Everyone has one friend, one parent, or one ex who's a real snorer. It's all fun and games to tease someone for their snoring habits, but according to a new study, snoring may cause Alzheimer's, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes. So now there's more than one reason to get someone you love to change their habits and prevent snoring. Maybe it's time to visit a sleep specialist, no?
A research team from NYU did a long-term Alzheimer's study on a group of people and found that sleep behaviors that obstructed breathing, like snoring or sleep apnea catalyzed the onset of Alzheimer's by about 11 years. How? Apparently it's due to early cognitive impairment associated with sleep disruption and lack of oxygen to the brain. This was also true no matter how other factors were controlled, so we're talking serious sleep business here.
As someone who (apparently) snores a lot and who has a father that snores so aggressively that the neighbors complain, this news left me pretty stressed out. While a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine can prevent problems associated with breathing disruptions while people sleep, it's a pretty uncomfortable contraption and should really only be used to treat sleep apnea. Luckily, though, there are some very simple tips floating around on how to prevent snoring. If you're a snorer, check these out; I've already tried applying all of them, and they definitely work for me!
1. Change your sleeping position.
If you sleep on your back, try moving to your side, sleeping with your head elevated, or sleeping with a body. Lying on your back can obstruct your breathing and nasal passages, so changing up the way you sleep can not only prevent you from snoring but will also help you be better rested overall.
2. Open up your nasal passages.
If your nose is clogged before bed, the quick moving air could cause for snoring to happen. This is where our good friends the Neti Pot and nasal strips come in. Use either of these things (or both!) to make sure there's plenty of room for air to move comfortably when you're asleep.
3. Stay hydrated.
Is there anything water doesn't help? The Institute of Medicine says women need about 11 cups of water a day and men need 16; dehydration can lead to sticky secretions in your nose that cause snoring, so drink up.
4. Change your pillows.
Most people don't think to change their pillows, but pillows accumulate lots of dust and other allergens that can clog your airways and cause snoring or obstruct your breathing. WebMD recommends fluffing your pillows every once in a while to get rid of dust and replacing them every six months to avoid any pillow-related breathing issues.
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