Snoring is one of the most annoying habits in a relationship; it's even been the cause of some break ups! So, what causes this noisy problem?
Snoring occurs when there is obstructed air movement in the respiratory system as a person sleeps. The obstructive air causes vibrations in the mouth, which creates the snoring sound, similar to the way a wind instrument works but certainly not as sweet-sounding! Medical examinations of people who snore show that they tend to have excessive nasal tissue, called "floppy tissue."
Snoring comes with a range of health issues such sleep deprivation and it can even increase the risk of cardiac arrest. The vibration of the carotid artery caused by snoring can lead to atherosclerotic plaque; which can lead to ischemic stroke. Loud snoring noises are often an indication that the person is suffering from obstructive sleep apnea.
Snoring has negative effects on the lifestyle the snorer, their partner and their family. Studies have shown that snoring sufferers can develop psychological issues as they feel uncomfortable forming intimate friendships and relationships due to their snoring. Research conducted on the life of married couples indicated that the relationship drastically improved after the snoring was treated.
So, Why do People Snore?
We have compiled a list of reasons on what may cause a person to snore:
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
OSA is a serious medical condition which is associated with extremely loud snoring and abrupt pauses. The breathing slows down drastically and the person snorts or gasps at intervals. This causes a mirco-awakening (unbeknownst to the snorer) to get the body breathing again. Even though the awakening is not noticed, it still contributes to sleep deprivation. The sudden shallow breathing and long rows of loud snores can be very dangerous for heart health, as it can cause ruptures in arms.
Obesity or being overweight can also contribute to snoring as it causes the fat tissue to bulk up around the throat, putting pressure on the air passage while sleeping.
Women who are pregnant often tend to snore more. Similar to weight gain, the throat tissue bulks up during pregnancy and causes obstruction in the air pathway.
Genetics may play a vital role in snoring and sleep apnea. If an ancestor was a snorer, you are also likely to be one as you get older. It may mean that you have inherited enlarged tonsils, a long soft palate or uvula, or large adenoids.
Allergy-related snoring is usually temporary and will last until you recover from the flu, cold or congestion. For people who have a history of snoring, allergies often inflame the condition.
Sleeping Pills and Other Medication
Snoring is often highlighted as one of the side effects of sleeping pills and other medications that target TSH and hormonal imbalance. These type of medications can relax the throat tissues to an extent that they start obstructive the flow of air, leading to snoring.
Alcohol And Smoking
Alcohol and smoking can exacerbate the problem for snorers. Studies have linked alcohol and smoking to sleep apnea, as alcohol relaxes the tissues in the throat, interrupting airflow during sleep. Smoking can clog up the airways and affect the role of the lungs, causing heavy snoring.
Eating Before Bedtime
Many studies show that eating half an hour prior to bedtime can cause snoring as the residue from food can hinder the respiratory cavity.
Children And Babies
A deviated septum is usually the cause of snoring for most babies. In some cases it could have due to laryngomalacia which are quirks congesting the air passage.
However, not all snoring is necessarily bad, sometimes snoring is sporadic and temporary, this is normal and not usually related to any major health problems. It could be due to lack of sleep, extreme fatigue and the wrong sleeping position. Have a think about what the cause of your snoring could be and make the relevant changes, if possible, to tame the noisy beast!