Everyone agrees that snoring is really annoying. It could even wear out a relationship in case your partner’s snoring torments your nights and make you feel tired during the day. Dealing with this situation is far from being easy. But what exactly causes snoring? When you are asleep (and especially if you like to sleep on your back), your tongue, jaw, and throat become very relaxed.
This can potentially narrow your throat’s airway so that when you breathe in, the air causes the soft tissue around your throat to vibrate. That tissue vibration is responsible for that atrocious snoring sound. This is perfectly normal and affects about 90 million Americans.
There are a few things you can do to counter that vibration. But in some cases, snoring could be a sign of a dangerous medical condition:
obstructive sleep apnea. If someone notices your snoring is abnormally aggressive you should seek a sleep specialist and listen to his advice.
But even though snoring is normal, some aspects strongly influence its frequency and intensity.
#1 – Being Overweight
Obesity is considered one of the main causing factors of snoring. This happens because fat begins to deposit in the neck and throat area, making it thicken enough to disturb the airflow. Overweight people are also more prone to snoring because they usually have a lower and thicker soft palate that narrows the airway and makes them snore.
#2 – Alcohol Overconsumption
As you probably know, alcohol relaxes your muscles. There is a chance that it can relax your throat muscles up to a point where it causes some kind of airflow obstruction. If you snore after a night of drinking, don’t worry. Just don’t turn it into a habit, because snoring is far from being the most concerning effect of alcohol overconsumption.
#3 – Stuffy Nose
When you have a stuffy nose, you will have to do all the breathing through your mouth. This considerably increases the chances of snoring. If your partner complains about this, just try to avoid sleeping on your back when you have nasal congestion.
Sinus infection commonly known as sinusitis, this occurs when the tissue lining to the sinuses becomes inflamed. This inflammation blocks the sinuses and fills them with fluid and germs. Snoring is one of the symptoms of a sinus infection (cough, congestion, fever, fatigue and the loss of smell are other symptoms).
#4 – Medication
Just like alcohol, sedatives and antidepressants can act as muscle relaxants and make you snore. If you suspect that your medication is causing this problem, ask your doctor if some changes can be made to your prescription drugs.
#5 – The Shape Of Your Nose
A deviated septum can make it harder to breathe and lead to snoring. This can be usually fixed with a simple and easy to recover surgery, so you should talk to your doctor and ask for his opinion. If you have serious breathing problems, it will definitely be worth it and will improve your quality of life in several other aspects.
#6 – How To Stop Snoring?
There are a few things you can try. Changing your sleep position is a good way to stop snoring naturally, so you should try to sleep on your side and see if that is enough. If that doesn’t work, you can also try an anti-snoring pillow.
These are pillows that have been shaped a certain way to help prevent snoring by aligning the spine and keep you in a position during your sleep where the airway isn’t obstructed.
There are some very technologically advanced options on the market right now, such as the Smart Nora Snoring Pillow: a pillow that uses wireless technology to detect your snores and gently rearrange your head position during your sleep.
Nasal snoring strips can also be effective for people who only snore moderately. They keep the narrowest part of the nasal passage open to allow for better airflow. Or you can just keep your mouth closed during the night by using a snoring chin strap: a device made from fabric that you wear around your head and forces your mouth to stay closed by applying some pressure to your chin. But we don’t recommend this at all as in some cases it may make it very difficult to breathe. And you will definitely look weird.
Lastly, make sure you have good sleeping habits and drink enough water. If you are overtired when you go to bed, you will enter a state of deep sleep; your muscles will become excessively relaxed which makes it more likely to produce snoring. And if you are dehydrated, your nose and soft palate will become stickier and make you more prone to snoring.
Snoring could also be a sign of a serious disorder called obstructive sleep apnea. This is a condition that completely blocks the throat and stops you from breathing while you are asleep. This means that the oxygen flow stops, which alerts your brain that enters in survival mode and wakes you up so you can properly breathe again. This could happen dozens of times an hour, so you can see how dangerous it is.
Sleep apnea is known to cause diabetes, heart disease, heart attack, high blood pressure, fatigue (after all, you are constantly waking up), and even some forms of cancer. There is a sleep apnea device called a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine that is commonly used to fix this problem. It functions by forcing air down your throat.
It works, but has a huge downside: it is a massive mask that will make you go to sleep looking like Tom Hardy’s Bane character every night. And that’s far from being comfortable. Nowadays there are simpler options like custom molded plastics to wear on your teeth, forcing your jaw to stay in a position that allows air to flow normally. You may need to get used to it, but after a few weeks, you probably won’t even notice it. And your nights will be incomparably more peaceful.