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Transcript: "Snoring"

Interviewer: Do you snore or do you know anybody who snores?

Man: I know one person who snores.

Interviewer: Yeah, who?

Man: This person standing right here. [imitates snore] Kind of like that.

Man: [imitates snore]

Woman: [imitates snore, laughs]

Man: I don't know -- he just said it's really loud.

Model Dinosaur: [roar]

Woman: I have no idea why people snore.

Woman: I think it's called sleep apnea.

Woman: My doctor told me that weight loss will help decrease the loudness.

Woman: I think more men snore -- they just don't admit it.

Man: I don't think there's that much difference.

Interviewer: Do you have any cure for snoring?

Man: You generally just roll them over on their stomach. You know what I'm saying? They usually stop.

Woman: I have kicked him, I've hit him, I've tickled him.

Woman: He snores on his back, stomach -- it doesn't matter.

Woman: The elbow, give him a little elbow.

Woman: Move to the other room and shut the door. [laughs]

Announcer: Well, I guess that's one solution. Well, now for a second opinion on the subject of snoring -- I'm joined in studio by our medical expert, Dr. Jon Hallberg, who's a family practice physician. Tell me, first of all, what is snoring?

Dr. Jon Hallberg: Well, snoring is a momentary obstruction of our breathing. It always occurs when we're sleeping and it's caused by a variety of things. It's the soft tissues in the back of the mouth and throat that are causing it and they vibrate. It's the uvula, the soft palate, the tonsils, the adenoids and it is vibrating causing this very strange sound.

Announcer: Why do some people snore more than others?

Dr. Jon Hallberg: Well, snoring can be a temporary thing. People can have an allergy. They can have a sinus infection, nasal congestion. Those kinds of things can certainly cause snoring. People try and breathe through their nose oftentimes but can't, so they're forced to breathe through their mouth and that causes the snoring. Once those problems are taken care of, the snoring ends. But other people, particularly people who tend to be heavier, are much more predisposed to snoring.

Announcer: But are there things if you take them, if you drink, if you eat during the day that will make you snore at night time?

Dr. Jon Hallberg: Absolutely. It seems that though food, in and of itself, is probably not a big cause. But alcohol is probably the number one cause of snoring and not just a drink, but probably more than a few drinks and it really just puts them to sleep very quickly and very deeply. There are other things, though, too. Prescription medications, particularly sleeping pills can cause that. Perhaps some of the antihistamines that we prescribe can cause that but a bigger culprit might be the over-the-counter antihistamines. And people can be fooled. Things like Tylenol PM or Excedrin PM may have some sleep-provoking quality and cause some snoring.

Announcer: Now if there's somebody beside you snoring away happily, what can you do?

Dr. Jon Hallberg: Well, most people resort to a quick jab in the ribs or pushing their partner over and that has the effect of turning the person to their side or onto their tummy and simply that shift of position can really help and it moves the soft tissues out of the deep throat so that you're able to breathe more comfortably.

Announcer: So you do snore more when you're lying on your back?

Dr. Jon Hallberg: Absolutely.

Announcer: Now what about the question of sleep apnea? Now that's something much more serious?

Dr. Jon Hallberg: Yes, that can actually be dangerous. Sleep apnea is basically the cessation of breathing and it's a very alarming thing for a person to be observing when someone is sleeping next to them and suddenly stops their snoring, stops their breathing altogether. By definition, it is at least 10 seconds of cessation of breathing. In the middle of the night it can seem like two minutes sometimes and it's very frightening.

Announcer: And that's something you would go and seek medical help for?

Dr. Jon Hallberg: Absolutely.

Announcer: Now what about men and women? Do men snore more than women?

Dr. Jon Hallberg: Well, there isn't a lot of research in this area, but I'll tell you from my practice it sure seems as though men snore more. But my personal feeling is that it's an equal opportunity ailment.

Announcer: Well, thank you very much, Dr. Hallberg.

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