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How To Stop Snoring

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Snoring is no joke, especially if you're the one trying to sleep on the other side of the bed. Here's author and leading ear, nose and throat specialist Dr. Jordan Josephson with some tips to stop snoring.

I'm Lisa Birnbach. If you live with someone who snores, you know it is no joke. It disrupts sleep and can wreck relationships. Is there anything that can be done to stop snoring? With us to answer that question is Dr. Jordan Josephson, a leading ear, nose, and throat specialist in New York. Dr. Josephson, I once did that. It's miserable.

It is miserable. It's miserable for both of you, because the person snoring wakes the other person up, and then they're cranky, and they're annoying the other person. It's the number one medical cause for divorce or breakups of relationships.

Now, is there something that can be done to stop snoring?

It's very important to figure out why you snore. Snoring can be caused from anything, from the tip of the nose, a blockage from the tip of the nose, all the way to the back of the throat. And then certainly as you gain weight going out, the inside airway gains weight going in, so it narrows. So if you're overweight, losing weight is very, very important. Not an easy thing to do, but it's a good thing to do for a lot of different reasons, your health in general, your knees, and your snoring, and potentially your sleep apnea.

But not all snorers are overweight.

They're not, and sometimes snorers are thin. And if that's the case, then weight in those people is not a problem. But maybe they broke their nose when they played sports, or when they had a fight with their sibling, or fell off a bicycle when they were younger, and they're not breathing through their nose right, or maybe their palate is floppy. So there's various different areas. Maybe their tonsils are enlarged, and that's blocking the airway. Maybe their adenoids in a child are large, so there's no airway there. So wherever the blockage is, you have to resolve that blockage, and then if you can resolve that blockage, and it could be even a blockage in the sinuses, then the snoring should go away.

Would alcohol intake at night affect snoring, and what about sleeping pills?

Absolutely. Anything that relaxes the musculature in your body will make everything flaccid, and when it becomes limp, it can collapse more easily, and so that will actually magnify any problem that you have. So for people that snore and have sleep apnea, drinking's probably not a real good idea.

If you're a snorer but you're not afflicted with sleep apnea, what can you do, and where do you go for treatment?

Well, certainly you want to go to an ear, nose, and throat specialist that specializes in nasal, snoring, and sleep apnea problems. That's number one. Number two is what can you do right off the bat if you know you can't breathe through your nose, you may want to go to your pharmacy and pick up a Breathe Right Strip. Tape it across the tip of your nose, not the bridge of your nose, so that it gets your nostrils to flare. If that resolves your problem, then you've made some of the diagnosis for that specialist already.


You may decide to live with it that way, and if that does the trick, great. If it's a weight problem, if you lose weight, and patients come in and say, look, I'm 240, and every time I drop down to 195, snoring disappears. You're really the detective. The doctor's really the person that's trying to put it in sequence to figure out what's wrong with you, but together you have to form a team, and figure out where the problems lie.

If you live alone, you're going to have a harder time knowing about it, because people who snore completely have no idea.

If you have had sleep apnea for a long time and it's crept up on you, you may not realize that you're really fatigued, because you may think that's normal.


People say, well, I'm always tired. Isn't that normal? I'm getting older. Well, as you get older, you're incidents of snoring and sleep apnea also increase.

Now why is that? Because of the limpness of the--

The change in your body. I mean, it usually affects men first, and then as women, their hormones change, and they become more testosterone positive and estrogen negative.


Then what happens is their body morphs into more of a body that will make you more prone to snoring and sleep apnea. So typically, it occurs in women later, but it's really important for everybody to address. And if you're feeling tired during the day and run down, maybe it's time to go and speak to somebody, and say, hey, maybe I do have snoring and sleep apnea, and get a test, or maybe you need to put the tape recorder by the side of the bed and listen to it the next day.

OK. Thank you so much, Dr. Josephson. I'm Lisa Birnbach.

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