Snoring means to breathe noisily during one’s sleep. This is a condition mostly associated with overweight and obese people, and more common among men than women. Although the chances of snoring increases with age, almost anyone can snore occasionally but some people are habital and chronic snorers.
Snoring is both bad for the snorer and their spouses and others sleeping in the same room with them. This is because a snorer makes it practically impossible for their bedmate or others in the room to sleep soundly. They make their room partners to suffer from sleep deprivation and its attendant risks, while they themselves are also subject to health risks that may become medical in nature.
Why do people snore?
Several factors cause snoring, and some of these appear similar or almost related in nature. The bottom line is that snoring occurs when the air passing between the mouth and the nose become obstructed during sleep. Airflow can be obstructed by one or more of the following factors –
Blocked airways in the nose: If the airway connecting the nose to the mouth is blocked in some way, it could result in snoring. An obstructed nasal airway can also be possible as a result of deformity in the wall separating one nostril from the other, or when there is a sinus infection in the nasal cavity. Another cause of blocked nasal airways is nasal polyps.
Weak tongue and throat muscle: When the muscles of the tongue and the throat is weak and relaxed, it makes the tongue to shift back into the throat during sleep – blocking the passage of air between the two tissues. Sometimes ageing, drug pills, alcohol, and deep sleep could make the tongue to relax and shift back to obstruct the nostril. Sleeping on your back makes this more possible, so it is best to sleep on your stomach if you snore badly.
Large tonsils: When people suddenly develop large tonsils or larger adenoids, they tend to snore. This phenomenon may be common in children than in adults. Being overweight and obese may also make some people to develop a bulky throat tissue which makes them to snore during sleep. In a related manner, having a long uvula or longer palate can reduce the airway between the nose and the throat, making people snore as the structures hit and vibrate against each other during sleep.
Health implications of snoring during sleep
Sleep apnea: Apnea is the brief stoppage of breathing experienced during deep sleep. This interruption of breathing could last as much as 10 seconds as a result of partial or total obstruction of nasal airways during sleep. In extreme cases, it could result in death during sleep.
Impaired sleep cycle: People who snore heavily often wake from sleep briefly to change positions without really realizing it, disrupting their sleep cycle. People who snore also sleep lightly and nearly suffer from impaired sleep because of the constant obstruction of airflow within their nasal and throat cavities.
Poor sleep quality: This derives from the above.
High blood pressure: When an individual suffers insomnia or sleeps poorly as a result of frequent waking by snoring, such person may experience high blood pressure that may result in heart enlargement and the resultant risks of stroke and cardiovascular damage. Also, the oxygen level in the blood drops as a result of poor night sleep.
Daytime fatigue: Snoring affects your quality of night sleep, leading to daytime drowsiness and fatigue at work. This could lead to serious headaches, dizziness, obesity, and hypertension among other health risks associated with poor and impaired sleep.
Solutions for snoring?
See a qualified doctor and a sleep therapist.