Snoring is the hoarse sound that occurs when air passes through the tissues in the throat, causing the tissues to vibrate as we breathe. While most people snore at some point in their life or the other, for some people it can be a chronic problem.
There are multiple myths about snoring, such as snoring is equivalent to deep and restful sleep, or that drinking coffee can cause snoring. Contrary to popular belief, coffee doesn’t cause snoring. But it can keep you awake due to the caffeine content, based on the type of coffee you consume.
Top 7 Causes of Snoring
Snoring can be caused by a multitude of reasons which range from eating habits, poor lifestyle management, and disruptive sleep cycles. In some cases, snoring is an indicator of serious health impediments. Most often, certain lifestyle choices and dietary preferences spur the production of excessive mucus which leads to snoring in some people.
Here are the most common reasons that should describe why are you snoring:
- Dairy products such as cheese, milk, and butter, among other dairy items, increase the production of mucus leading to nasal congestion. This forces some people to breathe through their mouth, making snoring a more likely occurrence.
- Eating wheat products during the evening can trigger internal inflammation within the nose tract. This tends to increase mucus production in the nasal passages making snoring a disruptive sleep time habit.
- Consuming too much alcohol right before bedtime is one of the major causes of snoring as it has muscle-relaxing effects that ease the epiglottis in the throat. While one is asleep, the air passage in the esophagus can constrict as the muscles responsible to keep those passages clear become relaxed.
2. Air Conditioning
Sleeping in an air-conditioned room often causes snoring as air conditioners blow dry air from time to time which dries out the membranes in the nose, mouth, and back of the throat. This makes the flesh more prone to vibration. Even worse, the dry air can lead to nasal congestion, eventually giving rise to snoring incidents.
Sleeping in an air-conditioned room all night can also cause nasal and throat irritation to kick in. This, in turn, can lead to breathing through the mouth causing some people to snore.
Air conditioners also blow around a lot of dust which can trigger an allergy and lead to snoring due to inflammation in the nose.
3. Colds and Flus
Colds and cases of flus can cause temporary bouts of snoring or worsen the snoring condition in some people. When one contracts a cold, the nasal tissues swell up which makes the airflow through the nose blocked or restricted.
Such cold-related cases of flu can often lead to chest or nose congestion which ends up preventing one from breathing through the nose. The obstructed airflow is what makes mouth breathing a more likely factor, leading to excessive unhealthy snoring.
Few people snore when they are down with an allergy or when the sinus infection triggers or affects them. Sinus often leads to swelling in the nose which can force one to breathe through the mouth, that too with obstructed breathing patterns.
A lot of times extra body fat build-up in certain areas of our bodies can cause snoring instances to rise. Fatty tissues and poor muscle tone can contribute to snoring and therefore, people with excess weight around their neck or throat experience snoring.
Neck fat compresses our upper airway while lying down, making snoring much more likely. Also, fat accumulation around the midriff and chest can also cause snoring as belly fat pushes the diaphragm up, and fat on the vest compresses the ribcage.
Reduction in lung capacity due to the accumulation of fat in the throat or chest area restricts airflow. This makes it harder for the throat to maintain its shape and the resulting change in shape or collapse in throat tissues causes snoring.
A lot of people tend to experience mediocre to excessive snoring as they age. With age, the tongue and throat muscles tend to relax even more during sleep, causing vibrations during inhalation which leads to snoring.
As we get older, we also tend to lose our muscle tone. The soft palate of the upper airway at the back of the mouth becomes more and more susceptible to vibration.
Moreover, as people age, their sleeping habits tend to change which often leads to incessant snoring.
6. Sleeping Style
As is widely accepted, sleeping style is often the most significant determinant of snoring.
Often, one experiences bouts of excessive snoring while sleeping on their back. This is because gravitation pulls at their throat making the airway narrower. Since the tissues of the pharynx are comparatively soft and flaccid, gravity induces a pull on the palate, tonsils, and tongue in a backward direction while lying on our back. This leads to the narrowing of the airway, which is enough to cause tissue vibration, and thus snoring.
Sleeping on the back can lead to complete airway collapse, called Sleep Apnea. Snoring is the most common symptom of sleep apnea. Although it may seem daunting at first, changing your sleeping position can give immediate relief if you are suffering from chronic snoring.
7. Structural of the mouth
Snoring can be caused by the anatomy of the mouth. For example, narrowed airway passages lead to airflow obstructions, resulting in inevitable snoring. Large tongues and tonsils can also cause airway obstructions that can lead to snoring.
Structural abnormalities like a deviated septum, i.e. a condition where the separating wall between two nostrils is off-center, or nasal polyps, can also block one’s airways causing snoring. In certain unique situations, dental problems can also cause snoring.
Snoring may be an embarrassing condition but is definitely not an untreatable one. Minor changes in sleeping styles, like lying on the side or stomach while sleeping, and elevating the head of the bed can give immediate relief from snoring. There are multiple nasal strips available in the market that are flexible, spring-like bands, that lift the sides of the nose and open nasal passages.