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How to win at the new dating game

According to a 2015 study by the Pew Research Center, 15 percent of American adults have used online dating sites (web-based platforms like Match.com) and/or dating apps (location-based smartphone apps like Tinder).

Online dating sites are gatekeepers to a massive population of potential partners; they control who we meet and how, says Consumer Reports. Collectively, we spend huge sums of money on matchmaking, not to mention all the time and substantial emotional investment.

Create a Profile With Polish

The first thing potential partners see about you is a few lines of text and some photos, so there's a lot riding on those words and pictures. This reality has spawned a cottage industry of professional online dating consultants who charge for helping you to create the most inviting online persona. Consumer Reports asked Jodi Manfredi of Dynamic Dating Profiles, based in San Diego, to share some tips.

-- The purpose of your profile is to get the reader's attention. You want to make them laugh or at least smile. At the same time, you want to be brief. Keep your profile answers under 400 words, total.

-- To make a strong first impression, do more than use a string of adjectives describing yourself, like "I'm funny, I'm generous, I'm loyal." Instead, describe your best qualities using anecdotes. Did you go to a developing country to build a water system? Manfredi suggests writing something like "You'll have to ask me about my trip to Haiti." That indicates there's an interesting story and invites the reader to hear the rest. Consider tone. You don't want your profile to sound like a resume or to come across as bragging about how wonderful you are. Show that you're human and humble through a joke, a self-effacing story or a humorous anecdote.

-- Never lie about your age. A woman Manfredi was working with kept telling her how much integrity she had, and how she once gave back an extra $20 she got at an ATM. Later in the conversation, she said she was 56. Manfredi told her she had said she was 52. "Oh, I lied," she said. Manfredi told her to leave the part about integrity off her profile.

-- Choose the right photos. Use recent pictures, something taken within the past 12 months -- no older than that. Everyone needs at least one good close-up headshot. You can enlist a professional photographer, but in Manfredi's opinion, the best photos are taken by loved ones: kids, parents, a friend. Be sure to include a photo where you're engaged in an activity you enjoy, maybe out with friends, maybe holding a glass of wine.

-- There are some things to avoid in photos. For example, people like to see your eyes. So try not to include pictures with sunglasses. And Manfredi told Consumer Reports you should be sure to upload one full-body standing shot that shows your body type, so there are no surprises once you meet up in person.

To learn more visit, ConsumerReports.org

How to stop snoring

Some 37 million Americans snore, making grunting, whistling, choking, snorting and/or chain sawlike sounds on a regular basis, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

The bothersome noises occur when the airway narrows or is partly blocked during sleep, often thanks to nasal congestion, floppy tissue, alcohol or enlarged tonsils, explains Consumer Reports.

Your snoring can not only ruin your partner's shut-eye but also is a red flag for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is marked by noisy stops and starts in breathing during sleep, and hikes risks of cardiovascular disease, stroke, cardiac arrhythmia and hypertension. And 34 percent of men and 19 percent of women who snore routinely have OSA or are at risk for it, says the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

Consumer Reports offers this advice on how to stop snoring -- for yourself or for the person you share a bed with.

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Start With Lifestyle Steps

-- Ease a stuffy nose. Over-the-counter nasal strips "may help keep nasal passageways open," says Romy Hoque, M.D., assistant professor of neurology at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta. You can also rinse your nose with an over-the-counter saline solution or stand in a steamy shower.

-- Elevate your head. You can buy a special pillow to lift your chin and keep your tongue from blocking the back of your throat as you sleep. Any wedge-shaped pillow will do, Hoque says.

-- Sleep on your side. To keep from rolling onto your back during the night, which triggers snoring, place a body or bolster pillow against your back.

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-- Avoid alcohol for four hours before bed. Alcohol relaxes your airway muscles, constricting airflow.

-- Quit smoking. Tobacco smoke can irritate throat membranes.

-- Lose excess weight. "Fat around the neck compresses the upper airway and impedes airflow," says Raj Dasgupta, M.D., assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. In fact, OSA has been associated with a neck circumference greater than 17 inches in men and greater than 16 inches in women.

Try Exercises to Strengthen Your Mouth and Tongue

Snoring occurs when soft tissue in your throat partially blocks the airway, and airflow causes the tissue to vibrate, producing the telltale noise. Some research suggests that strengthening the mouth and tongue may help prevent snoring.

Consumer Reports suggests trying these exercises (perform each 20 times):

-- Exercise 1: Push the tip of the tongue against the roof of the mouth and slide the tongue backward.

-- Exercise 2: Suck the tongue upward against the roof of the mouth and press the entire tongue against the roof of the mouth.

-- Exercise 3: Force the back of the tongue against the floor of the mouth while keeping the tip of the tongue in contact with the bottom front teeth.

-- Exercise 4: Elevate the soft palate (the back of the roof of the mouth) and the uvula (the fleshy protrusion that hangs from the soft palate) while making the vowel sound "A."

To learn more, visit ConsumerReports.org

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