What is Snoring

Overview

Snoring is the hoarse or harsh sound that occurs when air flows past relaxed tissues in your throat, causing the tissues to vibrate as you breathe. Nearly everyone snores now and then, but for some people, it can be a chronic problem. Sometimes it may also indicate a serious health condition. In addition, snoring can be a nuisance to your partner.

Lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, avoiding alcohol close to bedtime or sleeping on your side, can help stop snoring.

In addition, medical devices and surgery are available that may reduce disruptive snoring. However, these aren’t suitable or necessary for everyone who snores.

Symptoms

Snoring is often associated with a sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Not all snorers have OSA, but if snoring is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, it may be an indication to see a doctor for further evaluation for OSA:

  • Witnessed breathing pauses during sleep
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Morning headaches
  • Sore throat upon awakening
  • Restless sleep
  • Gasping or choking at night
  • High blood pressure
  • Chest pain at night
  • Your snoring is so loud it’s disrupting your partner’s sleep
  • In children, poor attention span, behavioral issues or poor performance in school

OSA often is characterized by loud snoring followed by periods of silence when breathing stops or nearly stops. Eventually, this reduction or pause in breathing may signal you to wake up, and you may awaken with a loud snort or gasping sound.

You may sleep lightly due to disrupted sleep. This pattern of breathing pauses may be repeated many times during the night.

People with obstructive sleep apnea usually experience periods when breathing slows or stops at least five times during every hour of sleep.

When To See a Doctor

See your doctor if you have any of the above symptoms. These may indicate your snoring is associated with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

If your child snores, ask your pediatrician about it. Children can have OSA, too. Nose and throat problems — such as enlarged tonsils — and obesity often can narrow a child’s airway, which can lead to your child developing OSA.

Causes

Illustration showing how narrowed airway contributes to snoring

Snoring

Snoring can be caused by a number of factors, such as the anatomy of your mouth and sinuses, alcohol consumption, allergies, a cold, and your weight.

When you doze off and progress from a light sleep to a deep sleep, the muscles in the roof of your mouth (soft palate), tongue and throat relax. The tissues in your throat can relax enough that they partially block your airway and vibrate.

The more narrowed your airway, the more forceful the airflow becomes. This increases tissue vibration, which causes your snoring to grow louder.

The following conditions can affect the airway and cause snoring:

  • Your mouth anatomy. Having a low, thick soft palate can narrow your airway. People who are overweight may have extra tissues in the back of their throats that may narrow their airways. Likewise, if the triangular piece of tissue hanging from the soft palate (uvula) is elongated, airflow can be obstructed and vibration increased.
  • Alcohol consumption. Snoring can also be brought on by consuming too much alcohol before bedtime. Alcohol relaxes throat muscles and decreases your natural defenses against airway obstruction.
  • Nasal problems. Chronic nasal congestion or a crooked partition between your nostrils (deviated nasal septum) may contribute to your snoring.
  • Sleep deprivation. Not getting enough sleep can lead to further throat relaxation.
  • Sleep position. Snoring is typically most frequent and loudest when sleeping on the back as gravity’s effect on the throat narrows the airway.

Risk Factors

Risk factors that may contribute to snoring include:

  • Being a man. Men are more likely to snore or have sleep apnea than are women.
  • Being overweight. People who are overweight or obese are more likely to snore or have obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Having a narrow airway. Some people may have a long soft palate, or large tonsils or adenoids, which can narrow the airway and cause snoring.
  • Drinking alcohol. Alcohol relaxes your throat muscles, increasing the risk of snoring.
  • Having nasal problems. If you have a structural defect in your airway, such as a deviated septum, or your nose is chronically congested, your risk of snoring is greater.
  • Having a family history of snoring or obstructive sleep apnea. Heredity is a potential risk factor for OSA.
  • Humans are not built for modern society. Overwhelmed by the physical and psychological pressures of life in the 21st century, people increasingly turn to synthetic chemicals and medications in an attempt to cope with everything that ails them. But in doing so, they often create more problems than they solve, whether they are forced to face the consequences now or later in life.

    We have compiled research on snoring and other issues surrounding breathing during sleep. We encourage you to read these articles to gain an understanding of what it is that we do here and the research we have conducted to produce the products we are offering. In understanding the causes, risks, health issues and the benefits our products offer you can begin to determine suitable courses of action to better your health and, ultimately, your life.

    What causes sleeplessness?

    Because our bodies need to rest, sleep should set in easily, right? Well, there are times when we get more anxious and stressed because falling asleep seems so difficult. And when sleep disorders become chronic, they could pose some serious health risks as well. Read on to know more about the factors that contribute to sleeplessness.

    Stress

    Our bodies deal with stress (physical, mental, or emotional) on a daily basis with work, studies, family responsibilities, and even social engagements. However, when your mind is too preoccupied, it tends to overwork. And when the brain is overworked, it can’t calm down enough for it to get ready to sleep.

    Disruption of Circadian Rhythm

    Just as our watches tell us that there are 24 hours during the day, our bodies know that also. That’s why you can’t be efficiently mobile and awake for days. The circadian rhythm is our internal (body) clock that determines our waking and sleeping periods. However, instances such as jet lag, changes in work schedules, inconsistent sleeping patterns, and even pregnancy could throw off our body’s sleeping period.

    Poor Sleep Hygiene

    Don’t be too careless about the things you do before you go to sleep. If you drink caffeinated beverages at night, there’s a chance that you might not get to sleep on time because your body will need time to flush it out of your system. Eating heavy meals late at night can cause difficulty in sleeping as well because your metabolism is at work.

Complications

Habitual snoring may be more than just a nuisance. Aside from disrupting a bed partner’s sleep, if snoring is associated with OSA, you may be at risk for other complications, including:

  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Frequent frustration or anger
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • A greater risk of high blood pressure, heart conditions and stroke
  • An increased risk of behaviour problems, such as aggression or learning problems, in children with OSA
  • An increased risk of motor vehicle accidents due to lack of sleep
  • Stop Snoring Australia’s anti snore patches may be your solution 
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