It’s the question most snorers have asked themselves at least once. You realize that you snore. You understand that you want to stop snoring. But the first step in quitting your snoring really comes down to one basic question: Why am I snoring?
To put it scientifically, snoring is caused by turbulent passages of air traveling over any structure in the snorer’s mouth and throat – such as the tongue, tonsils and adenoids. The abnormal airflow causes vibrations in the uvula and the soft palate above it in the throat. These dissonant vibrations result in the harsh and bothersome sound of snoring. That’s quite the mouthful! To better understand the why behind your snore, we’ve compiled five common causes of snoring.
Obstructed Airways Cause Most Snoring
As you fall deeper into sleep, your muscles begin to relax and your throat becomes more narrow. During this stage – referred to as the Rapid Eye Movement or REM stage – your breathing also becomes slower, constant and more relaxed. This period is when you get your deepest sleep, but unfortunately, it’s also when the noise starts. Anyone who suffers from snoring will begin to snore once that level of deeper sleep is reached. So even if you’re sleeping well, it’s unlikely the same can be said for your bed partner.
The key to stopping snoring is to first identify the obstruction and then seek a relevant solution. For example, have you been sick lately with a stuffy nose? Is the air in your room too dry? It could be that a pet is nearby, and its fur or dander is clogging your system. These are common causes of obstructed airways that should be addressed during the process to rid yourself of snoring.
Weight gain is the most well-established and common cause of snoring. One poll showed that 97% of physicians surveyed recommend losing weight in order to stop snoring. Someone who is overweight tends to have thicker neck tissues that put strain on the throat. Maintaining a healthy weight, staying active and implementing healthier dietary habits can help eliminate the extra tissue and weak muscle tone from your airway and relieve snoring.
As you age, your body goes through changes. We all know the usual outwardly changes associated with aging, like wrinkles and greying hair. But your internal change is just as important and can be one cause of your snoring.
Aging naturally causes snoring to become more frequent and dominant over time, especially if the condition exists in conjunction with any other airway obstruction. Your throat’s muscle tone changes as you age, becoming slightly more narrow in shape. To mitigate the toll age takes on your sleeping habits, avoid alcohol, smoking, significant weight gain, sleeping pills and medications with negative side-effects.
Sleep position is one factor that most people might not consider, but sleeping on your back can actually be a major cause of snoring. Sleeping on your back can cause your throat and neck tissues to relax more than they normally would, which can cause instant blockage in the airway. Training yourself to sleep on your side is a sure-fire method for preventing snoring due to sleep position.
All of that sneezing you do during the daytime can have some effects on your body at night. Nasal congestion is a clear, common factor related to snoring. Congestion resulting from allergies, sinus infections or issues in the nose, such as nasal polyps or a deviated septum, can all cause snoring to occur due to their obstructive nature.