Almost half of world’s adult population snore, some on a regular basis and others more temporary. Snoring may cause irritation and frustration, in some instances ones partner may choose to sleep in an adjacent room in order to get a good night’s sleep while in other instances the snoring is more manageable. But what exactly is snoring and when should you seek professional help?
While sleeping the muscles in your upper airways relax. Snoring is the sound you make when these muscles relax too much, causing the air to be restricted either through your nose or throat. As you inhale and exhale during the night, the surrounding tissue vibrates, causing you to snore. If these muscles relax even further, they may cause a complete blockage of the airway which may stop breathing altogether, triggering you to choke and/or cough to clear it.
Unfortunately, these subconscious responses may lead to disruptions in your sleep patterns and overall sleep quality. If you repeatable snore night after night, you may experience irritability, daytime fatigue, headaches and other health problems. Additionally, the loud and repetitive sound may have a negative impact on partners, housemates and others around you as they try to sleep.
Different underlying causes
Those who snore on a regular basis can usually track their snoring to a specific, often physical cause, such as a narrow pharynx, enlarged tonsils or obesity. While individuals snoring on a more irregular base, may see temporary underlying causes such as stress, alcohol intake, colds or relaxing medication. Smokers are more inclined to snore than non-smokers, and while men more often snore than women, one can see an increase among women after menopause.
May cause inconvenience
Snoring derives from being harder to breathe, which in turn makes sleeping more superficial.
While snoring on its own is harmless, the problem is the following drowsiness. Also, prolonged sleep deprivation may lead to concentration problems and illness. In addition, a vicious circle is created, as the lack of sleep often leads to a more intense snoring sensation, even when taking sleeping medication. Another problem is that a certain type of snoring can lead to sleep apnea – Sleep apnea is a potentially serious sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts, over time it may increase the risk of both high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
Addressing the problem
Do you have a problem snoring on a regular basis, or a partner that snores, and does it affect either of you during daytime?
There are several options that you can try on your own, such as losing weight, change sleeping position and/or quit smoking.
You may also turn to your local health center and schedule a sleep study (Left untreated, sleep apnea can cause a number of medical problems and can put you at an increased risk for many health issues including: heart failure, arrhythmias, gastroesophageal reflux disease, diabetes, stroke, and heart attacks).