As with most medical questions, the answer here is complicated. A New York Times article discussing a sleep study reported that 54% of participants were positional snorers, indicating that they only snored while laying on their backs. However, that still leaves a full 46% who also snored while sleeping in other positions, including on their sides. Does sleeping on your side prevent snoring?
For more information on how to stop snoring, visit Dr. Shukla today.
It Works for Some
The reason for this distinction comes down to several factors, including the nature of snoring. Essentially, lying on your back causes the base of your tongue and soft palate to collapse back towards your throat. The partial blockage created by that tissue causes your breathing to create the vibrating sound we commonly associate with snoring. Therefore, for many people, simply sleeping on your side to prevent snoring works well.
But Not for All
Non-positional snorers typically have complicating factors, which result in persistent snoring even when they aren’t on their backs. The National Sleep Foundation states that these complicating factors can include advancing age, alcohol consumption, excessive weight gain, and nose and throat conditions.
Fortunately, in two out of four cases, you can resolve your snoring problem by making important lifestyle changes. These can improve your overall health and relieve non-positional snoring. If aging or other medical conditions are to blame, then you should consult with your doctor to help you minimize the negative effects of snoring.
The Cost of Snoring
Snoring can seem like a minor annoyance; however, it can have consequences in your daily life. Whether or not you’re aware of it, snoring disrupts your sleep. You benefit less from your resting hours than someone who doesn’t snore. This can gradually lead to a sleep deficit, which can negatively affect your memory, your attention to detail, your mood, and even your metabolism. For almost seventy-five percent of non-positional snorers, these costs a multiplied by the effects of sleep apnea.
What is Sleep Apnea?
The National Lung, Heart, and Blood Institute identifies sleep apnea as a common condition in the United States, which is marked by the upper airway being repeatedly blocked during sleep. The result is that someone with sleep apnea will repeatedly stop breathing throughout their sleeping hours. These “apnea events” prevent restful sleep and momentarily limit the body’s access to oxygen.
The Risks of Sleep Apnea
In addition to depriving the body of adequate rest and oxygen, the NLHBI states that sleep apnea can increase a patient’s risk of developing several other conditions, including:
- Atrial Fibrillation
- Chronic Kidney Disease
- Cognitive and Behavioral Disorders
- Heart Disease and High Blood Pressure
- Eye Disorders
- Metabolic Disorders, and
- Pregnancy Complications
Treating Sleep Apnea
It goes without saying, that if sleeping on your side doesn’t provide relief from your snoring, then you should consider speaking with a sleep specialist to potentially diagnose and treat sleep apnea. Dr. Mayank Shukla is New York’s premier sleep specialist, and he can help take you to prevent snoring.
It will start with a consultation, so do your best to create a comprehensive sleep diary before you make an appointment. Going over any symptoms you’ve recently experienced, concerns from your sleeping partner if you have one, and even whether or not you awake feeling rested will provide your doctor with crucial information on your first meeting.
In most cases, if the consultation reveals a reason for concern, Dr. Shukla will suggest an observation period, where he can measure your breathing as you sleep. Although it may seem odd, it’s one of the best ways to identify whether or not you have sleep apnea and whether it’s obstructive or central.
Once Dr. Shukla fully understands your condition, he will be able to advise what steps you can take to ameliorate your situation and what medical device you can use to guarantee a good night’s sleep.