Snoring is very common among people of all ages, and is one of the main reasons why people get poor sleep.
In Australia, the estimation is that 1 in 5 people snore occasionally (which makes up 20% of the overall population), and another 7% are deemed "habitual snorers". Although snoring can affect everybody, it is most present in men and people who are overweight. Also, snoring can become worse with age and cause sleep disturbances in both the sleeper and the co-sleeper.
Let's go into more detail about the causes of snoring, and how you can stop snoring or at least mitigate it for better sleep.
What are the Causes Behind Snoring?
Snoring's main cause is loose tissue in the throat muscles or a blocked airway, which makes breathing harder and makes that characteristic hoarse sound.
Your throat tissue may have always been that way because of genetics (large tonsils, naturally narrow airway), or it may have become so because of gaining weight and aging. Also, mouth anatomy plays a large part in whether you snore (a lot) or not. The position of the jaw and tongue, as well as the position of your neck
A partially blocked airway can happen due to:
Your relaxed tissues block the airway;
Injuries or abnormal growths in the upper airway.
Other Reasons Why Snoring Occurs
Snoring can happen due to a variety of factors. The most common ones are listed here.
Excessive Alcohol Consumption
Alcohol can cause snoring but it can also make it louder. Alcohol relaxes the muscles in the body, and this also includes the throat muscles, which results in blocked airways, and hence snoring.
Your sleep position can also determine your sleep quality and certain positions make it more likely to snore. Usually, back sleepers have more problems with snoring and sleep apnea because the throat tissue descends due to gravity.
Weight gain and obesity can also be the culprit if you've suddenly started snoring . The throat tissue becomes bulkier, your overall body fat increases and all of this contributes to breathing disruptions.
Pregnancy changes the body in all kinds of ways. Weight gain, hormone imbalances, water retention, and sleep apnea, are some of these changes that can also be contributing causes of snoring.
Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder that affects breathing. Snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnea, although not all snorers suffer from sleep apnea.
Is Snoring Dangerous?
Snoring is not dangerous in and of itself, although it may cause sleep disturbances in your partner's sleep.
However, snoring can also be a symptom of an underlying more serious condition, like sleep apnea. In that case, you should ask your doctor for treatment options, because sleep apnea can raise the risk for hypertension, diabetes, heart failure and stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases.
How to Stop Snoring: Snoring Treatments
There are numerous ways to treat snoring on your own, but before you do so, it's best to consult with a doctor. That way you can rule out undiagnosed sleep disorders like sleep apnea.
Change Your Sleeping Position
If you're a frequent back sleeper, try something else, like sleeping on your side for some time. You can also try stomach sleeping, but I wouldn't recommend it if you have neck issues.
Manage Your Weight
Weight management and losing weight can curb your snoring and improve your sleep quality. Watch your diet, don't overeat, exercise 3-4 times a week, and come up with a better plan for stress management. Overall, just take better care of your body and it will follow through.
Revisit Your Smoking Habits and Alcohol Consumption
Quitting smoking and reducing (or totally giving up) alcohol can significantly improve your health in various ways, including snoring and sleep.
Alcohol can also meddle with your sleep cycle, so if you're consuming alcohol in the evening don't do it too close to bedtime.
Snoring is an annoying, but treatable occurrence. When you prioritize sleep and your health, y you're also less likely to snore.
However, don't hesitate to talk to your doctor if you suspect an underlying issue may be behind it or if it seriously disrupts your sleep. As with everything in life, the earlier you treat it, the better.