Snoring is one of the general types of sleep disorders characterized by difficulty with respiration during sleep. When airflow is obstructed during sleep, we (snore) produce a hoarse and harsh sound through our mouths or/and noses. Our throats relax during sleep, making the airway narrow, which causes the air flowing in and out of the body to vibrate. Snoring can also be accompanied by snorting sounds, gasping, and wheezing.
In some cases, snoring is loud, and in others, it is pretty subdued. It can also be constant or intermittent. While snoring can vary from one person to the next, one thing that is crystal clear is that snoring compromises the quality of sleep of the snorer as well as their partners.
Whether you snore or not can depend on several factors, the most common one being your gender, according to studies, snoring tends to affect more men than women, with an estimated 40% of men experiencing snoring compared to 37% of women.
If you are obese, you are more susceptible to snoring as the presence of too much fat around the neck puts extra pressure on the air passage during sleep, causing it to narrow. If you carry excess weight in the torso, you are also at a greater risk of snoring and other kinds of sleep-disrupted breathing.
Drinking too much alcohol can also relax the throat muscles too much during sleep, causing snoring. You shouldn’t drink within four hours of sleep to enjoy a good night’s sleep.
Smoking tends to irritate and agitate throat tissue, causing a blockage in the airway, making snoring more likely.
Eating too heavily just before retiring to bed can also set off snoring.
Effects of snoring
Getting a good night’s sleep is vital for our wellbeing, but many of us have dismissed snoring as natural for many years. We often ignore it as a simple sound, albeit annoying to others, that doesn’t affect our health. It is time we took snoring a little more seriously, as it can impact the quality of our sleep in profound ways that are impossible to ignore. Snoring is a crucial symptom of OSA and can point to a severe health condition.
A lot of people snore every day. For some, though, it may be a recurrent issue. Understanding why we snore, how snoring sounds affect us, and how to reduce it is vital. Remember, snoring does not just affect you, the snorer; it aggravates and disrupts people’s sleep close to you.
A quiet and peaceful atmosphere makes for a healthy, good night’s sleep. Snoring is characterized by harsh, loud, and frequent sounds. It is impossible to fully rest if you are a snorer or sleep next to one. This lack of rest has many effects on our health, including;
- Tiredness and lethargic feelings making it difficult to get your day started,
- Persistent headaches upon waking up,
- The lack of proper rest at night can cause our minds to be unclear or foggy,
- Unsettled emotions and thoughts,
- Increased tension and anxiety,
- Daytime sleepiness,
- Moodiness, etc.
- Lower libido and less interest in sex
Snoring can also make you more susceptible to;
- Heart disease,
- Mental problems,
- Decreased sexual desire,
- Drop-in oxygen level,
- Weight gain,
- Motor vehicle or heavy machinery accidents, etc.
So just how does snoring affect sleep?
It is a fact that snoring can directly adversely affect sleep. Let’s dig into the main problem regular a snorer faces.
First off, did you know that chronic snoring is a pathway to Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)? OSA is a severe sleep disorder characterized by breathing pauses during sleep which can last as long as 10 seconds and can occur as many as five times for every hour of sleep.
Secondly, while snorers might sound like they are in a deep sleep from all their snoring, they aren’t. They do not pass the whole sleep cycle; they sleep lightly as their body struggles to keep the muscles tense enough to keep the air flowing. Without a doubt, this extra effort will diminish the quality of the phases of sleep that restore and repair our mental and physical capabilities.
Can anything be done?
As we have seen in this article, snoring can put quite a damper on the quality of life you lead. So is there any hope for the chronic snorer? Below are some tips on how you can give a shot.
1) If you’re overweight, lose weight to help reduce the amount of throat tissue that may be causing your snoring.
2) Sleep on your side. When you sleep on your back, gravity tends to pull your tongue lower in the throat, partly blocking airflow through your throat.
3) Elevate the head of your bed, say by about 3-4 inches, to keep your airways open and help reduce your snoring.
4) Treat nasal congestion and chronic allergies. Nasal congestion and allergies can obstruct airflow through your mouth, increasing the likelihood of you snoring.
5) Use of anti snore devices. These devices help stops snoring by keeping your airways opened making breathing easier.
6) Quit smoking. Smoking is an addictive habit that is terrible for your lungs, but it can also increase your snoring.
7) Limit or avoid alcohol and sedatives. Drinking alcohol too close to your bedtime can relax your throat muscles too much and cause snoring. Seek a doctor’s advice on an alternative to sedatives you take before bed as they may cause snoring.
8) Get enough sleep. Ensure you catch some sleep for at least 7 hours every night is highly recommended and can help avoid snoring.
Snoring compromises the quality of sleep we need to recharge our mental and physical capacities, which affects the overall quality of our daily lives.
Anxiety, fatigue, daytime sleepiness, and mood swings are just some of the effects of snoring. What’s worse, snoring also affects your bed partner’s sleep, which often affects their mood and well-being. So we must try to maintain sleep hygiene and detect snoring. There is hope for snorers if they get the proper treatment at the right time.