Snoring

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By Penelope A. Domogo, MD

“Snoring would give sleepless nights to light sleepers like me. For those who sleep like a log, it’s no problem. They just have to sleep earlier than the snorer. People who know they snore loudly should warn their roommates to sleep early.”

One evening, a text from my daughter capped the day with a good laugh. It read “ Laugh and the world laughs with you. . . . Snore. . . . and you sleep alone. Hehehe.”
True. In the Philippines, however, many families don’t have the luxury of having separate rooms for each member. And more often than not, the walls that divide our rooms are made of plywood and a snore can be heard in the next room. In the middle of the quiet night, it could even be heard upstairs or downstairs.
Snoring, especially a roaring one, can disturb the quantity and quality of your roommate’s sleep. But it will also disturb your own sleep. Sleepless nights can lead to low energy during the daytime, irritability and other health problems and may even lead to problems in your relationship with your spouse.
What causes snoring?
Snoring is the vibration of the soft parts of your throat as air moves through the nose and down the throat. Vibration happens when air cannot move freely through your nose and mouth during sleep because of a narrowing of the airway in the region of the throat or nose and that’s what we hear as snore. It is a structural problem.
What causes narrowing of the airway?
1) Men, by nature, have narrower airways. So you would notice that there are more reports of male snorers than female snorers. But was snoring a problem in the dap-ay or ato way back during the time of our industrious and physically active alapos?
2) Fat around the throat and poor muscle tone in the throat is the most common cause. Obese people are more likely to snore than others. But you can be thin and yet have much fat in your throat, depending on your diet. With poor diets nowadays, even children snore. 30 years ago in the Cordillera, snoring children was unheard of.
3) Cleft palate, adenoids and clogged nose
4) Alcohol, smoking and some medications can increase relaxation of muscles in the throat
5) Sleeping flat on your back may cause the tongue to drop back on your throat.
Snoring can be so bad that it causes “sleep apnea.” Ever experienced panic in the night when a loud snorer suddenly stops as if dead, only to gasp after some moments and continue snoring? I remember my Dad (bless his soul) was like that at times. (When we were kids, we slept in the same room with our parents.)
It’s not easy telling a person that he or she snores, except if s/he is your spouse. During conferences or seminars when we are roomed in with other people whom we have met for the first time, I just pray that my roommate doesn’t snore. It is embarrassing to tell the person directly that s/he snores, because sometimes, we also snore. To make things easier, I open the day by asking my new roommates, “Did I snore?”.
In cases where we are bold enough to tell that our friend snores, s/he may not accept right away that s/he snores. This is because the person snoring can’t hear his or her snore. Some kulit friends go to the extent of recording the snore. During our early years of marriage, I would kid my husband (bless his soul) about his snoring and he would retort that I also snore. Our problem was solved when we changed to macrobiotic diet.
Snoring would give sleepless nights to light sleepers like me. For those who sleep like a log, it’s no problem. They just have to sleep earlier than the snorer. People who know they snore loudly should warn their roommates to sleep early.
There are some anti-snoring devices in the market but these are not guaranteed to work. Lifestyle change is still the best remedy for snoring. Especially as snoring can be a sign of a bigger problem, especially if the snoring occurs in any sleep position. As mentioned earlier, snoring is caused by narrow airways thus compromising air exchange which is crucial for our health. It was also mentioned earlier that the most common cause of snoring is too much fat in the throat. So check your diet and eat well- go “native” or “indigenous”. If you are overweight, then do something to normalize your weight. Be physically active to tone your muscles. Otherwise, be prepared to sleep alone. ***
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“Understanding is a fountain of life to those who have it, but folly brings punishment to fools.” Proverbs 16:22**


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