There are many factors that can cause you to snore such as the anatomy of your mouth and sinuses, alcohol consumption, allergies, a cold, and your weight. But before we discuss these common causes of snoring we should review what snoring is.
What is Snoring?
This is a common condition that can affect nearly anyone even though it occurs mostly in men and people who are overweight. Snoring can and often does worsen with age. Occasional snoring tends to not pose a serious issue and is more of a nuisance than anything else. If you are a habitual snorer, however, you may not only be disrupting the sleep of your bed partner, but yourself as well. If your snoring is bad enough, you may require medical treatment in order to get a good night’s sleep.
What Causes Your Snoring?
Snoring happens when the flow of air through your mouth and nose is physically obstructed. This obstruction can be a result of a combination of factors including the following:
- Obstructed nasal airways
Some people may only snore during allergy season when their noses are creating more mucus than usual or they are suffering from a sinus infection. Nose deformities such as a deviated septum (a medical condition where the wall that separates one nostril from the other is deformed) or nasal polyps can also be the cause of an obstruction.
- Poor muscle tone in the throat and tongue
Sometimes your throat and tongue muscles can be too relaxed which can cause collapse and then obstruction of your airway. This can be caused by deep sleep, alcohol consumption, or the use of sleeping pills. The natural aging process can also cause the further relaxation of these muscles.
- Bulky throat issue
Being overweight can also cause snoring because it can result in a bulky throat issue. Children with large tonsils and adenoids can often snore.
- Long soft palate and/ or uvula
If you have a long soft palate or long uvula (dangling tissue at the back of the mouth) this can cause you to snore because it narrows the opening from the nose to the throat. Then when the long soft palate or uvula vibrates and bumps against one another the airway can become obstructed.
- Sleep apnea
Snoring is sometimes associated with obstructed sleep apnea. In this medical condition, your throat tissues partially or completely block your airway, thus preventing you from breathing normally.
Health Risks Associated With Snoring
While snoring is usually seen as a nuisance, habitual snorers can be at risk for serious health problems such as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can be the cause of several major problems such as:
- Long interruptions of breathing (10-20 seconds) in sleep, which is caused by partial or total obstruction of the airway.
- Frequent waking from sleep and you may not even realize it.
- People who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea may also sleep lightly.
- Those that suffer from prolonged sleep apnea often have higher blood pressure, which can strain the heart. In fact, it can result in an enlarged heart, a higher risk of heart attack, and stroke.
- People who suffer from sleep apnea tend to get a poor night’s sleep.
- Low oxygen levels in the blood.
- Chronic headaches.
- Daytime sleepiness and fatigue.
Sleep apnea is a serious condition can cause long term health issues. Unfortunately you will likely be unaware of the symptoms as it occurs while you are asleep. Often a family member or bed partner will know before you do.