Why Do People Snore? The Top 6 Causes and Remedies
Whether we like to admit it or not, we’ve probably all been guilty of snoring at some point. It may be nothing more than a 'gentle purr', or the sort of titanic thundering that makes the very walls shake and keeps anyone within the same post code awake. But why do people snore and what can you do to stop snoring?
Why Do We Snore?
Snoring occurs when the soft tissues of our mouth and airways vibrate as we inhale or exhale. These might include our tongue, soft palate, uvula, or other areas. When we’re awake we tend to use the muscles in our mouth and throat to keep our airways open, allowing air to pass freely. However, when we fall asleep these muscles can become very relaxed, reducing the space in your airways which can cause the surrounding soft tissues to vibrate as air passes through a narrower passageway.
Snoring is more than an annoyance. It can create all sorts of issues from feeling tired and foggy during the day, to causing tension between partners, or be a sign of something more sinister such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) where breathing may repeatedly stop altogether throughout the night.
The 6 Main Reasons People Snore
1. Sleeping Position
People who sleep on their backs may find they snore more than those who sleep on their sides. This is because their tongue and other soft tissues are more prone to falling back and obstructing their airway. Snoring can also be exacerbated due to the wrong support from your bed or pillow, which may allow your head and body to tilt into positions that constrict the airways.
2. Weight Gain
The more weight a person carries, the more tissue they have around their face and throat, resulting in narrower airways and potentially heavier breathing in general.
3. Consumption of Alcohol or Medication
It’s no surprise that alcohol relaxes us, but it’s also why airways tend to relax more than normal when you’re asleep making your more likely to snore. Certain medications such as sedatives, antihistamines or cold and flu tablet can also have the same effect by inducing a more relaxed state.
Unfortunately, as we age everything seems to go south. Our overall muscle tone diminishes, including the muscles in our mouth and throat that keep our airways open while we sleep.
5. Nasal Congestion
Colds, hay fever, sinusitis and other inflammatory conditions can cause nasal passages to become swollen or congested, as well as causing excess mucus production that runs into our throats when we lie in bed. The end result is obstructed breathing which can cause snoring.
Sometimes people snore simply due to the way their body has grown. They may have a deviated septum, enlarged adenoids, a cleft palette or other physiological anomalies. And most women will tell you that men are more prone to snoring, which has been supported by various studies which indicate that, on average, around 1 in 3 men snore as opposed to 1 in 5 women. The reason is thought to be due to men having larger airways than women which are susceptible to greater changes in airway sizes between vertical and horizontal positions.
How To Stop Snoring
In some people snoring can become dangerous if their airways are obstructed to the point of stopping their breathing altogether. This is a serious condition requiring medical diagnosis and intervention. In most people, however, snoring can be significantly reduced or stopped altogether depending on the cause.
Some of the obvious ways to reduce or stop snoring are losing weight, reducing alcohol consumption before bed, or giving up smoking which can irritate and inflame the throat and nasal passages. You can also try sleeping on your side or using a pillow that provides the correct head support.
But if you suffer with mild to moderate snoring that isn’t alleviated by lifestyle changes, we recommend you try an anti-snoring device such as the Sleep Guardian. This is a custom-fit mouth guard which gently repositions your lower jaw to open up your airways while you sleep providing an effective solution for many people.
The Sleep Guardian is a safe, affordable, non-invasive remedy which provides instant results. Best of all, the DIY Home Impression Kit allows you to enjoy the quality fit of a custom mouth guard usually only available from a dentist, but without the time, hassle or expense.