If you’re reading this article, we don’t need to tell you that snoring can be a highly disruptive force for you and your bed partner. The negative effects of snoring are widespread and pervasive. Snoring can leave you irritable and tired, struggling to get through the workday. It can impair memory and cognitive function. It can decrease sex drive and otherwise stress relationships. And while the immediate impact of snoring is very real and very annoying, a long-term failure to address snoring can also lead to more serious issues.
Talking to your doctor is an important first step in identifying the reasons for your snoring and the best way to treat it. We’ve compiled some potential talking points for your next visit, ranging from the common, annoying side effects of snoring to more rare (and more serious) issues that can be caused by snoring.
Sleep Deprivation Caused by Snoring Decreases Your Quality of Life
Lack of sleep can take a serious mental and physical toll on a person’s health. Studies at the University of Chicago found that subjects who reduced their sleep from 8 hours to 4 hours displayed striking changes in glucose tolerance and endocrine function, symptoms that mimicked those of advanced aging or the early stage of diabetes. Chronic snorers often lack the energy, alertness and cognitive function necessary to enjoy their favorite activities, and they place themselves at a greater risk of occupational and automotive accidents. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy driving accounts for more than 100,000 accidents each year.
More Snoring = Less Sex
A study of 827 older men tied increased frequency and intensity of their snoring to reports of decreased levels of sexual satisfaction, even though the men did not show physiological signs of reduced sexual response during clinical exams. Many snorers are so affected by their affliction that they lose desire for spousal intimacy. Not to worry: Seeking medical treatment for sleep disorders can usually reignite your love life.
Heavy Snoring Can Increase the Chance of Stroke
One sleep study linked the intensity of snoring directly to the risk of carotid atherosclerosis. This condition is the narrowing of arteries in the neck due to the fatty plaque deposits, and it means the snorer has a higher chance of having a stroke. If you experience daytime drowsiness, if your bed partner says you stop breathing in your sleep (signs of potential sleep apnea), or if you have additional health concerns like high blood pressure, you should seriously consider seeing a doctor about your snoring.
Snoring Poses Health Risks for Pregnant Women and Their Unborn Children
According to Louise O’Brien, associate professor at University of Michigan’s Sleep Disorders Center in the Department of Neurology and adjunct associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at UM Medica, snoring can affect more lives than you might expect: “We know that habitual snoring is linked with poor pregnancy outcomes for both mother and child, including increased risk of C-sections and smaller babies.” However, simple treatment options are available, and a getting good night’s sleep has proven to decrease the chance of complications during pregnancy and increase the chance of healthier babies.
Snoring and Other Sleep Disorders Can Exacerbate Anxiety Disorders
According to the National Institute of Health, there are more than 40 million Americans who suffer from chronic, long-term sleep disorders, such as serious snoring. Furthermore, about 29 percent of the U.S. population suffers from anxiety disorders, with 20 million of those people reporting occasional sleeping problems. Studies have shown that anxiety and sleep disorders are positively correlated across both genders, and one can often exacerbate the other. The combination of both anxiety and sleep disorders may lead to the following health issues:
- Heart disease
- Weight gain
Fortunately, the treatment of one disorder will typically help mitigate the effects of the other. By working closely with your doctor to treat snoring and manage anxiety in a holistic approach, you can sleep better and feel less anxiety during the course of your day.