Snoring happens to many people, but few of us understand why. What causes snoring, and why does it happen to some people rather than others?
If you snore, or live with someone who does, you might also find yourself asking: How can I make it stop?
Snoring doesn’t happen on its own, although it may seem to come out of nowhere. It actually can tell you a lot of meaningful things about your health, if you know what to look for. And once you understand the cause of your snoring, you have a better chance of fixing it.
In this guide, we’ll show you everything you need to understand why snoring happens and what it means. Keep reading to learn the story behind snoring.
Snoring: The Basics
Snoring happens to many people in the world. Men and people who are overweight are more prone to snoring than others. However, snoring changes over time, and about half of everyone will likely snore at some point in their lives. As you get older, snoring tends to get worse.
When snoring only happens occasionally, it’s not usually a sign of something serious. However, regular snoring can be a sign of many health issues. It also disrupts sleep quality, not just for the people around you, but also for you.
It’s a good idea to get medical assistance if your snoring becomes disruptive. It’s also important to rule out any medical factors – there are a number of medical reasons why snoring happens. Now, let’s take a closer look at the causes of snoring.
Why Snoring Happens
The sound associated with snoring happens because the airflow through the mouth and nose gets obstructed or partially blocked. A number of factors can cause this restricted airflow:
- Nasal blockages: Allergy season, sinus infections, and colds can be major triggers for snoring. Certain nasal deformities, like a deviated septum (which affects the wall between the nostrils) and nasal polyps, can also cause nasal blockages.
- Lack of muscle tone: if your throat and tongue don’t have enough muscle tone, the relaxed muscles can actually fall back and partially block the airway. Many different things can cause this, including a really deep sleep, drinking alcohol before bed, and certain sleeping pills. Aging makes those muscles relax even more.
- Excess throat tissue: when people are overweight, they often have extra throat tissue. Other kinds of tissue that cause snoring include enlarged tonsils and adenoids.
- Long uvula or soft palate: The uvula, or dangling piece of tissue in the back of our throats, can block part of the opening between the nose and the throat. This is made worse if the soft palate is also long.
Snoring and Your Health
It’s not enough to just understand why snoring happens. There are also many health risks associated with snoring. The more you learn about them, the more likely you’ll take action when you need to get medical help for your snoring.
Let’s take a look at what snoring can mean for your health.
Snoring has been linked to risk of stroke. Intense snoring sometimes is accompanied by plaque deposits in the neck arteries. This link means the more you snore, the more likely it is that you’re at risk for a stroke.
You’ll want to seek medical treatment for intense snoring, especially if it comes with other health issues like high blood pressure. If your breathing occasionally stops while you sleep, you might have sleep apnea, which can also increase your risk of stroke. Finding a portable CPAP for sale can help.
2. Heart Disease
Sleep apnea and snoring are linked to heart disease as well as stroke. Snoring can be a sign of problems like coronary artery disease, which can cause a heart attack. However, CPAP machines can help prevent these problems, too.
Snoring over a long period of time can cause you to develop arrhythmia. This means the rhythm of your heart becomes irregular.
Gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD) is another problem that can often be traced back to snoring or sleep apnea. GERD may occur in people who snore because the closing of the throat can lead to pressure changes, causing reflux into the esophagus.
This problem is common especially in overweight individuals. After significant weight loss, though, it often resolves itself.
Snoring can’t just lead to diseases – it can also lead to injury while you’re up and out of bed.
Because snoring disrupts your sleep, you’ll often find yourself extra tired during the daytime. Eventually, this sleep deprivation can cause you to make a mistake and injure yourself.
Not just you, but others around you are also at risk when you go through life without getting enough sleep. For example, you might fall asleep at the wheel or while operating machinery.
6. Mental Health Problems
This loss of sleep can also negatively affect your mental health. In mild forms, you might just find yourself more irritable or argumentative. However, sleep deprivation over time can lead to more serious issues, like depression and anxiety.
Headaches may seem mild, but they can become very debilitating if they happen on a regular basis.
When you don’t sleep well, you’ll often wake up with a headache, or develop one during the day.
When you use the bathroom twice or more each night, it’s called nocturia. Research has linked snoring to this problem, although it’s not quite clear why the link exists.
9. Sexual Issues
Snoring can even affect the quality of your sex life. Whether it’s because you’re tired or because your partner is, the sleep disruption associated with snoring leads to a lower-quality sex life.
Do You Need Treatment for Snoring?
If you snore at night, you should get treatment to protect your health and your quality of life. Now that you know why snoring happens, you know what to do.
Even if snoring doesn’t lead to serious health issues for you, it never hurts to seek preventative care. You’ll also get better sleep and keep your partner or housemates happier when you get treatment for snoring.
Losing weight is one of the best ways to fight snoring – check out our tips for losing excess weight.