As if getting older isn’t tough enough on your body already, there’s another health-related issue for you to be on the lookout for with the passing of time: Snoring.
You may have convinced yourself that you’re going crazy upon noticing that your partner’s snoring has gotten worse over the years. Surely, you’re just imagining things, right?
Well, we have good news and bad news for you. The good news is that you aren’t going crazy, nor are you imagining things. The bad news, of course, is that snoring can start at any time and worsen as people age.
There are a few reasons for this. Snoring is caused by the narrowing of the throat while you sleep. As sleep specialist Rafael Pelayo of the Stanford Sleep Medicine Center explains to The Huffington Post, people tend to put on weight as they get older – and they commonly gain weight around their neck, causing that throat space to become even narrower. Not only that, but their muscle tone decreases, and this also contributes to snoring.
Now, it’s true that not all snorers have sleep apnea, but it is one of the main symptoms of this disorder. Even if you’ve never dealt with sleep apnea before, it can come on at any time. In fact, risk factors for sleep apnea include being overweight, having a large neck circumference and being over the age of 40, all of which are aligned with Pelayo’s explanation for why snoring worsens with age.
“Everybody who snores should consider if they have sleep apnea,” says Pelayo. If you fall into this category – and particularly if your snoring has worsened over the years – the good news is that sleep tests have become quite advanced and are probably even covered by your health insurance.
Receiving a sleep apnea diagnosis isn’t the end of the world provided you treat it in accordance with your doctor’s orders. With CPAP therapy and other treatment methods, you can sleep much more soundly and stop snoring – a win-win for you and your partner!