So, you snore a little at night. It’s not THAT bad.
If you’re having trouble deciding whether or not your snoring is something to worry about (our recommendation: see your doctor either way), you should know that there are three grades of snoring to determine how serious your condition may be.
The grading system was determined scientifically and is noted by the National Health Service (UK) as a reliable starting gauge for your snoring symptoms.
Grade One snoring is commonly called “simple snoring.” It may or may not be troublesome to a partner, but in general is not particularly loud/intrusive. Grade One snoring usually does not negatively impact breathing (oxygen levels remain appropriate and breathing does not temporarily stop following the snore).
Grade One snoring will most likely be noticed fewer than three times a week. Note that light snores may occur regularly but not be noticed by either the snorer or a partner.
Grade Two snoring is more regular (or rather, is noticed on a regular basis). It is at this point that breathing difficulties may begin. You may awake grunting, sniffling or even experiencing a mild choking sensation, which is caused by a cessation of breathing followed by the body’s reflexes to get your breathing going again.
Grade Two snoring may be severe enough to warrant your beginning to worry, and to wonder whether you should be seeing your doctor to find out exactly what’s going on. You may find you’re feeling sleepy or disoriented during the day, or that your mood is negatively affected. These are all side effects of disordered sleeping and of possible temporary oxygen deprivation during periods of snoring.
Grade Three is where you might be looking at a serious condition. You may be experiencing OSA (obstructive sleep apnea), where your breathing is restricted and may stop entirely for periods of seconds up to a full minute multiple times a night, and you may be experiencing severe daytime drowsiness, anxiety, depression, lack of coordination, memory loss and other serious issues.
What Should You Do?
- Be aware of your snoring habits. Don’t panic, but do make a note of when and how deeply you snore.
- You may not notice your snoring as much as your partner does. Ask him/her to let you know if you’re snoring, how loud the snoring is, and how often it is happening.
- If you’re experiencing daytime drowsiness, confusion, slow reflexes, anxiety or depression, see your doctor.
- If you can, keep track of snoring episodes. A spreadsheet or even simple counter on your phone can do this. This is important information to bring to your doctor’s office.
Remember: don’t panic! Snoring is not unusual, and not all types of snoring are necessarily bad. But since certain types and frequency of snoring can impact your health, it’s important to know what you’re dealing with, and to address the problem rather than sweeping it under the rug…or the pillow.