Snoring, familiar to many as noisy breathing during sleep time, is common. From time to time, anyone can snore. It affects people of all ages, babies, children, and adults. However, it becomes intense with age, and it is common in men and in people who are obese. Though it is not commonly a severe problem, it can escalate to severe levels by affecting the quality of your sleep and the sleeping patterns of your sleep partner. Let’s learn more about this phenomenon, its causes, and treatment options.
What causes snoring?
Snoring is caused by obstruction of air while flowing through the throat. Usually, air flows freely through the fully open airways during the wake hours. While one is asleep, the soft tissues of the airways relax. While the air is flowing, it faces resistance. While forcing its way through the obstructed areas, the soft tissues in the mouth, nose, and throat bump into each other thus, vibration occurs.
From this vibration, the rattling sound occurs, thus snoring. This blockage of the airway can be caused by various factors such as bulky throat tissue, alcohol, and drug abuse, excess body fat, nasal inflammation from cold, flu, allergies, and improper sleeping positions.
Since anyone can snore, some risk factors contribute to elevated snoring levels in others. Some of these factors include;
- People who are obese are more likely to snore and have more sleep breathing problems. Neck fat in obese people compresses the upper way when they sleep. Furthermore, abdominal fat applies too much pressure on the lungs by pushing the diaphragm up.
- Your chances of snoring increase with age. As you age, your throat muscle will sag and increase the probability of airflow obstruction while asleep. In addition, older women have less estrogen, which helps hold the soft tissues in place.
- Since alcohol is a depressant, it slows down the functioning of the central nervous system, which in effect relaxes the throat muscles. Thus, snoring occurs.
- Nasal problems. The space inside the nose can be affected by various problems such as deviated nasal septums, polyps, and nighttime allergies, which increase the risk of snoring.
Symptoms of snoring
Unless when informed by someone that you are snoring during your sleep, it can be challenging to be aware. However, especially when you sleep alone, you can detect snoring through various symptoms despite recording your night sleep sounds using various voice recording sounds. Some of these symptoms include;
- Daytime sleepiness and fatigue.
- High blood pressure
- Morning headaches
- Low concentration levels
- Memory loss
- Dry or sore throat while waking up
How is snoring linked to sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a severe condition that requires serious attention and treatment. This condition causes repeated starts and stops of breathing while one is asleep. Obstructive sleep apnea, which occurs when neck muscles relax, and central sleep apnea, which occurs when the brain does not provide correct signals to control sleeping, are the two main types of sleep apnea.
Snoring has links to obstructive sleep apnea, where the muscles in the back of your throat relax, thus obstructing airflow. In effect, your brain recognizes a lack of oxygen and wakes you up briefly to reopen the airway. This awakening, however, is usually brief such that you can’t recall it.
Remedies to snoring
There are various remedies you can apply to eliminate snoring. Some of these remedies require the intervention of a medical specialist, while others do not. Some home remedies include changing lifestyles such as avoiding alcohol, quitting smoking, and weight reduction. In addition, you can improve your sleeping positions by applying good sleeping practices.
On the other hand, there are various medical remedies that you can apply. Your sleep provider will provide you with the appropriate medical solution. Here are some medical solutions that you can apply to help solve your snoring problem.
- Surgery is necessary to solve a physical problem that leads you to snore.
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP). Involves wearing a mask over the nose and or mouth while sleeping. This mask is connected to a machine that provides an unobstructed airflow into the nostrils.
In addition to being annoying and disruptive, long-term snoring can lead to serious health complications. While you detect long-term snoring, take the necessary steps to solve the problem. If it escalates to abnormal levels, seek immediate intervention from your provider.