Think you don’t snore? You’d probably be wrong. Most of us snore now and then. Studies suggest that nearly half of the population snores on occasion. However, most people aren’t bothered by their slight noise. It’s only about 25% of people who snore regularly and, shall we say, intensely. Loud snoring on a nightly basis can be disruptive; if not to the person snoring, then at least to the person who shares their bed. Not only can chronic snoring be an embarrassing problem, but it can also be a potentially serious one.
Why We Snore
Snoring is something that can happen for several different reasons. Physically, what happens to cause snoring is that the tissues in the back of the nose and throat get so close that they vibrate against each other. Occasional snoring may result from a minor cold or allergies. Chronic snoring, on the other hand, has several influencing factors:
- We hesitate to even state weight as a factor because many people feel that they are constantly hearing that they need to lose weight for this reason or that. When it comes to health, though, weight does have a significant impact. In the instance of snoring, it is the presence of fatty tissue in the neck that increases chronic snoring.
- Studies show that more men than women snore regularly.
- Nasal problems such as chronic congestion (sinusitis) or a deviated septum.
- Alcohol use. That nightcap can increase relaxation to a point where the throat muscles collapse into the airway.
- Sleeping position and sleep deprivation can lead to muscle collapse that obstructs the airway.
- Enlarged tonsils and adenoids. These structures located at the back of the throat can narrow the airway. This is often the case in children who snore.
- Sleep apnea. This is a sleep disorder that goes beyond chronic snoring and involves a complete closure of the airway for brief periods during sleep.
Snoring doesn’t just disrupt sleep; it can lead to daytime symptoms as well. Depending on the severity of snoring, a person may have a higher risk for accidents, poor memory, low productivity, even anxiety and depression.