DEAR HARRIETTE: My boyfriend constantly complains that I always snore while sleeping. I can tell this bothers him a lot. I feel as if I'm disrupting his otherwise peaceful sleep. What can I do to make our nights more comfortable? -- Nocturnally Noisy, Chicago
DEAR NOCTURNALLY NOISY: Snoring is a challenge for many couples. In some cases, it can be so bad that couples decide to go to separate rooms to get uninterrupted sleep. That could be an option, but it doesn't address the real problem.
Snoring is a symptom of several health conditions, and you should find out if you have any of them. Go to the doctor for a complete physical, and tell him or her about your snoring. Before your appointment, ask your boyfriend if you snore more frequently or loudly at particular times -- after drinking alcohol, when you have a cold, after you have eaten certain foods, when it's hot or humid in your bedroom, etc. The more data you have about your sleep patterns, the more helpful you can be to your doctor.
The doctor will evaluate your health and treat you if needed. He or she also can give you general recommendations for sleeping more quietly and soundly.
For now, make sure your head is elevated. You also may want to sleep on your side rather than on your back.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am 18 years old and have always been average weight -- not too skinny and not too big. Recently, though, my weight has been seriously fluctuating. When it's time to eat, for some reason I am always severely hungry. This is a problem, because I have gained a significant amount of weight.
Everyone around me always reassures me that I am not big and that I look normal. But I strongly disagree. I want to be healthy, I want to be fit and I want to be skinny. How can I watch my eating habits? -- Uncomfortable in My Skin, Bronx, N.Y.
DEAR UNCOMFORTABLE: It's time to make an appointment with your internist. Get a complete physical, and be sure to explain what has been happening with your diet and your hunger issues. Talk to the doctor about any stress you may be experiencing and any major changes in your life, and about how you feel overall.
Verify how much weight you have gained, and ask your doctor to help you understand why this may be happening. Your friends are not experts on your body. While you may actually look good right now, if you feel that you are not eating in a healthy manner, you should get help right away.
Ask about working with a nutritionist. It's possible that with a professional's help, you can learn how to eat in a way that's right for your body.