We all know it: snoring stinks. It keeps your partner awake, prevents you from getting the high quality sleep you need and deserve, and it can even lead to more sinister health problems down the line.
Snoring may seem harmless, but the unfortunate truth is that snoring can be associated with other health risks, too. Snorers are at an increased risk of artery damage, coronary artery disease and stroke, and snorers are more likely to drift off while driving. It makes sense when you break it down: snoring is what happens when your airway is blocked, whether that’s caused by obesity, a sinus problem or simply because your head is in the incorrect posture while you sleep.
This news sounds scary, but there is a fix. With the right research and hunting skills, people who snore due to incorrect head posture can find a simple solution. Their pillow.
Light as a Feather, Stiff as a Board
Your pillow may be soft and feathery, just how you like it as you sleep, but if it’s too fluffy, too soft or too firm, your spine is probably out of alignment and you’re more likely to snore. Supine sleepers, or people who sleep on their backs, are more prone to snoring. You probably experience one of the following symptoms: a stiff neck, neck or back pain upon waking, headaches, feeling tired even after getting eight hours of sleep, or a sore jaw.
Without hurting yourself, while sitting upright, tilt your head backward until it hangs. Your jaw drops open, the mouth hangs and you can likely feel how difficult it is to breathe in this position. Now, move your head so you feel as someone could draw a straight line from the back of your skull to your shoulder blades and tailbone. Breathe deeply. It’s easy to see how much more difficult it is to breathe when your spine is out of proper alignment.
A 2017 study published in Sleep and Breathing found that an anti-snoring pillow decreased snoring significantly according to participants’ partners. The only thing the pillow changed was head position.
Especially if you sleep on your back, you should ensure your pillow keeps your head slightly elevated toward the ceiling without creating a tilt in the jaw or crown of the head. Avoid pillows with a high loft that will move your chin too close to the chest or pillows that are too flat and allow your head to drop backward. Again, as you lay down to bed, your head should be in perfect alignment with your neck and back in order to decrease snoring, keep your airway open and keep you – and your partner – happier.
If It’s Not Your Pillow
While this is great news for people whose pillows are a leading culprit of their snoring, people with obstructive sleep apnea shouldn’t expect a pillow to solve their problems. However, at Contemporary Dentistry in Rochester, NY, your trusted dentists can detect and treat sleep apnea and snoring, setting you on a path toward better sleep and a happier partner.
Sleep Better, Snore Less
If you’ve experienced problems sleeping, your partner complains that you snore, or if you often wake up with headaches, back pain or neck stiffness, rest easy knowing your dentist at Contemporary Dentistry can help.