Snoring – Not Just an Annoyance, But Perhaps a Warning Sign

By EmilyM

Any way you look at it, snoring can be a real nuisance.

Chances are, if either you or your partner snore, neither of you are getting a good night’s sleep. This can lead to lack of concentration, nodding off at inappropriate times throughout the day and lack of energy. According to a new study published in Sleep, it may be time to take this vice a bit more seriously.

Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh recorded and studied the quality of sleep reported by more than 800 people. Those involved in the study ranged in age from 45 to 74. When researchers followed up with this same group nearly three years later, those who had reported snoring were twice as likely to have many risk factors for heart disease than those who do not snore.

So how can this be?

Well it basically comes down to the quality of sleep you are getting. Those who experience difficulty when trying to fall asleep at least 3 times per week are about 80 percent more likely to develop risk factors than those who sleep well. Also, those who wake up feeling unrefreshed are at nearly a 70 percent risk than their deep sleeping peers.

In this particular study, of the 800 people questioned, 14 percent developed metabolic syndrome, with African Americans leading with the highest incidence.

What is Metabolic Syndrome?
This is the medical term for various risk factors typically related to those who are at risk of becoming obese or overweight. These include high blood pressure, high blood sugar and excess belly fat, to name a few. These all add up to a higher risk for even more serious medical conditions, including heart disease, later on in life.

While it seems that the study fairly efficiently measures the results of poor sleep patterns on overall health, researchers realize these results may be more directly associated with being obese than with the actual restlessness or snoring itself.

While some of this may sound like common sense, here are four ways you can help even out your sleep patterns. If you think you may be at risk, it’s important to talk to your doctor about these concerns right away.

1. Never sleep with the TV on. You are not able to reach your deepest and most restful sleep with the light and sound of the TV distracting you. Studies have found that those who leave the TV on when they sleep may actually run a higher risk of gaining weight.

2. Exercise at least 30 minutes a day.

3. Try writing in a journal if you are too anxious or worked up from the day to relax. If you have things you need to remember, rather than worry about them all night, come up with a plan for getting things done or at least make a list.

4. Stay away from your cell phone right before bed. Researchers have found that the light from the cell phone may actually disrupt sleep patterns. Besides that, if you have your work email on your phone, like many people do these days, you are not giving your mind time to relax before drifting off to sleep.

Do you have any suggestions for getting a good night’s sleep? What works best for you?