The Snoring Plague
Confession: I am a notorious snorer. I’ve been known to send people fleeing from rooms (and neighboring rooms) in search of quiet or at least ear plugs. It’s embarrassing, but most of all it’s a huge disturbance to my sleep and quality of rest. Snoring can be an indicator of breathing difficulties while sleeping, which can cause long-term health issues and disrupt sleep.
Other family members snore, so I am not alone. But I’m in a high achievement zone when it comes to persistence and volume. I’m lucky that my husband seems to have become adapted and is able to sleep through it.
My dentists and other doctors have spoken to me about having a small mouth and nasal passages, which can make me more prone to snoring and sleep apnea. But no one really provided any good advice about what I can do about it.
It worries me that I may have sleep apnea or other snoring-related issues that affect my sleep and the quality of rest that I’m getting. While fatigue is common for people living with RA, could I feel better if my snoring was alleviated?
Recently I spoke with a doctor about my concerns. I was honest in that I didn’t want to get a sleep test because all I’ve ever heard is that people with sleep problems are prescribed a machine (CPAP) that they forever-after have to wear while they sleep that resembles a Darth Vader mask and looks just as comfortable. While family members use it, I just feel like I have to draw a line in the sand. There’s only so many conditions and side effects from RA that I can handle, and I will not put up with another medical issue!
I know, completely childish and possibly dangerous to my health. Don’t be like me, OK?
This doctor must have heard these complaints before because he said, “don’t worry. There are other suggestions that I can make.” He asked me to get started in exploring the issue by downloading an app on my phone called SnoreLab. You turn it on when you go to sleep and it starts to record snippets of your sleep and provide a rough analysis of your snoring. It has a free trial and then can be purchased for more uses.
While I have just begun this exploration, the first couple of trials were not encouraging. My snoring scored an “Epic” level and a high score. But the app also provided some suggestions of things I can try to make breathing easier to alleviate snoring.
- Side sleeping
- Nasal strips
- Air purifier
- Allergy relief
- Anti-snore pillow
- Wedge pillow
There are other suggestions as well. Some of these ideas I’ve already tried and I believe that perhaps additional ones may help. It feels like one of these problems that will be best addressed with gradual experimentation.
Unfortunately, I know that allergies are an issue for me and already take medication. They still trouble me at night and block my nose for good breathing, so I’m not sure what else can be done on this front.
I did start using a wedge pillow to elevate my head and chest, which is supposed to help with keeping breathing passages clearer. I’m not sure if I’m getting better rest yet, but once I adjust a little more, I’ll give another test run with the SnoreLab assessment.
For RA patients, sleep is essential and sleep quality is important. I know that I need good rest in order to feel better. I’m hoping that by addressing my snoring problems, that I’ll get some health benefits from a better night’s rest.
Right now, what RA tips would most be helpful for you?