Published on December 1 in the journal Sleep, researchers discovered a connection between snoring and restless sleep to higher risks of metabolic syndrome, which is a group of risk factors for heart disease, stroke and diabetes, defined as having at least three of the following: too much abdominal fat, high triglycerides, low HDL (good) cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar.
Loud-snoring adults were twice as likely to develop metabolic syndrome over a three-year period as adults who don’t snore, the study said. Adults who had trouble falling asleep also had an 80 percent higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome than adults who slept better. Wake up tired? You may have a 70 percent higher risk of metabolic syndrome than adults who sleep normally, according to the study.
About 24 percent of women and 40 percent of men are habitual snorers, and it’s more common in people who are overweight because the extra bulkiness in the throat blocks the airway, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Habitual snorers, especially those who are at risk for sleep apnea – when a person stops breathing for more than 10 seconds at a time during sleep – are advised to see their doctor. The US-based Mayo Clinic also recommends the following lifestyle and home remedies to prevent or quiet snoring and improve sleep:
- If you’re overweight, lose weight. Easier said than done, but weight reduction can improve snoring and overall health.
- Sleep on your side. Lying on your back allows your tongue to fall backward into your throat, narrowing your airway and partially obstructing airflow. To keep from rolling on your back during sleep, try sewing a tennis ball in the back of your pajama top or T-shirt.
- Use nasal strips. Adhesive strips applied to your nose can help open up the nasal passages.
- Treat nasal congestion or obstruction. Having allergies or a deviated septum can limit airflow through your nose. Ask your doctor about a prescription steroid spray if you have chronic congestion. To correct a deviated septum, you may need surgery.
- Limit or avoid alcohol and sedatives. Avoid drinking alcoholic beverages at least two hours before bedtime, and let your doctor know about your snoring before taking sedatives. Sedatives and hypnotics (sleeping pills) and alcohol depress your central nervous system, causing excessive relaxation of muscles, including the tissues in your throat.