Last month we discussed Keeping Our Children Safe. This month we will discuss one of the articles that was published in Canadian magazines.
I am man – hear me roar!
“My husband snores so loudly that I can’t even be on the same floor as he is, let alone sleep in the same bed as he does. This still doesn’t give me a good sleep because I keep reading about sleep apnoea and the danger he might be in if he has it. What can I do to make him realize that we have a serious problem?”
Take heart – snoring has noble origins that go back to prehistoric days. For those who MUST put up with snorers, this knowledge probably won’t make up for the hours of sleep they’ve missed. Nor will it make up to the snorers who’ve been elbowed, yelled at and even kicked out of their own beds.
A recent study suggests that we shouldn’t hit a snoring man, because:
a) He might hit back!
b) In his own way he may be protecting you!
That roof-jarring commotion may be the remains of an ancient protective device that’s outlived its use. Some believe that male hormones may be the culprit, for men snore far more, and far louder than most women. In addition, snoring occurs during a person’s period of deepest sleep, when their conscious mind is least aware of its surroundings and when the snorer is most vulnerable.
But pray tell, why do men snore so much louder than women? Well, there is an explanation. When our human ancestors left the safety of the jungle and ventured onto the materializing tundra some five million years ago, sleep proved to be one of man’s most defenceless times of the day. So nature stepped in, and provided men with a unique defence mechanism. It enabled men to utter the earth-shattering noises they practice nightly. By mimicking the sounds of their most common predators (the carnivorous nocturnal cats and hyenas), early man could broadcast throughout the night: “Hear me roar! Leave us alone or you’ll have to contend with a mighty warrior!”
That knowledge probably isn’t going to help modern men and women (except to give them a chuckle or two). So, what is one to do to stop the din and bring peace to homes once again? Many resort to unusual treatments such as taping a tennis ball between the snorer’s shoulder blades. Others give a sharp elbow to shock the person into retreating from the offensive object. Some resort to taping their mouths so they can’t breathe through their mouths. Some resort to sleeping sitting up by piling up to six pillows behind them. Most of these remedies provide only temporary relief.
Then what works? Start with a thorough medical. People who snore usually do so because there’s an obstruction to the free flow of air in their breathing passages, often caused by excessive tissue in the uvula and soft palate near their throat. A new laser treatment can eliminate snoring in most patients by using a technique that burns away tissue in the passages at the back of the mouth and nose, reshaping and reforming the openings which allows for greater airflow. After three to five 10-minute office visits under local anaesthesia, 85 to 90 per cent of patients given the laser treatment stop snoring. Most find the treatment an almost painless process.
Far more serious than the snoring itself is “sleep apnoea” which occasionally accompanies snoring. Often, this distinct, rhythmic form of snoring (four or five times in quick succession, then a 20- to 40- second pause, then a new eruption) results from a blockage of the snorer’s air passages. This can be caused when the person’s tongue falls back in the mouth and their throat muscles relax. They lack the ability to sleep and breathe regularly at the same time.
Their snores are actually the brain rousing itself, so their body is stimulated to gasp for air.
People with short, receding jaws are prone to this condition. Many sufferers have fat necks that narrow the throat passages further. The first treatment prescribed in those cases is weight loss. There are also medications that promote regular breathing, and small nasal masks work with some patients. Put on at bedtime, the mask is connected by a tube to a miniature blower that forces air into the nose to keep breathing passages open.
A simple operation to cut away tissue lining at the back of the throat, remedies most cases. Extreme cases, however may require a tracheotomy. If he snores constantly, or snore and feels good in the morning, he probably doesn’t have apnoea.)
Roberta Cava is a best-selling author of non-fiction books. She has written over 60 books that can all be ordered via Amazon Books worldwide. She lives on the Gold Coast of Queensland in Australia.
To order her books:
Go to ‘amazon.com’ then click ‘Books’ and under ‘search’ put ‘Roberta Cava’ (which will bring up all of her books).