Is Your Spouse a Heroic Snorer? 3 Tips to Quieter Sleep

Expert advice on how to achieve restful slumber
Is Your Spouse a Heroic Snorer? 3 Tips to Quieter Sleep

Does your partner snore so loud you can hear it two bedrooms away? You might have a heroic snorer in your house.

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Heroic snoring is when snores are loud enough that you can hear them through walls. Heroic snoring is not a super power, but it can be super annoying — and it may signal a serious medical condition, says otolaryngologist and sleep specialist Alan Kominsky, MD. Many patients who snore loudly often have obstructive sleep apnea.

“I think it’s important to realize that snoring can be more than just an annoying noise,” Dr. Kominsky says. “It can be associated with obstructive sleep apnea, which is a serious issue that may need to be addressed.”

Medical risks

Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome involves frequent breathing interruptions during the night due to airway obstructions. Obstructive sleep apnea is a serious disorder that can turn into a major health risk. Left untreated, sleep apnea can create an increased risk for stroke, high blood pressure and heart disease.

With stoppages or slowdowns of breathing during sleep, long-term changes can occur that are associated with cardiac, circulation, and brain function problems.

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Heroic snoring also can cause sleep disturbances and waking episodes, Dr. Kominsky says. These disturbances can prevent the brain from entering the restorative REM sleep stage, leading to mood, memory and concentration problems.

If you suspect your partner of having sleep apnea, you can try monitoring the snorer’s sleep patterns. Danger signs are apneic episodes that last more than 10 seconds to 20 seconds.

It’s important that your spouse should see a doctor if you suspect heroic snoring or obstructive sleep apnea, Dr. Kominsky says.

How to reduce snoring

In general, snoring happens when the back of the roof of the mouth, called the soft palate, flutters and hits the back of the throat.

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Being overweight, having nasal congestion, breathing through the mouth while sleeping, and using anything sedating before bed – like alcohol or medications – can increase the chances of snoring. Men also are more prone to snoring, Dr. Kominsky says.

To reduce the risk of snoring, Dr. Kominsky offers these tips:

  • Avoid alcohol and sedating medications before bedtime.
  • If you have allergies, treat them; take your allergy medication or use a nasal steroid spray to improve nasal airflow.
  • Sleep on your side.

If all else fails, doctors can prescribe special dental devices to help separate the tissues in the back of the throat, Dr. Kominsky says. There also are various methods available to stiffen the soft palate, which can help reduce snoring.

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