Throughout the US about 70 million people suffer from unsound sleep. They don’t necessarily have to suffer from a sleep disorder; poor quality sleep or not getting the necessary hours of rest often has the same effects as a sleep disorder. Blame it on hectic work schedules or an unhealthy lifestyle, but poor sleep quality has been on the rise for the last many years. Some people suffer from chronic insomnia, some have fragmented sleep, while some people stay up because of ambient factors. Yes, believe it or not, but external factors are often responsible for causing unsound sleep. From noisy neighbors to the sound of traffic, to snoring (leading to the question how to stop snoring), various environmental factors are responsible for contributing to disturbed sleep.
Sometimes the source of distraction maybe right next to us. We are talking about snoring. At the same time, snoring is both a disorder and a distraction. However, snoring is also more normal than any other sleep issue. In fact, it isn’t considered an issue at all, not until it starts to disturb the people around the snorer. Snoring is a problem that only the people around the snorer are aware of. Once the person is asleep, they do not know if they snore. In some cases, they may refuse to believe that they snore when told by others. It is often embarrassing, and not many like to admit that their snoring keeps others awake at night.
Every person snores at some point. They may snore softly when in a deep sleep or when they have a cold. But it isn’t something regular or permanent. Such snoring is also quite tolerable to others around the sleeper. The problem arises when the snoring is loud enough to not only keep the people in the room awake but also disturb the others in the house even through closed doors. This is when snoring is considered a sleep disorder and needs treatment.
What Is Snoring?
Simply put snoring is the result of a blocked air passageway. It generally happens when there is an obstruction to breathing. When a person sleeps the muscles in the body relax. The problem is, in snorers, the throat muscles also relax and block the air passage. This creates obstructed air movement and does not let the person breathe freely. As a result, the strained breathing creates a noise.
It is easy to simply brush aside snoring and not consider it a problem at all. But the fact is the sound of snoring can sometimes exceed 100 decibels, which is louder than the sound of a road drill. Even if the person remains unaware of the fact that he or she snores, the loud noise can cause sleep disturbances to others around him forcing them to seek remedies to stop snoring. The loudness of snoring can lead to chronic insomnia and for sleep quality in others sharing the room with the snorer.
Snoring is not a problem when it is transient or because of a condition like a cold. It is also more common among men and those above middle age. Habitual snoring affects around 90 million people in the US alone. Children can also sometimes be habitual snorers, but the generally outgrow it as they get older.
What are the Most Common Causes of Snoring?
As already discussed, the primary cause of snoring is obstruction of the air passage. But the obstruction can stem from various causes. Snoring is more an annoyance than anything else. It is not readily seen as a sleep disorder or a health problem. Snoring can often remain undiagnosed, and even though it may not be dangerous for the person, it can lead to various other problems.
Most Common Causes of Snoring
Excess Weight: Overweight or obese people are more at risk for snoring. In fact, more than half of the total number of people who snore are overweight or obese. Any person with a body mass index of 29.9 or above is considered overweight, while a body mass index of 40 and above is considered obese. BMI is not always the sole yardstick for measuring excess weight. Men with a neck circumference of 17 inches or higher are also at risk for snoring. This is because overweight people have thick palates that narrow down the airway and obstruct breathing. This is not really a disorder but more of a lifestyle problem, affecting a vast number of people in the US.
Alcohol: Many people are fond of consuming an alcoholic drink after dinner or before bed because they find it relaxing. Indeed, alcohol does have a relaxing effect on the body. Alcohol is known to relax all the muscles of the body including the throat muscles. When throat muscles relax, they block the airway and obstruct breathing. That is the reason why any person with sleep disorders or respiratory troubles should avoid alcohol at least two hours before bedtime.
Nasal Problems: Respiratory or nasal problems can often be the reason behind loud snoring. Chronic nasal congestion and deviated nasal septum are one of the biggest physiological reasons behind snoring. Nasal congestion can have a variety of causes including allergies, common cold, sinusitis, environmental irritants, and nasal polyps. The septum is the wall between the nostrils. When it is crooked, it leads to a condition called deviated nasal septum. This causes airway obstruction and prevents normal breathing, leading to snoring. All types of nasal congestion require a medical diagnosis.
Sleep Deprivation: Snoring and sleep deprivation are connected in two ways: sleep-deprived people tend to snore more, and those who snore are also usually sleep deprived. When sleep deprived people finally get to rest, they are more likely to snore than others.
Sleep Position: The position in which a person sleeps is also a possible reason for snoring. Those who sleep on their back are more likely to snore than those who sleep on the sides or on the stomach. This is because when a person sleeps on the back, the air passage is narrowed down due to the relaxed throat muscles. Those who sleep on their backs and snore loudly may try changing the sleep position to see if there is any improvement.
What Habitual Snoring Can Lead To?
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