Snoring occurs when airflow through the nose or mouth gets restricted. Due to the restriction, the air is forced to pass through the soft tissues in your throat, mouth, and nose, bumping into each other, resulting in loud vibrations. These vibrations often produce a snorting, grumbling, and rattling sound, which is what you know as snoring.
Apart from interrupting your sleep, snoring can also increase the risk of stroke and heart attack if it occurs over a long period. Although this condition can affect anyone, it occurs more often in overweight individuals and men.
So, what causes snoring? Below are common causes of this condition that you must know:
1. Excess Weight
Gaining excess weight not only affects your joints and heart, but it can also affect your sleep. Often, body fat doesn’t accumulate in a single part of your body; it spreads in all parts of your body, including inside your neck.
Consequently, as your neck expands in girth, the additional fat accumulating in your neck will start to exert pressure on your throat, obstructing your airways. Ultimately, the obstruction of the airways is what causes snoring. If you’re keen on learning how to stop snoring, start by losing excess weight.
2. Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol consumption can impact your sleep and cause snoring. This is often the case since alcohol is a relaxant that relaxes the muscles in your throat. Once relaxed, these muscles obstruct the flow of air, which in turn causes snoring. Besides, alcohol also interferes with your sleep pattern.
Often sleeping habits tend to evolve as you age, and you can easily find yourself having difficulties falling asleep. Moreover, aging can lead to snoring when you’re asleep because your tongue and throat muscles are starting to relax more as you age. As your muscles start to relax, they lead to mild blockage of your airways, which eventually causes you to snore while asleep.
4. Nasal Problems
Flu, allergies, a diverged septum, and colds are a few nasal problems that can cause snoring while you’re asleep. Therefore, solving the main cause of your nasal issues can help you stop snoring while asleep. For example, ingesting medications for the flu, allergies, and colds can aid breathing at night, allowing you to sleep without snoring. However, if your nasal problem is a diverged septum, you’ll require a surgical procedure to fix it.
Any form of smoking, be it pipe tobacco, cigarettes, or cigars, leads to inflammation of the tissues lining your airways. Consequently, it may cause narrowing, swelling, and postnasal drip. The interference with your tissues then leads to snoring when you’re asleep. Therefore, to know if your snoring condition results from smoking, you must quit the smoking habit.
If you’re a pregnant woman wondering why you’ve started snoring, it may be because of your pregnancy. Studies indicated that nearly 30% of pregnant women often start experiencing snoring during the last trimester of their pregnancy. During this trimester, the uterus starts pushing into the diaphragm, obstructing your airways and thus causing snoring. Under normal circumstances, snoring that starts this way should stop once you’ve given birth.
7. Sleep Position
How you position yourself when sleeping can play a significant role in the quality of sleep you get and determine if you’ll snore or not. For example, if you sleep looking up to the ceiling, gravity can push back the soft tissues in your throat, obstructing your airway
In such a case, adjusting your sleeping position from your back to sideways can help stop snoring. Therefore, training yourself to adopt healthy sleeping positions can significantly enhance your sleep quality while alleviating snoring.
8. Sleep Apnea
Sleep apnea is perhaps the most common cause of snoring. It’s a severe condition that makes you temporarily stop breathing while asleep, and it’s caused by severe obstruction of your airway.
Morning headaches, regular urination at night, and weight gain, among others, are some of the symptoms of sleep apnea to look out for. If you’re exhibiting these symptoms, ensure you seek medical attention to minimize the risk of other health problems.
Because snoring can lead to serious health conditions, including heart attack and stroke, ensure you seek medical attention if it’s chronic.