I Am Woman, Hear Me Snore

Are you a secret snorer? Live in shame no more, sister – for I have it on good authority that many, many women (and men) actually snore. In fact, a huge number of people from both sexes suffer from sleep apnoea and don’t even know it, according to my GP.

RELATED: How To Cope With New-Parent Sleep Deprivation

Sleep apnoea is a sleep disorder whereby the walls of the throat come together or collapse during sleep, blocking off the upper part of the airway. Sufferers experience poor quality sleep and fatigue and there are varying degrees of its severity.

Confession time: I’m a mild snorer. Hot, I know, sob.

In fact – gasp – I come from a long line of snorers, and even my children and bloody pets are prone to snoring like truck drivers at times. Have I cursed my family with the snoring gene? Is it hereditary?!

I pride myself on being a feminine, girly girl – so my snoring isn’t exactly ideal for me, or my husband (although he snores too, perfect!). When said husband has been so bold as to chide me for snoring, I like to tell him that it’s not snoring, it’s just me sleeping loudly, hmph.

snoring, women's health, sleep apnoea

My snoring has never been a problem until post-pregnancy, when it seems to have worsened. And while it’s not so much an issue for my husband (especially as I happily endure his snoring, too) it’s starting to worry me that I’m now waking myself up several times a night and am extra tired the next day. Although how much of this is just due to having two toddlers aged three and one, I’m not sure, and is yet to be determined.

So, off I trotted to kindly GP last week, who was quick to reassure me that both snoring and sleep apnoea are very common in both men and women. And, get this, fellow super-exhausted mums of small children, the more tired you are, the more the likelihood you are to snore. The vast and infinite horror!? No wonder I’m bloody snoring, I’m exhausted and sleep-deprived!

My GP patted me on the arm, said to chillax, and referred me to a sleep specialist whom I don’t contact, but who contacts me, after she receives my details via fax. It’s all a bit clandestine, isn’t it? Have I joined a secret, underground snorers’ movement? Is there a club? Do I now have to proclaim: “Hi, my name is Nicole and I’m a snorer”?!

Stay tuned for more. I’m still impatiently awaiting the sleep specialist’s phone call. Here’s hoping she makes contact soon… Zzz.

snoring, women's health, sleep apnoea
Main image via blog.khoobsurati.com; cartoon via www.rottenecards.com and final image via www.studiobdental.ca.

How To Stop Screens From Stealing Your Sleep

Not only we stay up late, glued to our computers, phones or TV, but once we get to bed we find that falling asleep is not that easy. Our brains keep on running at high speed, going over everything that we’ve just seen and designing our plan for the next day.

I used to blame the horror scenes from the news for my sleeplessness. I’d toss and turn for hours and when I finally fell asleep, I’d have nightmares about what I’d seen. I stopped watching the news and the nightmares were gone, but falling asleep didn’t get any easier. Then I recently found out that screens affect us not only on psychological, but even on chemical level. The screen is a source of light and when you’re looking at it, the body gets the message that it’s day time – time to stay awake. Your brain suppresses the production of melatonin, which is the hormone we need to relax and get ready for sleep. The most melatonin-suppressive light is the blue light, which is what our devices usually emit.

How can you reclaim your sleep?

  • Don’t use technology in the last hour or two before going to bed. Give your body and your mind the opportunity to wind down.
  • Use f.lux, a program designed to adjust the brightness and the colour of your screen depending on the time of the day. This software makes your screen look like sunlight during the day and it displays warmer colours at night.
  • Make your bedroom a screen-free zone. It can be hard to resist checking your iPhone one last time, if it’s right there next to you.
  • Monitor your sleep. You can make it a conscious focus to pay attention to your habits or you can use a monitor like Fitbit to tell you exactly how much sleep you’re getting. Sometimes, just being more aware gives you the motivation to change.
  • If you’re finding that the promise of a good night’s sleep is not enough to drag you away from your screen, enlist someone in your family to help you or a friend to call you at a certain time to give you a nudge.

Image by JESHOOTS via Pixabay.com

By Tatiana Apostolova