Why I snore and how can I stop
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 nights sleep. Sleep deprivation for both the snorer and their partner can be the cause for long term health problems.
No Snoring – This is how an average airway should look.
Snoring – Note how the soft palate and tongue have dropped back restricting the airway.
Snoring results from a partially blocked airway
The irregular airflow is caused by a passageway blockage and usually due to one of the following:
- Throat weakness, causing the throat to close during sleep
- Mispositioned jaw, often caused by tension in the muscles
- Fat gathering in and around the throat
- Obstruction in the nasal passageway
- The tissues at the top of airways touching each other causing vibrations
- Relaxants such as alcohol or drugs relaxing throat muscles
- Sleeping on one’s back, which may result in the tongue dropping to the back of the mouth.
Glad my wife made me try it
I slept all night through. My wife is happy and so am I. No more rib poking at night.
Usually, snoring is recognized by a friend or partner who observes the patient sleeping. 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.
Impact of Snoring
Snoring is known to cause sleep deprivation to snorers and those around them, as well as
- daytime drowsiness,
- lack of focus
- and decreased libido.
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 of lifestyle. There have been several studies where marital problems have been solved by addressing night time 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 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.
Affects of Sleep Deprivation
- Work Performance
- Physical Performance
- Accidents in the work place
- 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).
A number of other treatment options are also 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.