Why do some people snore? What are the causes of snoring?
Obstructed nasal airways – In general, anything that gets in the way of a smooth passage of air through the nose, mouth or throat, to the lungs can cause snoring.
Being Overweight / Bulky Throat Tissue – One of the most common reasons for snoring is having too much tissue in the throat and nasal areas. This increase in mass near the breathing passages can restrict the flow of air. The additional weight on the neck can also press down on the throat during sleep.
This is why people who have never snored in the past, may begin snoring when they put on a few pounds.
Allergies and Sinus Infections – Temporary snoring problems can be caused by seasonal allergies, having a stuffy nose from a cold, or from sinus infections. The snoring caused by these temporary problems should go away once you have relieved the condition.
Deviated Septum – We have two nostrils which gives us two passages for air to come in through the nose. When the bone and cartilage separating the two sides is blocked or bent, this can cause a snoring problem.
Nasal Polyps - Nasal polyps are non-cancerous growths of the tissues that line the nose and sinuses. These small obstructions can cause, among other things, sinus problems and snoring.
Being Male – Statistically speaking, more men snore than women.
Poor Muscle Tone in the Tongue and Throat – Alcohol, sleeping pills, extreme tiredness, and other factors may lead to poor muscle tone in the throat or tongue. This can be temporary, when for instance, the person has had too much to drink. It can also be more difficult to control when it’s caused by something like aging. Exercises can be found online to help tone the tongue and throat.
Back Sleeping – When you sleep on your back, the angle of your head, neck and throat can cause the sides of the breathing passages to come together. The contact this causes results in the vibration known as snoring.
Abnormal Physical Structure – In rare cases, the top of the mouth or the throat may be shaped abnormally, narrowing the opening from the nose to the throat.
What are the immediate consequences of snoring?
Lack of Restorative Rest – People who snore have a less restful sleep than those who don’t. Snoring can cause frequent waking during the night. It can make you sleep more lightly and deprive you of the benefits of a deep and restful night’s sleep. Many people with snoring problems wake up in the morning feeling less rested than they did when they went to bed.
Frequent Waking During the Night – The sound and feel of snoring can wake the snorer up during the night – sometimes many, many times during the night. This sleep interruption also contributes to a lack of a full, deep sleep.
Interrupted Breathing – When the air passages close, even for a moment, the passage of air into the vital organs is stopped. This interruption can last for only a second or two. It can also go on for several minutes.
Strain on Bed Partners and Relationships – The snorer is not the only person affected by the grating sounds of snoring. Often, the person who is snoring sleeps right through the disruption or falls back to sleep quickly. Their partner, on the other hand, may not be so lucky. Waking because a bed partner is snoring can be a frustrating experience and
can cause quite a bit of stress on a relationship. The strain of this disrupted sleep may even lead to sleeping in separate rooms.
Daytime Tiredness – People who don’t get enough truly restful sleep during the night are more likely to be tired and less mentally alert during the day. This goes for both the person who snores and the person whose sleep is disturbed by the sounds of snoring. This fatigue can results in accidents, emotional strain, and the need for long, daytime naps.
What are the long-term consequences of snoring? What snoring can lead to if untreated.
High Blood Pressure – Researchers have found that sleep apnea and snoring can cause high blood pressure. Simply eliminating the snoring problem can reduce blood pressure, if only a small amount.
Strain on the Heart – Snoring causes a drop in oxygen levels causing the brain to release hormones whose job it is to trigger breathing. Producing too much of these hormones can contribute to high blood pressure, cause a strain on the heart and even set a person up for a heart attack.
Chronic Fatigue – Anyone whose sleep is continuously interrupted will suffer from chronic fatigue.
Loss of Hearing – Snoring can cause hearing loss in both the snorer and bed partner. A small pilot study of patients who have slept next to snorers for at least fifteen years found that the partners of the snorers had significant hearing loss in the ear that was most exposed to snoring.
Poorer Quality of Life – We all know what it feels like to be tired. Reaction time suffers. One is more likely to get ill or have accidents. And the emotional strain of trying to cope is likely to reduce enjoyment of life and the satisfaction of relationships.
How do you know if you snore during the night?
Most people find out they’re snoring from a bed partner. Others find out by finding their snoring wakes them during the night
There are also snoring apps on the market you can set up to detect snoring and offer the details of when and for how long you snore
Sleep clinics are also a way people discover the extent of their snoring problem.
Once you know you have a problem with snoring, it’s time to find out how to treat it.
What is the difference between snoring and sleep apnea?
The main different between snoring and sleep apnea is how long and how completely the air passages are blocked when you sleep.
With sleep apnea, the airways close off, interrupting breathing and depriving the person of oxygen until they awaken and start breathing again. The pauses in breathing may be accompanied by gasping for breath.
A person who snores is still getting oxygen through the airways and does not necessarily have to awaken to regain control of breathing.
What is the difference between snoring and sleep apnea?
A variety of options are available for the treatment of snoring. One of the most effective and popular is the anti-snoring mouthpiece.
Here are some others worthy of mention.
Surgery – The most extreme treatment option is surgery. Although first on the list, this one should be the last resort. Several different types of surgery are available. A doctor specializing in snoring and sleep apnea will decide which one to use. Like all surgeries, any one used to treat snoring will have side effects you should understand before agreeing to the procedure.
Reduce Weight – Obesity is known to cause snoring. If you are overweight, losing a few pounds can help lessen your tendency to snore.
Anti-snoring Pillows – People who snore tend to sleep on their backs. This sleeping position allows the mouth to open, the jaw to relax and drop backward. The tongue can slide backward and block the airways. This causes snoring. The purpose of an anti-snoring pillow is to make it comfortable for the person to sleep on their side. Side sleeping is more likely to keep the air paths open.
Changing Bed Positions – Finding a comfortable position in bed, where you can position your head and neck to keep open airways is one way to minimize or eliminate snoring.
Avoid Alcohol – Alcohol is a depressant. It relaxes the muscles of the body, including the ones in the throat. During sleep, when these muscles are too relaxed, they can’t do their job of keeping the air passages open. To get enough oxygen, the body has to force air in. This causes a vibration that makes the snoring sound.
Avoid Sleeping Pills – Sleeping pills and some other medications, such as antihistamines, can relax you and put you to sleep. But, like alcohol, the can also relax your throat too much. This makes snoring much worse.
Use a Humidifier – People suffering from allergies or upper respiratory illness might find it helpful to use a humidifier at night. A humidifier puts more moisture in the air. This slight dampness loosens the mucus and helps clear the air passages. This can reduce snoring.
Nose Strips – Using adhesive nose strips can help limit snoring by keeping the nasal passages open.
Chin Straps – Anti-snoring chin straps are a way of position the mouth to help prevent it from falling open. A closed mouth is less likely to tighten the airways and cause snoring.
Throat Spray – People disagree about the effectiveness of throat sprays in reducing snoring. However, the minty flavor may clear up congestion and open breathing passages.
CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) Machines – CPAP is a specialized treatment for people with more than just ordinary problems with snoring. This bulky device is sometimes recommended for people with a disorder called sleep apnea. The CPAP machine is designed to make sure the airways don’t collapse while the person is sleeping.
Anti-Snoring Mouthpiece – A popular solution to snoring problems is the anti-snoring mouthpiece. When you sleep your lower jaw naturally relaxes and your tongue falls partially back toward your throat. This slight blockage causes the vibrations known as snoring. An anti-snoring device works by gently positioning the lower jaw to help keep breathing passages open. These devices fit easily in the mouth and are one of the most affordable treatments for snoring.
How can successful treatment of snoring improve your life?
The joys of getting a good night’s sleep can only be imagined by many people who snore.
Feeling Rested – A successful snoring solution can finally bring about that full night’s sleep some people have been dreaming of. That feeling of being fully rested has such an impact on every other aspect of life. When your sleep is no longer disturbed by snoring, you’ll be able to greet each day fully rested and ready to face the world.
Increased Energy – With a full night’s rest comes increased energy and zest for living.
Lower Blood Pressure – Snoring can raise blood pressure. When you quit snoring, you blood pressure can then go down, relieve the stress on your heart and other body organs.
Not Having to Sleep Alone – The snorer too frequently is left sleeping alone, sometimes in bed and sometimes on the couch. When you no longer snore, you can cuddle up to your partner knowing you won’t be sending them away as soon as you fall asleep.
A Well-Rested Partner – A well-rested partner is a happy partner and a partner who does not suffer the emotional and physical strains of a sleepless night. Your life and theirs is far improved when you no longer snore.