Top 8 Causes Of Snoring Plus 6 Ways To Reduce Or Prevent It

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Top 8 Causes Of Snoring Plus 6 Ways To Reduce Or Prevent It
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According to the National Sleep Foundation, approximately 90 million adults in the USA alone are snorers. But did you know what exactly causes snoring? And that snoring is a legitimate medical concern? Snoring is a rattling sound that happens when airflow is obstructed in the body’s respiratory passages, causing tissues in the mouth, nose, or throat to vibrate. The obstruction of airflow is what you need to be concerned about, since it may lead to obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. [1][2]

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

The Mayo Clinic describes obstructive sleep apnea as a serious sleep disorder wherein a person stops and starts breathing repeatedly during sleep. It is characterized by very loud snoring, followed by periods of silence (when you stop breathing).To get into the physiological explanation of things, in OSA, your throat muscles repeatedly relax during sleep, which narrows or blocks your airways and causes the sudden and repeated halt in breathing. [3]

Make sure to watch out for these signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea:

• Excessive sleepiness during the day
• Loud snoring during sleep
• Reported apneic episodes (breathing cessation) during sleep
• Sudden wakefulness followed by gasping or choking
• Waking with a dry or a sore throat
• Problems with concentration
• Mood changes

What Causes Snoring And OSA?

• The anatomy of your mouth: low, thick soft palate causes narrowing of your airway; overweight people can have extra tissue at the back of their throats; an elongated uvula can also obstruct your throat

• Drinking alcohol: alcohol is a muscle relaxant, which can cause your throat muscles to relax and cause snoring and sleep apnea


• A deviated nasal septum (the partition in between your nostrils) can also contribute to snoring

• Lack of sleep, specifically sleep deprivation, can cause throat relaxation and snoring

• Sleep position: sleeping on your back can cause your throat muscles and tissues to sag, blocking your airway

How Do You Prevent Snoring?

• Sleep on your side. If your snoring is caused by sleeping on your back, try to adjust your sleeping position by sleeping on your side. You can also use a pillow that tilts your head at an angle that prevents your throat muscles and uvula from blocking your airway.

• Maintaining a healthy weight. Excess fat can cause flabbiness in your throat muscles, which can contribute to snoring. Try to exercise at least three times a week for thirty minutes each session.

• Avoid alcohol. It was previously mentioned that alcohol causes your throat muscles to relax, so avoiding drinking alcohol can help prevent snoring.

Avoid smoking. In a study conducted by Trenchea, et. al. in 2013, the researches cited smoking as a risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea, aside from increasing your risk for heart and lung disease. [4]

• Get enough sleep. Make sure to get enough sleep during the night, around eight hours a night to prevent sleep deprivation and tiredness during the day.

References:

[1] National Health Services. Snoring. http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Snoring/Pages/Introduction.aspx

[2] National Sleep Foundation. Snoring and sleep. https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/other-sleep-disorders/snoring

[3] The Mayo Clinic. Obstructive sleep apnea. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/obstructive-sleep-apnea/symptoms-causes/dxc-20205871

[4] Trenchea, M., et. al. (2013). Smoking, snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23781575

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