Part 3: The Effects of Snoring Go Beyond Heart Disease

Health Professional

As we discussed previously, poor sleep impacts inflammation, hypertension, and attention deficit. In this third part of our four-part series on sleep and heart disease, we look closer at the effect of snoring on health with leading alternative-health expert Bryce Wylde.

The impact snoring has on relationships

The impact of snoring goes well beyond inflammation, hypertension, and attention deficit. The National Sleep Foundation reports that 90 million Americans are affected by snoring (about 28 percent of the population). That’s a lot of zzzs! Further, a study by the National Sleep Foundation found that about 24 percent of couples sleep in separate rooms because of snoring, and many couples who sleep separately are reluctant to discuss it. This is causing a lot of strain on relationships — often even to the point of separation — even, ultimately, contributing to divorce.

In fact, the National Sleep Foundation found that more than a third of respondents admit that their partner’s disruptive sleep habits have affected the quality of their relationship. Two in five (17-23 percent) indicated that their intimate/sexual relationships had been affected because they were too sleepy. Another 51-62 percent agreed that not getting enough sleep impacts their relationships with family or friends.

It turns out one of the No. 1 undiagnosed cause of sleep interruption is indeed snoring and subclinical apnea. This is a problem for both parties of a relationship. To complicate matters, it is a common attitude that "nothing could possibly be done about snoring." This often stops couples from taking care of this issue so that it doesn't end up causing so many repercussions.

Sleep deprivation and weight gain

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't discuss the impact of too little sleep on weight gain! If you're wondering why your recent efforts at the gym and eating clean haven’t been working as well as you’d hoped, you should know that sleep and metabolism control are found in the same area of the brain. When you are sleep-deprived, your hunger hormones go way up. If you are trying to lean up, you need to ensure you get seven-eight hours of deep, restful sleep. When you don’t get enough sleep, you lose muscle mass, according to research conducted at the University of Chicago.

A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when people were starved of sleep, late-night snacking increased, and they were more likely to choose high-carb snacks. It turns out that if you’re sleepy, you crave the wrong foods and have a harder time saying “no.”

Here is another shocker: "driving under drowsiness" (DUD) for just one night can be as detrimental to your driving ability as having an alcoholic drink, which can put you at risk for driving under the influence (DUI)! Sleep deprivation causes impaired reaction time and decision making. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, being tired accounts for the highest number of fatal single-car crashes due to the driver's performance. It turns out that is even more than alcohol!

Lisa Nelson is a registered dietitian since 1999. She provides clients step-by-step guidance to lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure so they can live life and enjoy their family for years to come. Because her own health is the foundation of her expertise, you can trust that Lisa will make it possible for you to see dramatic changes in your health, without unrealistic fads or impossibly difficult techniques. She can be found on Twitter @lisanelsonrd and on Facebook at hearthealthmadeeasy.