- Age. As you’re probably aware, when you begin to age your body naturally begins to relax and lose muscle tone, requiring more effort to keep your body defined. These processes also occur in the throat and tongue muscles causing the muscles there to relax and fall back into your airways causing obstructions that lead to snoring.
- Weight. Your weight can play a large role in whether or not you snore. If you are overweight you more than likely have an excess of built-up fatty tissues in your throat as well as poor muscle tone leading to a restriction of your throat muscles, thus causing snoring.
- Alcohol consumption, smoking, and medications. Alcohol, smoking, and some medications can increase muscle relaxation allowing the back of the throat to relax and disrupt airflow. Smoking also inflames the nasal passages and throat muscles with that inflammation resulting in restriction of airflow.
- Nasal and sinus problems. Seasonal allergies and sinus infections can cause swelling of the nasal passages making breathing difficult and snoring more likely. A deviated septum can also result in snoring caused by the irregularity in the sizes of breathing passages.
- Sleep posture. Sleeping on your back increases likelihood of snoring. The tissues at the back of the throat fall back easier causing partial or complete blockage of the airways leading to snoring. If sleeping on your back is causing snoring trial different sleeping positions.
Is snoring detrimental to your health?
Alot of the causes of snoring and their effects are relatively harmless and with a few small changes can be easily remedied, However, snoring can also be an indicator of more serious health issues, which when ignored and untreated can be fatal.
Health Risks of Sleep Apnea:
- Strain on Heart. Obstructive sleep apnea often results in high blood pressure, which can lead to an increase in heart size putting you at a higher risk of heart attacks and strokes.
- Arrhythmias. People with sleep apnea run the risk of a higher chance of having cardiac arrhythmias, most common being atrial fibrilation. These are fluctuations in the hearts natural rhythm causing the heart to beat too fast, too slow, or irregularly. While arrhythmias are not uncommon, when they are combined with sleep apnea they can be cause for serious cardiac concern.
- GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease) is a chronic digestive disease in which stomach acids back up into the esophagus and irritate its lining. Because of the disordered way a snorer or sleep apnea sufferer’s throat closes while air moves in and out of the lungs, it results in changes in pressure making the stomach acids back up into the esophagus during sleep.
- Low oxygen levels in the blood. If you’re not breathing regularly and easily during sleep your body isn’t getting the necessary levels of oxygen in your bloodstream that it needs. It can result in constricted blood vessels in the lungs, which may lead to pulmonary hypertension if left untreated.
- Long interruptions of breathing. One of the most common effects of obstructive sleep apnea is frequent interruptions of breathing. If an interruption in breathing lasts more than 10 seconds and is frequent throughout the night, which can lead to frequent waking from sleep.
- Frequent waking from sleep. If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea and have frequent interruptions in breathing, you may not even realize that you frequently wake from sleep as your body is startled by the lack of oxygen causing you to wake and thus disrupting your sleeping cycles.
- Light sleeping. Many sufferers of untreated obstructive sleep apnea end up sleeping lightly as a way of attempting to try and keep their throat muscles tense enough to maintain airflow.
- Excessive daytime fatigue can affect both those that snorer and those sharing the sleeping space. Prolonged sleep deprivation results in feeling tired and sluggish during the day. This can impact work performance, slow response time and awareness.
- Chronic headaches. Many snorers experience frequent morning headaches, which are caused by alterations of oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the bloodstream.