Fitness And Being Toned Help Combat Snoring
LIZETTE ALVAREZ pens a a cute and insightful piece on snoring and the huge impact that it can have on relationships in this extensive article. Setting aside surgery and breathing devices, guess what the recommended treatment is: lose weight and stay toned.
For millions of women, snuggling up to a partner for a good night's sleep is as improbable as stumbling across a Chanel suit on a Kmart rack. Snoring is rampant, with some statistics showing that as much as 20 percent of the population snores. And there is no question that men snore a lot more than women; some experts say they are eight times more likely to than women.
In large part that has to do with men's thicker neck muscles, since snoring is what happens when air passes relaxed tissue in the throat, causing a full-throttle vibration. Indulging in too many cocktails makes snoring worse for the simple reason that it over-relaxes the body. Growing older, and less toned, exacerbates the problem. Sometimes genes are to blame; some people are just born with a flabby or narrow airway.
Weight gain, too, worsens snoring because the neck grows thicker. As America has gotten fatter, it also appears to have gotten louder, at least during sleep hours. Nowadays, though, many exhausted partners are refusing to sacrifice a good night's sleep.
The result, doctors say, is a modern version of musical beds, featuring legions of annoyed women stomping into the guest room or bleary-eyed men shuffling away after being banished to the couch. A number of sleep-famished, stressed-out partners skip this prelude altogether, preferring to sleep in a separate room to get a night of undisturbed rest.
In many snoring marriages, this arrangement is an open secret: not exactly hidden, but not readily divulged. "It's amazing how many people move to another room," said Dr. Michael J. Thorpy, director of the Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. "People do it for months, if not years. People don't talk about it to others. There is some embarrassment. It's a feeling of failure that we can't handle this, and it comes really from the fact that snoring was not looked at as a medical problem, but something to be laughed about. We are starting to move away from that."
In a survey of 1,506 randomly chosen people released this year by the National Sleep Foundation, 35 percent of those living with a snoring or fitful partner said they experienced difficulties in the relationship because of the disruption, 26 percent lost an average of 49 minutes of sleep a night and 23 percent acknowledged sleeping in a separate place.
Doctors are quick to point out that snoring can cause more than disharmony in a relationship. More than 12 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea - in which the soft tissue at the back of the throat repeatedly collapses during sleep and blocks off air - and a large number of these people find themselves sleepy at work or behind the wheel, irritable and unable to concentrate. In the most serious cases, apnea can lead to high blood pressure, and less commonly to stroke or heart attack as the body struggles for oxygen.
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