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Good Question: Can Snoring Be Stopped?

-- Two-thirds of adults say their partners snore. It can be a pain in the neck for the partner as well as the snorer. So, is this a life sentence for both of or is there hope for silencing snoring?

There is always hope. A Minnesota company is even testing an electrical stimulator to tighten throat muscles with every breath during sleep. Even simple things like eliminating alcohol near bedtime can make a big difference -- if your spouse doesn't try to suffocate you in your sleep first.

Neurologist Jason Cornelius is one of the medical directors at North Memorial's Sleep Health Center.

For about 18 million Americans, he says, snoring is actually Obstructive Sleep Apnea, which causes sleep to be interrupted as the body is starved for oxygen. And it can cost more than a good night's sleep.

"Everything from hypertension to abnormal heart rhythms to congestive heart failure, diabetes, weight gain, mood disorders like depression -- there are far reaching impacts to this," he said.

Cornelius says it's very common for partners of his snoring patients to sleep separately.

As far as any cure, Cornelius says losing weight may be the number one thing you can do to reduce the severity of your snoring.

"One of the major risk factors for snoring is weight gain, particularly weight gain around the neck," said Cornelius. "(It also can be) just be the way a person is built, the shape of their lower jaw, the shape of their soft palate, how their tongue falls back into the airway when they sleep at night.

If your partner or you believe that you stop breathing between snores, it could be sleep apnea and a night at a sleep clinic is the way to diagnose it for sure.

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