A new study shows that snoring can be a risk factor for hardening of the arteries – an early warning sign for heart disease – as much as smoking, having high cholesterol, or being overweight. Researchers at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital examined more than 900 people and found that the act of snoring itself can cause your carotid arteries – the brain’s primary pathway to receive oxygen – to thicken and harden. How do you know if snoring is increasing your risk of heart-health problems? “Individuals who snore all night, every night, and the snoring can be heard outside the bedroom with the door closed” should see a sleep specialist, says study co-author Dr. Kathleen Yaremchuk. However, if you snore after drinking or taking a medication like Benadryl, when sick, or after a night of missed sleep, you shouldn’t worry, she adds.