Snoring is the snorting or grunting sound resulting from obstruction of air movement in breathing during sleep. Sometimes the noises sound like wheezes or whistles and indicate a blockage in your air passage.
You may be a snorer and not be aware of it, meaning people you live with, especially your bed partner, are the ones that suffer from the noise of your snoring while you sleep blissfully. If you experience complications like daytime sleepiness, concentration issues, and high risks of accidents, you are most likely a snorer.
Who snores more?
The belief that men generally snore more than women is widespread. But is there any truth in this, or is it a huge misconception? This article will look at everything you need to know about female snoring and how to remedy it.
There are apparent gender differences in snoring, and yes, men snore more than women.
Women and men have anatomical differences that cause more men to snore than women, with 4 out of every ten men being snorers and 3 out of 10 women.
Naturally, men have narrower air passages than women, making them more susceptible to snoring during sleep. The thinner the air passage, the harder it is for oxygen to flow during breathing. Also, when air is trying to pass through a narrow opening, the tissues surrounding the air passage vibrate aggressively, and snoring becomes louder.
Studies show that more men consume alcohol than women do. They also consume it more often and in excess, more often than not. Men also have a higher tendency to smoke compared to women. All these factors increase their chances of snoring as a side effect.
Reasons for snoring in women
Snoring is a health issue for both men and women. However, some factors can cause snoring that affects women more than men. These include
Various transitional phases can alter your metabolism as a woman, including hormonal imbalance, pregnancy, and menopause. Weight gain is one of the top triggers of loud snoring. Snoring and weight gain are closely related. Excessive weight leads to the build-up of fat around the neck area, which puts pressure on the throat and obstructs the airway, subsequently leading to snoring, and snoring can lead to interrupted sleep patterns, which can cause weight gain.
When you are exhausted, your snoring can be worse. This is because you are trying to get more deep sleep, where your muscles are more relaxed. These relaxed muscles tend to block your airways partially, leading to more snoring.
Snoring in pregnancy is no foreign thing. As the pregnancy progresses, the worse the snoring and congestion get. Weight gain and surging pregnancy hormones are the main culprits here. Your weight is likely to increase as the baby grows. Excess weight gain is a trigger for snoring. Elevated levels of estrogen and progesterone dilate blood vessels and cause swelling in the mucus membranes in your nose, which results in nasal congestion, which increases when you lie down, leading to snoring.
Snoring raises the risk of high blood pressure, which is detrimental to the lives of both the mother and the unborn baby.
Snoring tends to increase as we grow older due to the loss of muscle tone in the upper airway. The soft palate tissues become loose and vibrate more as you breathe when sleeping. The movement and vibration of those tissues, including the uvula, cause the snoring sound. Menopause is a transitional stage that can reduce muscle tone in the throat and cause snoring in women.
The ovaries gradually reduce their production of estrogen and progesterone during perimenopause, resulting in hot flashes, mood disorders, insomnia, and sleep-disordered breathing. Most sleep problems often come with snoring.
Snoring plus pauses or gasps in breathing may indicate that you are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea, a severe sleep disorder in which breathing is momentarily paused when you are sleeping.
Apnea is a breathing pause that lasts for about ten seconds.
Sleep Apnea occurs when airflow is severely obstructed, resulting in compromised or completely choked airflow while trying to breathe during sleep. These pauses in breathing can happen multiple times in one night and produce choking or gasping sounds.
Ways to stop snoring in women
1) Control your weight
Excess weight around the neck adds pressure to the internal diameter of the throat and compresses the airways when you lie down, triggering snoring. Shedding the extra weight can slim down the fat tissue in the neck and help minimize snoring.
2) Stay hydrated
Drinking plenty of fluids can help reduce snoring. Dehydration increases the secretion of thick, sticky mucus in the mouth and throat that causes snoring. It is recommended that women drink a total of eleven cups of water from all fluids and food daily.
3) Choose suitable pillows.
Snoring is sometimes caused by allergens resulting from dust mites that tend to accumulate in pillows. Minimize dust mites and allergy-causing substances by putting your pillows in the air fluff cycle fortnightly and changing them every six months. You can also use anti-snoring pillows to prevent your airways from getting blocked.
Using wedge pillows to elevate your upper body and align your spine can help keep your air passage fully open and reduce snoring.
4) Maintain sleep hygiene
Sleep hygiene involves getting sufficient and consistent sleep on a comfortable bed in a cool and dark room.
To maintain sleep hygiene;
- Follow a strict going to bed and waking up routine,
- Use good quality blinds or blackout curtains,
- Keep all screens and electronic devices at bay close to bedtime.
5) Avoid alcohol before bed.
Alcohol has laxative effects on the throat muscles meaning your control over your throat muscles and tongue, resulting in vibration and snoring. Avoid consuming alcohol too close to bedtime.
6) Avoid sleeping on your back.
Sleeping on the back can cause your tongue and soft palate to collapse to the back of your throat, narrowing your air passage, resulting in snoring during sleep. Try sleeping on the side instead.
7) Check your nasal passages.
Blocked airways often result in snoring. Keep your nasal passages open by;
- Applying nasal strips on the bridge of the nose to increase the space in the nasal passage,
- Using a nasal dilator. A nasal dilator is an adhesive strip with embedded splints applied on top of the nose across the nostrils to minimize airflow resistance and keep the airway open.
- Treat your allergies with over-the-counter antihistamine pills or a nasal spray to prevent blockage and snoring.
8) Anti Snoring devices
In some cases, using anti snoring devices has been shown to be an effective way to stop snoring in women.
While snoring affects more males than females, it is still a big problem for women. Transitional stages unique to women such as pregnancy and menopause make women more susceptible to snoring. Snoring is a nuisance and can at times be a sign of more severe sleep disorders such as sleep apnea. Finding out the cause of your snoring and getting the proper treatment is vital for both men and women.