and other drugs that have a sedating effect is also a good idea as well as maintaining a healthy weight and sleeping on one’s side.

What do you think about the link between snoring and high blood pressure?

Have you or your spouse found a good a way to stop snoring?

Make a Comment

dpopper by dpopper | West Bend, WI
Aug 21, 2008

I just had sleep apnea testing this week...walked out after they put the CCAP on me in the middle of the night and I was unable to fall back asleep. I had terrible panic attacks. But, the sleep apnea is not bad when I sleep on my back. My boss told me he uses the Pure Sleep with great success

bigmouth58 by bigmouth58 | Houston, TX
Aug 05, 2008

I have had obstructive sleep apnes for years and after having a sleep study, doctor prescribed a CPAP machine (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) It's been great ever since. You just have to spend one night in a sleep laboratory where technisians will perform the test. There is also the option of surgery, and the latest is Lasser Surgery which is done in 1/2 hour and there is no recovery time, compared to the conventional surgery that takes about 15 days to recover. The downside of Lasser: it's no covered by insurance yet.

ScarlettBurg by ScarlettBurg | Fayetteville, NC
Jul 27, 2008

My hubby has severe sleep apnea. He finally consulted a doctor because his snoring was severe it kept everyone in our house up at night. Now he wears a CPAP and we all sleep peacefully.

JoJoD33 by JoJoD33 | New Milford, PA
Jul 21, 2008

I was tested several years ago and do have mild sleep apnea. I was told my problems were more teeth grinding. I was fitted for one of the dental appliances, folks don't bother. I would have rather gotten a cpap machine. It's like a hockey puck in your mouth, truly awful and uncomfortable and makes it hard to swallow.

So I still have apnea, still grind my teeth, and am tired all the time. My husband also counts how long I don't breathe, and wakes me when he starts to freak out.

I am without insurance at the moment, but hope when I have it again that I can get a doctor to prescribe a cpap. I would love to just feel better than I do and have for years-it's depressing.

mamarabbit02 by mamarabbit02 | LIVINGSTON, LA
Jul 15, 2008


maxandlucy by maxandlucy | belvidere, IL
Jul 08, 2008

My husband was diagnosed with sleep apnea and was put on the cpap machine. It works most of the time for him. But when he's sick and he can't seem to tolerate it on. That makes for one sick, sleepy and crabby apple. I feel badly for him and wish there was a better way. Has anyone tried the dental appliances u can get fitted for by some dentists?? I figure they'd be very costly and have'nt heard how effective they are. I do know untreated sleep apnea can cause some very serious problems. If u think u have it please get tested.

P.S. there's a chance our young son has it too and will be tested soon by a apnea test study.

msfighter2 by msfighter2 | Chapel Hill, NC
Jul 07, 2008

I was diagnosed with sleep Apnea 2 years ago. I am having gteat difficulties getting use to the c-pap mask you have to wear. Ihave tried many different masks in the last 2 years but nothing seems to work. I know i need to wear it, but i usually only make it a couple of sleepless hours ,before I end up ripping it off. I just feel clostrophobic with anything on my face. Does anyone have any ideas ? I am using the nose buds now but I even find those uncomfortable. I know I need to wear this mask please help. Msfighter

barb606 by barb606 | Duluth, GA
Jul 01, 2008

Finally, after being totally exhausted but unable to sleep through the night, I went to a sleep study. I have mild sleep apnea but the cpap machine has helped greatly. Little by little I am getting back to a more normal sleep pattern - I only get up once! I recommend it highly & by the way, it is also hereditary. My father had it & my son has it, so watch for it in other family members. I have the full-face mask & I find it comfortable. It does not interfere with my turning over in bed. I have been using it for 3 months.

kokoscool by kokoscool | Louisville, KY
Jun 23, 2008

I've been using a C-PAP machine for almost two years because of sleep apnea. Not only do I have the loud snoring, but my life partner used to lie awake and time how long I went without breathing. When I got to 2.5 minutes, he'd wake me up.

When I had the sleep study done at a local hospital, I found out that not only did I stop breathing for nearly 3 minutes at a stretch, but every time I went into REM sleep (you know: the kind they say is so important for sanity, rest, recovery) I'd stop breathing. Over and over and over all night long.

So now I sleep with a C-PAP every night. It doesn't really go with darling lingerie, but a good night's sleep has done a lot for our sex life.

I'd take the facemask off in the middle of the night for the first month or so, but since then I've worn it consistently. At first it scared our dog, but he's adjusted to the sound. And I'm happier when I wake up in the morning.

MsElfCs by MsElfCs | Lindenhurst, IL
Jun 23, 2008

I have sleep apnea, and I have a cpap machine. I find that it is cumbersome. I remove it in my sleep half way through the night. However, even though I don't wear it the whole night through, I have been told that it can add 2 years onto my life just by wearing it. Sleep apnea is very hard on the heart.

Go and be tested it is worth it!

cba6777 by cba6777 | Dove Canyon, CA
Jun 22, 2008

stardreamer7880 and laurielew, I can SO identify with you! My husband snores so loudly, and refuses to try to do anything about it. I've tried earplugs - it's taken so long to try to put them in that they are worthless. I've tried rolling him on his side, since many of the worst snoring nights are when he is laying on his back - and he accuses me of trying to push him out of bed! We have now been sleeping in separate rooms, and I feel bad about that. He absolutely refuses to see a doctor about that - or anything else for that matter. I've even suggested for him to try one of those snoring pillows- and he refuses. It's like he refuses to admit he has a problem. And what's worse, is he drinks alot. So on the nights that he's had a few (it's not unusual for him to down a bottle of wine by himself in one night) it's a thousand times worse.

houseofbattle by houseofbattle | HARRISBURG, PA
Jun 18, 2008

My husband went from snoring to holding his breath while he was got scary. Now the doctors have him on a cpap machine. What a relief.

stardreamer7880 by stardreamer7880 | Monroe, LA
Jun 09, 2008

My husbands snoring has gotten so bad I now sleep in the living room rather then with him. I try to sleep in the same room and I swear I think such horrible thoughts about him and want to smother him! Then I feel guilty for it since I know it isn't entirely his fault. Not entirely because he won't go see a doctor about it even when he goes for his yearly check up he won't mention it. He is so sure they will do a sleep study on him and he refuses to have someone watching him sleep (rolling eyes). Whenever anyone comes to visit they hear him clear to the other end of the house its so bad. I told him I was confident if I murdered him in his sleep I could get off on a insanity plea if I got a judge or jury that knows what it is like to live with someone who snores bad!

swapnakamat by swapnakamat | San Jose, CA
Jun 08, 2008

my husband does not get up at nights, but does snore a lot and sleeping on one side helps. I just have to remind him the moment he sleeps straight. Also ear buds help me. But yes, if things worsen, I should get him tested for CPAP!

sampstace by sampstace | GENOA, IL
Jun 06, 2008

Laurielew- don't listen to your friend about pulling on the lower regions!!! My husband snores and if I did that I definately would NOT be getting any sleep!!! I have listened to him stop breathing and counted to the point where I kick him to make him breathe- scary!