Snoring is a condition in which the noise made by breathing is obstructed by the soft tissues forming the back of the throat, resulting in a snorting or gasping sound. Roughly 90 million people in the United States experience snoring. Many partners may struggle with the condition and often alert their partner to fix the problem. However, finding out why they snore is often easier said than done, and in most cases, a third party is required to diagnose various sleep disorders.
The medical term that states snoring as a disorder is obstructive sleep apnea. This sleep disorder can be caused by excessive secretion of airway muscle tissues such as the tongue or soft palate of the throat and can be caused by low blood oxygen levels affecting the brain, causing it to send subconscious signals to breathe faster and more shallowly. The brain perceives these signals as snoring.
This article will discuss some possible causes of snoring and ways to treat it effectively.
Some Common Causes Of Snoring
Obesity is one of the most significant causes of snoring. It hampers the flow of air due to a considerable increase in the size of the neck and throat cavities. In addition to obstructive sleep apnea, obesity also makes you more at risk for developing metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular diseases, high cholesterol levels, and diabetes.
Alcohol is a depressant that will relax muscles throughout your body. While alcohol is not directly responsible for causing snoring, it does allow an individual to get into a deep sleep which often leads to snoring as the body naturally tries to adjust for this change. The effect of alcohol on the upper airway muscles also causes them to relax, resulting in an obstruction that produces a sound similar to snoring when you breathe while relaxed or sleeping deeply.
Medication can worsen snoring because it impacts the muscles that adjust breathing in order to prevent obstruction. Not all medications will make snoring worse, but some medicines such as weight-loss drugs and anti-depressants have been discovered to increase snoring.
Sleep deprivation can cause you to sleep in a weird position, which can result in a blocked airway, often leading to snorting when you try and exhale while sleeping.
The causes of sleep apnea in younger people is likely to be different than the older age group. Aging will cause your soft tissues to gradually lose their elasticity making it more likely for them to obstruct airflow when you sleep. However, not all older adults will snore.
Breathing problems that lead to snoring are often caused by allergies or asthma. The old saying “a slight cold can keep you up at night” can be true most of the time, but not when airway obstruction occurs. If you snore and have an allergic reaction to your environment or substances such as dust or pet dander, you may need medical therapy to treat your breathing problem.
Smoking is yet another major cause of snoring that can impair airflow at night. Heavy smokers are more likely than non-smokers to have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, a lung disease that causes excessive mucus production known as bronchitis, and respiratory infections, including pneumonia. In addition, smoking increases the risk of heart diseases and cardiovascular problems, making it yet another factor contributing to snoring. Smoking also reduces oxygen levels in the blood causing abnormal brain wave patterns putting you at greater risk for developing dementia later in life.
Different anatomic structures of people’s noses and mouths can cause obstruction, thus making them snore like when the mouth is in a position where the air path is shortened than it needs to be. Also, people with a short or recessed chin who have an obstructed airway because of increased tissue from the tongue or throat area, especially in combination with large tongues that can block airflow.
A head injury at any time in your life can cause you to snore later on as the brain tries to cope with this problem in its own way, causing irritation and obstruction, making snoring more likely. A blow on the head may cause you to snore while injured but can also make you prone to snoring at a later date.
Different Types Of Snoring
There are two main types of snoring, obstructive and central. In obstructive sleep apnea, the blockage prevents air from reaching the small airway in the lungs, which disrupts normal breathing patterns during sleep.
Central sleep apnea occurs when no tell-tale signs exist to alert your partner that you are having difficulty controlling your breathing while asleep, meaning it can go undetected for months or even years before it manifests itself as a severe problem.
Your snoring may vary from time to time depending on many factors, including your sleeping position, how much sleep you get, and how stress affects you. However, there are some general types of snoring that people have been classified into based on the sound they produce. Here are some examples below:
Low Tone Snores
This is the most common snoring type with a low soft rumbling sound that can be easily heard by anyone in the room. There really isn’t much of a way to cure this except for surgery, which is not always effective as it can cause more problems than it solves.
Medium Tone Snores
This type of snore is slightly louder than a low tone and has a higher frequency. This is also known as the “Vibrating Snore.” It doesn’t pose much of a problem but can be annoying if you have to sleep in the same room as someone with this kind of snoring.
High Tone Snores
This is the loudest snoring you can get with a rather high-pitch sound. These are especially distracting if you’re trying to sleep in the same room as someone with this type of snoring problem. Most people who experience this type tend to move away from their partner so they can get some peace and quiet for their sleep.
Other Types Of Snoring
Snoring types aren’t just categorized by sound and tone. Here are some more examples:
This type of snore is caused by too much tongue tissue and is often accompanied by a feeling of choking that prevents you from sleeping. This is also known as the “Choking Snore” and can be solved by using a tongue guard at night to keep your mouth shut, so you don’t make that suffocation sound when you sleep.
This is the most unique type of snoring. In this specific case, they are called “Antonia’s” because of a patient who suffered from them and was referred to as “Antonia.” The only way to cure this type of snoring is surgery that cuts the nerve at the back of your throat that causes the sound you hear during sleep. Quite rare, but it is a real problem for some people when it comes to sleeping.
This type of snoring is caused by either a dry throat or a lazy breathing pattern that causes you to swallow air through your nose while you sleep. The best way to cure this is to use a humidifier to keep the air moist in the room you sleep in.
Effective Snoring Treatments
Of course, the goal of treating snoring is not just to cure snoring but rather to eliminate it altogether so you can get a good night’s sleep. Fortunately, there are many treatments that will help to stop snoring. As with anything else, there are non-surgical and surgical solutions to snoring. There are a few different things you can do to try to get rid of your snoring problem naturally, but you’ll have to do these things on your own, while others will require seeking a medical professional. Here they are:
Lifestyle changes are the most effective non-surgical options for treating snoring. The most common lifestyle change is simply not drinking alcohol and sleeping on your back. Alcohol tends to make people more restless during the night then they already are, while sleeping on your back creates a better airway for breathing and prevents snoring.
Using A Mouth Guard
Some people opt for a mouth guard that goes over their teeth. There are several different types of mouth guards, so ask your dentist which one is best for you. There is also an entire industry dedicated to creating different designs of the newest types of mouth guards.
Using A Dental Device
There are a few dental devices available on the market that will help to stop snoring. These devices work by passing the air around the back teeth and tongue, where it creates friction that will ultimately stop snoring in a matter of days.
Taking Special Pills
Some people take special pills each night before they go to sleep, significantly reducing their chance of snoring at night.
Having A Tonsillectomy
This is a common procedure to remove your tonsils if they are swollen or inflamed. It is done under general anesthesia. On average, the surgery usually takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.
Snoring Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the most common snoring questions that people have:
Can I prevent my snoring?
Yes, there are several easy tricks you can do to reduce your risk of snoring. Sleeping on your side is one of the easiest ways to stop snoring, plus it’s easier to breathe from. You should also avoid straining when you suck in air (which includes exercise) and limit your alcohol intake. When you’re trying to treat your snoring problem, make sure you get enough sleep and rest each day, as your rest significantly affects the position of your throat muscles and keeps them loose while sleeping.
Is snoring dangerous?
Snoring can be quite dangerous for your health. For example, if you have a sleep apnea condition and are not getting enough oxygen each night, it can cause serious side effects on your heart and even lead to death if left untreated.
What is nighttime snoring?
Nighttime snoring is exactly what it sounds like; snoring that occurs when you are sleeping at night. This kind of snoring tends to be louder and more common in children and elderly people because their tissues tend to be more relaxed at night.
Do women or men snore more?
Men snore more frequently than women. In fact, snoring is one of the most common sleep disorders for boys and men. More than 85 percent of males snore at some point in their lives.
Do babies or children snore?
Yes, babies do snore. However, it is very rare to see a baby snore as loud and frequently as an adult. Babies also tend to have looser tissue around their nose, which can cause the sound of breathing while sleeping to occur more regularly, louder, and with much higher frequency than adults.
Snoring is caused by many different factors. If you have sleep apnea, you may be at risk for a stroke and other complications if not treated. If you snore loudly while you sleep, see your doctor. In addition to treating your snoring problem, they can help you prevent other serious health issues from occurring.
On the other hand, some people don’t need any treatment at all. They may just need to get more restful sleep on a consistent basis. If you find that you’re snoring loudly and frequently, take the time to examine your lifestyle. Think about any changes you can make, like a new pillow or sheets, sleeping in a different room, or even taking a mid-sleep break during the day. There are many things an individual can do to reduce their risk of snoring.
Always see a doctor if you have any questions about snoring or feel that your snoring is too severe to ignore. Your doctor will be able to give you a full explanation of what’s causing your snoring and, therefore, the best treatment for it. The key to any type of treatment for this condition is early detection, so don’t neglect it!