Snoring is one of the most common sleep complaints doctors hear.
It’s bothersome to your sleep partner, it can leave you with a dry mouth and a sore throat, and it can affect your levels of restful sleep throughout the night. This can leave you irritable and fatigued, and it can also give you a serious case of bad breath.
Snoring itself isn’t a dangerous problem. However, the condition causing your snoring might be. Sleep position might sometimes cause sleeping—back sleepers are at highest risk for snoring. Other times, congestion from a cold or allergies might be the culprit. However, when snoring occurs due to a condition called sleep apnea, it can signal more pressing issues that can affect all areas of your life, including your workout.
What Is Sleep Apnea?
Sleep apnea is a condition that causes you to stop breathing for brief periods throughout your sleep cycle. The more often this happens, the more oxygen you lose.
Relaxation of the muscles in the back of the throat causes this condition. When the muscles weaken, they can collapse. This obstructs the airway temporarily, causing the paused breathing.
How Sleep Apnea Affects Your Life
The side effects of sleep apnea include memory dysfunction and brain fog. The more serious side effects are an increased risk of stroke and heart attack, which elevates the risk of early death. The fatigue you feel due to sleep apnea is a lack of oxygen in your muscles.
This fatigue can affect every area of your life, from work to daily activities, to your fitness workout. Researchers have developed a test to measure the amount of oxygen your body uses during strenuous exercise. This measurement is called Vo2 max. The average sleep apnea sufferer tends to have a Vo2 max score of 14% less than the person without sleep apnea or with mild sleep apnea.
A low Vo2 max score means your body is low on oxygen stores. It isn’t getting the oxygen it needs during sleep, and therefore it also is not getting enough oxygen during your workout. This can impact the effectiveness of your workout.
Certain risk factors can increase the likelihood for sleep apnea. These include being obese, being male, or aging. However, the Vo2 max study did not find that these risk factors increased your risk of a poor Vo2 max score. This means that even those at a healthy weight when suffering from sleep apnea, can be impaired in their daily workouts.
How Do I Know If I Have Sleep Apnea?
Many people have a sleeping partner who informs them when they witness episodes of paused breathing. You might have sleep apnea if you:
Other less severe symptoms include dry mouth and sore throat, irritability due to lack of oxygen and restful sleep, and attention issues.
If you notice any of these severe symptoms, it can be beneficial to speak with your doctor about the possibility of sleep apnea. There are different types of sleep apnea. These include obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and complex sleep apnea syndrome. Your treatment needs, and options will vary depending on your specific diagnosis.
Your doctor will use simple sleep tests to diagnose your sleep apnea. They will measure heart rate, breathing patterns, your airflow, and your blood oxygen levels during sleep as well as during waking hours. These indicators will help them determine if you have sleep apnea, and what type of apnea it is.
Snoring and Fitness
If your snoring isn’t related to sleep apnea, there is still a chance that it is affecting your workout routine. Snoring that causes you to sleep restlessly can lead to general fatigue that makes it hard to get the proper exercise.
There are lots of remedies that can help alleviate snoring whether or not your type of snoring is related to sleep apnea.
Changing sleep positions can alleviate the rattling of throat muscles as you breathe deeply in sleep. If you usually sleep on your back, try sleeping on your side or stomach. Using snoring aids such as mouthpieces or nasal sprays can also help to reduce or even eliminate snoring.
If you do have sleep apnea, you may find that sleeping with a continuous positive airway pressure machine (CPAP) can help. The pressurized air keeps your airways open and unobstructed, allowing you to get the oxygen your body needs while cutting out snoring altogether for a better night’s sleep.
Even those at a healthy weight can find themselves suffering from sleep apnea, snoring, and daily fatigue that affects their workout ability. Getting help for your snoring will enable you to get back to the fitness level that works best for you.
Chief editor here at Snore Nation and a proud father of two cool boys. I am a reformed snorer, a reformed smoker, a reformed overeater, a reformed city dweller and a reformed workaholic stress monster on the mission to share my insider tips to restore that quality sleep for you and your partner!