Dennis H. Harris, MD
The moon was bright in the peaceful, starlit sky. Quiet had descended over the small communit.
The moon was bright in the peaceful, starlit sky. Quiet had descended over the small community. John and Kathy were sleeping undisturbed when suddenly, without warning, a horrible noise filled the previously silent bedroom! Kathy awakened instantly.
"John!" she yelled as she jammed her elbow into her husband’s ribs. "Stop snoring!"
This common scene is replayed millions of times every night. Only in recent years, with better medical reporting, have we begun to appreciate the enormity of the snoring problem. The most recent figures indicate that approximately 40 percent of people are chronic regular snorers. Well, so what? Why should we be concerned?
Snoring Versus Sleeping
We now know that snoring is the most common cause of sleep deprivation–not only for the person listening, but also for the snorer. The stereotyped scenario described above, in which the snorer sleeps peacefully and deeply, is far from reality. In fact, the exact opposite is true.
In order to get the deep, restful sleep we need to recover from the emotional, physical and psychological stresses of the day, we must get into the third and fourth stages, the deepest stages, of sleep. Research has shown that when we snore, we move repeatedly back into the lighter stages, sometimes hundreds of times throughout the night.
The Mayo Clinic recently published the results of a study of the sleep patterns of both snorers and their mates. Amazingly, this study demonstrated that the sleep patterns of both were so disturbed that each of them lost the equivalent of one to two hours of sleep every single night.
Many studies worldwide have demonstrated that the majority of snorers suffer from lower than normal oxygen levels in the blood when they are snoring. The result is chronic oxygen starvation to the brain, heart and other vital organs. This problem, combined with sleep deprivation, causes daytime fatigue and sleepiness, shorter attention span, slower reflexes, more difficulty in concentrating, emotional instability and occasional short-term memory loss. It should be no surprise that many studies have indicated that snorers have a 300- to 400-percent increased risk of being involved in an automobile accident, and a 700-percent increased risk of being involved in multiple car accidents compared to non-snorers.
More recent studies indicate that the same figures are true in relation to workplace injuries in snorers. In addition, research from sleep centres around the world has confirmed that snorers have a 400- to 500-per-cent higher risk of developing heart attacks, strokes and hypertension.
Furthermore, since snoring slowly causes progressive damage to the air passageway, at least 30 per cent of all snorers will go on to develop sleep apnea, a condition in which the snorer completely stops breathing for between 10 seconds and one minute–and does so many times every hour!
We have discovered that snoring is caused by the nightly accumulation of respiratory secretions that produce a partial obstruction to airflow in the back of the throat. When we inhale, the airflow over that partial obstruction becomes turbulent, producing vibration of the soft tissues which lie in the back of the throat, resulting in the sound of snoring.
There are several lifestyle changes you can try which may reduce (but not eliminate) snoring. These include the following:
There are also over-the-counter homeopathic and oil-based sprays, positioning pillows, mouthpieces, nasal dilators, nasal strips and tongue stabilizers.
One effective means of treatment that has stood the test of time is composed of four natural plant-derived digestive enzymes and 10 herbs. The formula should be taken by weight, 30 minutes before bedtime, at least two hours after eating.
When taken on an empty stomach, this herbal combination is completely and rapidly absorbed. After it enters the system, the enzymes begin to digest or chemically break down all of the accumulated respiratory secretions, while the herbs reduce the associated tissue swelling. These two actions open the airway, smooth out the airflow and allow the snoring to significantly decrease, or in most cases, to disappear completely. No side effects, allergic reactions or medication interactions have been reported.