Snoring is a common condition that affects about 1 in 10 adults. You may not notice it in yourself, but your partner might tell you you sound like a freight train. It occurs when these things happen, including the base of the tongue pressing against the back of the throat blocking airflow, an obstruction within the air passage, or narrowing of those air passages.
In fact, snoring is quite common among people diagnosed with sleep apnea. This is because when these individuals fall asleep, they stop breathing for a period of time. And this leads to a decrease in the blood flow to the muscles of their throat, and as a result, they stop breathing throughout the night. The air in their throat then vibrates at rates that make it sound as if someone has been belting out loud snores.
Let us now see into the common causes of snoring.
- Blocked nasal airways
One of the most common causes of snoring is a blocked nasal airway. When the nose does not function properly, then air can leak out through the nose. This creates vibrations that are typically associated with snoring. In fact, any obstruction in the nose can be a cause of snoring.
- Poor muscle tone in your throat and tongue
The muscles in your throat and tongue are responsible for vibrating the air you breathe out. When they are not working well, the snoring sound is caused by air vibrations that occur when they do not work properly.
- Bulky throat tissue
Cartilage is the cause of extra thickening in your throat. Your tonsils, adenoids, and uvula are examples of this. Such conditions increase the chances of snoring.
Snoring is more common among people who are overweight or obese. This is because the fat in their neck can serve as an obstruction to breathing and even pause breathing while they sleep at night.
- Long soft palate
People with long soft palates are more prone to snoring. This is because their soft palate, the tissue that connects the throat to the nasal cavity, is longer and wider than usual. It allows more air to leak through it and reduces the airway capacity.
- Alcohol and use of drugs
Alcohol and drugs can make you snore more and hence, should be avoided. In fact, alcohol and some drugs dry out tissues in the throat making it more likely to snore.
- Sleep position
Snoring is more prevalent when you sleep on your back, and less so when you sleep on your side. This is because sleeping on your back makes it easier for the tongue and throat tissues to press against the airways hence blocking airflow.