WELLNESS
01/26/2012 03:03 pm ET Updated Mar 11, 2012

5 Tips For Battling Primary Snoring

Primary snoring is a common sleep disorder that usually affects male and female adults. We spoke to Iwona Rawanis, M.D., board-certified sleep specialist and medical director of The Center for Sleep Medicine at St. Joseph Hospital in Bethpage, for one approach to the medical problems from which you or your loved ones may suffer when trying to sleep.

If you think you might suffer from primary snoring, use this as a reference point before getting personalized medical advice from your doctor or other accredited sleep expert. --Saira Bajwa

Primary snoring, also referred to as snoring without sleep apnea, is a complex condition caused by vibrations of tissue in the upper airway that occur as you sleep. These vibrations are caused by a partial blockage anywhere in your throat, nose or mouth. If accompanied by daytime sleepiness, snoring can be an indicator of a deeper sleeping disorder, such as sleep apnea.

Gauge Your Body's Response To Sleep

Those who suffer from snoring usually complain of waking up with a dry mouth or a sore throat, both of which result from leaving your mouth open while sleeping. A night of snoring can also cause fatigue. "If your body feels tired regardless of how much you slept, you should consult a sleep specialist to rule out sleep apnea," advises Dr. Rawanis.

Lose Weight

"Weight is directly correlated to snoring," says Dr. Rawanis. "Many patients have told me their snoring has been minimized after they lose the extra pounds." Being overweight will affect the overall quality of your sleep, and losing weight is a great first step to improving it.

Sleep On Your Side

"This has helped many of my patients who have had trouble sleeping," says Dr. Rawanis. Sleeping on your back causes your throat muscles to relax, partially blocking the airway and resulting in snoring. Several products, such as special T-shirts, pillows and foam wedges, are available for people who are accustomed to sleeping on their backs.

Avoid Alcohol

Alcohol and narcotic pain medications both relax muscles and can exacerbate snoring. Using either of these substances will result in your throat muscles loosening and causing partial blockage of the upper airways.

Treat Your Allergies

Some people may suffer from mild allergies without being aware of it. These allergies can cause snoring and a lack of restful sleep. "Many over-the-counter allergy medications and saline sprays are available, and these can make a tremendous difference in your quality of sleep," says Dr. Rawanis.

Iwona Rawinis, M.D., is a board-certified sleep specialist. Dr. Rawinis also serves as the medical director of The Center for Sleep Medicine at St. Joseph Hospital in Bethpage. She attended medical school in Poland, followed by residency at St. Luke's hospital in New York City and a fellowship at Winthrop-University Hospital in Long Island.

Have you ever suffered from a sleep disorder? What worked for you?