What is snoring?
Snoring is noisy breathing during sleep. It can happen when breathing in or breathing out. Forty per cent of all adults snore, but it is most common in men, especially older, middle-aged and overweight men.
What are the causes of snoring?
Snoring occurs when air cannot flow smoothly through upper air passages. It can also occur when there are anatomical structures in the air passages which vibrate whilst breathing. There may be several causes:
- Sleeping position
- Sleeping on your back — this position allows your tongue to fall backward into your throat and partially block your throat, making a smaller passage for air.
- Jaw size
- A small lower jaw or a very long soft palate (the soft part of the back of the roof of the mouth) can contribute to the problem.
- Nasal Obstruction
- Blockage in the nose — this can be caused by colds, sinus infections or following an injury that changed the shape of your nose or nasal passages. Enlarged adenoids (tonsil-like tissue at the back of your nose where the nose joins the upper throat) can also cause snoring by blocking the airway and the tissue vibrating when inhaling and exhaling.
- Body weight
- Weight gain — Fatty deposits can accumulate under the tissue lining the airway causing the air passages to become smaller. A large heavier chest, along with sleeping position can increases pressure on the airways, inhibiting inspiration and expiration, i.e. airflow.
- Certain Medication
- Sleeping pills, antihistamines, and pain medication can cause excessive relaxation and can also contribute to snoring.
- Alcohol consumption
- Consuming alcohol can increasing snoring as the sedation effect of alcohol relaxes the body, including the upper airway, contributing to a narrowing of the upper airway
- Sleep apnoea
- Sleep Apnoea is where there are short spells when breathing stops while sleeping. Apnoea can occur many times during the night. The symptoms include snoring, fatigue, and a tendency to fall asleep during the day ( daytime somnolence) There can also be complications, such as heart rhythm problems, memory problems, interruptions to normal body functions i.e. metabolising sugars to maintain normal blood sugar levels etc. Medical advice should be sought if suspect you may have Sleep Apnoea.
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