One of the very strange challenges that the entire topic of snoring faces, is that, well, most people dont think its all that big of a problem. The word itself snoring is rather harmless sounding, really; and its nowhere as terrifying as some angry medical words such as tumor or cirrhosis.
As a result, many people are quite skeptical when told that snoring is a severe physical and emotional health problem.
Snoring: The Physical Problems
It only takes a minute, or a cursory glance, at the list of physical problems associated with snoring to quickly embrace this funny-sounding noun/verb into the class of serious health problems.
Here is just an opening list of the health problems associated with snoring (and remember, please, that were just looking at physical problems right now; emotional problems come later!).
- sleep apnea
headaches throughout the day (due to poor quality sleep and poor airflow through trachea)
swollen legs and arms (due to lack of oxygen flow)
an overall weakened immune system
Hearing loss (if snoring is very loud; remember, snoring can be as loud as a passing jet!)
In addition, most of us assume that snoring is associated with adulthood; and, as such, that the physical ailments noted above are limited to adults. This is not the case at all, since many children and adolescents snore (particularly those with related airflow inhibiting conditions, such as asthma).
Snoring: The Emotional Problems
Readers who themselves arent snorers, but have lived with (or currently live with) a first class snorer, might find themselves shedding a tear or two as they read this section. Thats because often overlooked in the whole snoring discussion are those people who dont snore.
These are the husbands, the wives, the kids, the nannys, the siblings, the in-laws, and even the neighbors who have found themselves on the receiving end of a chain saw, or a lawn mower, that tended to start at around 10:00pm, and continued unabated! Until about 7:00am the following morning.
For such people, trying to fall and stay asleep was not merely an exercise in stress coping; it was an exercise in crisis management!
Its not at all overly dramatic to suggest that the emotional costs of snoring are as severe, or possibly even more severe, as snorings physical toll. This is because snoring can lead a disturbing array of emotional problems, including:
- lack of sleep, leading to depression and anxiety
Marital breakdown and divorce, due to lack of sleep and lack of empathy (remember, the snoring partner doesnt often know the pain that they are unwittingly causing!)
Eviction by a landlord and the resulting humiliation (this may sound funny, but some people have literally been kicked out of their homes because of their snoring!)
warring roommates and neighbors
job loss, due to inability to concentrate and focus (because of sleeplessness)
memory and retention problems due to sleeplessness
And within these problems (and this just a simple list, an entire book can be filled to document the real life emotional damage caused by snoring) are a host of painful mental states that infect both the guilty-snorer, and the enraged non-snorer.
These unproductive emotional states include:
-feelings of violence
-lack of confidence and self-esteem
And lets not forget the millions of non-snorers who drive cars or operate heavy machinery; without a solid night of sleep, some of them can (and regrettably do) put both themselves and others at risk.
Indeed, the emotional problems associated with snoring are, unfortunately, less discussed; especially since the snorer himself or herself isnt aware that he/she is causing so much unintentional emotional damage! Yet, as you can easily see (perhaps even in reflecting upon your own life), the emotional costs can be severe and incalculable.