Did you know that nearly 90 million Americans snore in their sleep? That’s a lot of snorers! We can’t forget the correlating number of sleepless partners too!
More than likely, you are well acquainted with the sound of snoring, but have you thought about why it happens? You’re not the only one. Snoring occurs when there are vibrations within narrowed airways of the throat and nose. These vibrations are what causes the sound of snoring. These obnoxious sleep sounds are also caused by the relaxation of the muscles in your throat and neck. This decreases the amount of space in your airway, also causing those vibration sounds of snoring.
Now that you know the biological reasons for snoring, there are multiple factors that cause snoring; some we can control and others we can’t! For example, did you know that snoring can be hereditary? Now you’re probably thinking, “Oh great, thanks grandpa John!” As much as snoring can be hereditary though, it can also be your genetics. Studies have shown that men are more likely to snore than women. Here are some of the reasons why:
Men have more narrow air passages than woman. The smaller the airway, the harder it is for air to flow while you breathe. As your body forces air through those tight airways, more vibrations occur and the louder the sound! This also explains why men are louder snorers than woman.
Something that you can control to help you stop snoring is your daily habits! There are many great daily habits you can implement into your lifestyle, but some can be done away with. Smoking and the use of alcohol are common contributers to snoring. Smoking triggers inflammation and swelling in the body’s airways, making it harder to breathe. If you smoke, you may recognize this as you go up a flight of stairs. It's hard to catch your breath right? Smoking likewise causes exhausting breathing patterns while you sleep.
Alcohol has also shown correlation with snoring. The consumption of alcohol relaxes the muscles around the throat. Your jaw and throat become so relaxed that it can create a barricade for your airways. Your body needs oxygen so it forces air to squeeze through even the most narrow of air passages. Your body does this through those vibration sounds of snoring. Statistically speaking, men tend to drink more alcohol and smoke more than women. This also alludes to why men snore more than women.
Carrying around too many pounds can also lead to snoring. Many people who have never snored in their life will begin to do so when they put on a few extra pounds. Being overweight generally contributes to less muscle tone which leads to excess tissue in the throat and neck. Too much tissue will resctrict those narrow airways even more.
Although it’s true that men and women are almost equally overweight in America, men are still in the lead with 74% that are considered overweight or obese, compared to the 67% of women. Try adding some exercise into your day that is suitable for your body and eat a balanced diet. You may be surprised of how well this can help your snoring!
Having poor body alignment when you’re sleeping can also narrow your airways. This is a simple adjustment and can save your sleeping partner’s life! For instance, the most common sleep position that causes snoring is laying on your back. If you are a part of the small percentage of the population (10%) that sleeps on their back, you may be setting yourself up to become a snorer. While sleeping on your back, the base of your tongue will collapse into the back of your throat, obstructing breathing and causing those sound vibrations to occur.
If you or a loved one suffers from snoring, do not fear! There are many things you can do to combat snoring. Scheduling a time to meet with a sleep specialist is also a great idea. It will not only be a blessing to you, but your sleeping partner as well! If all else fails, suprise your sleeping partner with a classy pair of ear plugs.
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