Snoring is a common complaint in the bedroom and is the third most common reason for divorce. During sleep, the soft palate relaxes and partially blocks the airway. In some instances, the tongue also drops back and can also add to the narrowing of the airway.
The sound may be soft, but in other cases, it can be loud and disturbing for partners who are trying to get a good night’s sleep. Sleep deprivation for both the snorer and their partner can be the cause of long-term health problems.
The irregular airflow is caused by a passageway blockage and is usually due to one of the following:
Throat weakness, causing the throat to close during sleep
The soft tissue at the back of the throat collapses. This can be caused by age, menopause, or being overweight.
Mispositioned jaw, often caused by tension in the muscles
This can also be genetic, where the bottom jaw is aligned slightly to the back.
Fat gathering in and around the throat
Men with neck sizes larger than 17 inches tend to snore. This is not just for people who are overweight as top sportsmen have a tendency to snore.
Obstruction in the nasal passageway
People who suffer from deviated septums and blocked sinuses tend to snore.
The tissues at the top of airways touching each other causing vibrations
Sinus problems are a common cause of snoring. Soft tissue becomes inflamed and swells preventing a free flow of air.
Relaxants such as alcohol or drugs relaxing throat muscles
Like everything else after a drink, throat muscles relax and partially block the airway which causes the snoring noise.
Sleeping on one’s back, which may result in the tongue dropping to the back of the mouth.
The jaw tends to drop down if you are sleeping on your back. The tongue drops and partially blocks the airway.
Usually, snoring is recognized by a friend or partner who observes the sleeping pattern. Besides the “noise” of snoring, more complex conditions such as sleep apnea can be consistent with the symptom of snoring.
A sleep study can identify such issues. Patients can also assess their own condition to determine the likelihood of such problems based on the severity of their sleeping difficulties.
Statistics on snoring are often contradictory, but at least 30% of adults and perhaps as many as 50% of people in some demographics snore. One survey of 5,713 Italian residents identified habitual snoring in 24% of men and 13.8% of women, rising to 60% of men and 40% of women aged 60 to 65 years; this suggests an increased susceptibility to snoring as age increases.
Snoring is known to cause sleep deprivation to snorers and those around them, as well as
Sleep deprivation is a common cause of accidents in the work place and on the road.
Lack of sleep causes mood swings, lack of concentration and irritability.
It has also been suggested that it can cause significant psychological and social damage to sufferers. Multiple studies reveal a positive correlation between loud snoring and risk of heart attack (about +34% chance) and stroke (about +67% chance).
Though snoring is often considered a minor affliction, snorers can sometimes suffer severe impairment in lifestyle. There have been several studies where marital problems have been solved by addressing nighttime snoring.
New studies associate loud “snoring” with the development of carotid artery atherosclerosis and the risk of stroke. Researchers hypothesize that loud snoring creates turbulence in the carotid artery blood flow closest to the airway. Generally speaking, increased turbulence irritates blood cells and has previously been implicated as a cause of atherosclerosis.
Effects of Sleep Deprivation
– Work Performance
– Physical Performance
– Accidents in the workplace
– Sex Drive
– Heart Disease
– Heart Attack
– High Blood Pressure
Almost all treatments for snoring revolve around clearing the blockage in the breathing passage.
This is the reason snorers are advised to lose weight (to stop fat from pressing on the throat), stop smoking (smoking weakens and clogs the throat), and sleep on their side (to prevent the tongue from blocking the throat).
Many other treatment options are available, ranging from over-the-counter aids such as nasal strips or nose clips, lubricating sprays, and “anti-snore” clothing and pillows, to such unusual activities as playing the didgeridoo.
However, snoring is a recognized medical problem and people who snore should always seek professional medical advice before relying on techniques that may mask symptoms (i.e. snoring) but not treat the underlying condition.