Snoring is the sound that you make as air flows through relaxed tissues in your throat, causing vibration of tissues as you breathe. While almost everyone snores now and then, snoring can be a chronic problem for some people and may at times be a sign of a severe health condition.
If you are a snorer, I’m sure you can attest to the undesirable effects that snoring has on both you and your bed partner up at night. These may include; leaving both of you feeling groggy and irritated in the morning, something that can cause a rift in your relationship. Snoring can impact not only your health and personal life, but it can also jeopardize your performance at work.
If you’ve had it with the snoring and are eager to find a solution for it, this article is for you. Let’s take an in-depth look at what could be causing your snoring and what you can do to prevent it and get you back to enjoying quality and quantity sleep.
Why Do People Snore?
To answer this question correctly, you will first need to understand why snoring is contrary to the common belief that snoring is natural and can occur randomly; snoring results from specific processes within the body that happen and cause your snoring.
Snoring could occur if;
- Relaxed muscle tissue is blocking the air passage,
- Inflammation in the tongue, throat, or uvula is causing the tissue to block the airway,
- Abnormal development or injury within the airway has caused interference.
Snoring mainly occurs when loose tissue partially blocks the airways. There are four kinds of snoring: Throat, tongue, mouth, and nose.
Main Factors That Cause Snoring
Several underlying factors may be triggering your snoring every night. Some of our tendencies or behaviors can cause relaxation in the throat muscles, thus causing the tissue to vibrate, creating the snoring noise.
Below are some of the hidden causes of snoring;
1) Sleep apnea: Snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea, which hinders breathing during sleep.
2) Sleep deprivation: Believe it or not, not getting your 7-8 hours of sleep may be the trigger behind your noisy snoring. When you don’t get enough sleep, your throat muscles relax, blocking your air passage and causing vibrating noises (snores) as you breathe.
3) Physical deformities: A deviated septum, oversized tonsils, a soft palate lower than usual, and other physical conditions can contribute to snoring as they disrupt regular airflow.
4) Weight gain: if you are obese, you have more tissue around the throat and neck area. All the excess tissue puts more pressure on your airways and causes partial blockage. This increases your likelihood of snoring. This is why lots of women start to snore when they become pregnant.
5) Congestion: dry air can cause colds or congestion, dry out your throat tissues, and contribute to snoring.
6) Allergies: If you have seasonal or all-year allergies, your nose and throat can become inflamed, narrowing the airway’s size. This can increase the likelihood of your snoring.
7) Smoking: Like allergies, smoking irritates both your throat and nose tissues, increasing your likelihood of snoring.
8) Alcohol consumption: Alcohol produces sedative effects which cause your throat and neck muscles to relax, increasing your chances of snoring.
9) Sleeping pills and sedative medications: Just like with alcohol, sleeping drug and sedatives relaxes the throat muscles to relax, making you more likely to snore.
10) Sleep position: Sleeping on your back causes your tongue and soft palate to fall to the back of the throat making you more susceptible to snoring.
11) Age: Our throat and tongue muscles become weak and lose muscle tone. This narrows the airway, which causes vibration as air struggles to move freely through the airway.
Certain risk factors may contribute to snoring, including:
a) Narrow airway. Some people may have a long palate or large tonsils or adenoids, which can narrow the airway and cause snoring.
b) Gender. Being a man puts you at a higher risk of snoring.
c) Obesity. Overweight or obese people are more likely to snore because of all the excess weight, especially around the neck.
d) Drinking alcohol. Alcohol leads to the relaxation of your throat muscles, increasing the risk of snoring.
e) Having nasal problems. A structural defect in your air passage, such as a deviated septum or a chronically congested nose, can increase your risk of snoring.
f) Genetics. If your family has a history of snoring, then you are at a greater risk of snoring.
Persistent snoring can be a nuisance, especially to your bed partner, and can even cause a severe rift in your relationship. What’s more, snoring is sometimes associated with OSA, which can put you at risk for other complications, including:
- Daytime sleepiness
- Difficulty concentrating
- A greater risk of high blood pressure, heart conditions, and stroke
- An increased risk of motor vehicle accidents due to lack of sleep.
- Frequent frustration or anger
- An increased risk of behavior problems, such as aggression or learning problems, in children with OSA
How to stop snoring
If you can identify the most probable cause of your snoring, you may be able to cure your snoring once and for all. The severity of your snoring and its impact on your life will determine the best solution to fix your snoring. Sometimes the answer could be mild things like losing weight, avoiding alcohol close to bedtime, or changing your sleep position, but if your snoring is persistent, you may need to try high-commitment options.
Some devices and procedures may help improve or even cure your snoring. In some cases, one solution can work, or it may work better when used along with another type of treatment.
Simple changes you can try to improve snoring include:
- Losing weight if you’re obese.
- Exercising regularly. This will help you lose weight, tone your muscles and strengthen your lungs.
- Quitting smoking. It can irritate your nose and throat and cause congestion.
- Avoiding alcohol sedatives, antihistamines, and muscle relaxants because they can relax or close your throat muscles, causing snoring.
- Congestion associated with allergies can cause snoring. Some over-the-counter medications can relieve congestion and snoring.
- Sleeping on your side. This will prevent your tongue from collapsing into your airway. If you must sleep on your back, try propping yourself up with pillows. This may help keep your airways open, allow air to flow freely, and stop the snoring.
- Nasal strips. If you are congested, nasal strips can help keep your nose open. You might also want to try medications or nasal sprays for allergy or sinus problems recommended by your doctor.
If your snoring is more severe, your doctor might recommend you try the following:
- Surgery procedure to correct an abnormality in the anatomy of your mouth or nasal passage,
- A custom-fit mouthpiece, which will adjust your tongue and lower jaw to help open your airways while you sleep,
- A continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine. This machine has a mask fitted over your nose, or both your nose and mouth, and delicately blows air into your throat, which helps keep your airway open during sleep.
Snoring can be a pain, not just for you but for your loved ones too. It can impact your health, your personal life as well as your professional life. Never downplay your snoring, whether it occurs every night or just once in a while. I hope that you get all the information you need to get back your peaceful and restful nights back in this article.