In many “high-tech” snoring solutions, automated beds allow people to elevate their partner’s head when they start to snore. In some cases, the beds are even set up to monitor snoring and elevate the head automatically in response to the sound of snoring.

These solutions for sleeping positions are based on the assumption that you won’t snore in a seated position. However, many people still snore when in a seated position. A new Chinese study indicates that these people are at a high risk for severe sleep apnea.

man sitting up on green couch, snoring

Testing People Who Snore when Sitting

This new study looked at 166 people who reported snoring in a seated position and 139 who didn’t have a history of snoring in the seated position (70° or more). All underwent sleep tests to determine whether they had sleep apnea or not. People who snore in a seated position had a higher likelihood of having sleep apnea and had a higher apnea/hypopnea index than those who did not snore when seated.

Researchers in this study didn’t attempt to determine whether snoring when sitting was an independent risk factor for sleep apnea. People who snored when sitting had higher BMIs, higher neck circumference, and higher daytime sleepiness.

And snoring when seated is not a good test for sleep apnea generally. It only had a 59% specificity, meaning that many people with sleep apnea don’t snore when in an upright position. But what it does indicate is that when a person snores in an upright position they are more likely to have moderate to severe sleep apnea. Snoring when sitting has an 82% specificity for moderate to severe sleep apnea. In other words, 82% of people with moderate to severe sleep apnea snore when seated.

If you are part of the 18% who snores but does not have sleep apnea, we have a solution for you.

Avoiding Snoring on the Plane

You should always take reports of snoring seriously. But you should be especially concerned if people report that you snore when seated. Whether it’s dozing off during the evening news or trying to catch some Zs on a redeye flight, if people complain about your snoring, this is an urgent wake-up call. You need to seek out professional help.

However, if you fly frequently and need to avoid snoring on the plane before you can get professional help, here are some things you might try (though they might not work):

  • Allergy treatment
  • Nasal dilation strips
  • Stay hydrated
  • Avoid alcohol

Allergy treatment and nasal dilation strips typically only help if your nose is the source of your snoring. If you are trying to treat your allergies, know that many allergy medications can further relax muscles, which can actually make snoring worse. Make sure you choose a non-drowsy medication or use something like nasal spray or a Neti pot that clears your nose without medication.

Get Tested for Sleep Apnea

If you snore in the upright seated position, you need to consider the risks and get tested for sleep apnea.

If you think you might have sleep apnea and want to learn more about testing and treatment, please call (402) 493-4175 for an appointment with an Omaha sleep dentist at the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center.