Snoring affects millions around the globe and usually is just dismissed as a quirk that some people (and those who sleep around them) must endure. In fact, even if you do not personally snore, you probably know somebody who does. Snoring may be a near universal experience, but what causes snoring in the first place?
Here are a few reasons as to why people snore:
The Shape of Your Mouth
“The shape of your mouth and nose can affect if you snore” sounds like a wild statement, but it’s true! Snoring is caused by vibrations in the soft palate and nose as air moves through narrow airways. For people with lower, thicker soft palates, a long palate, large tonsils, or large uvula, snoring is common. In some cases, nose strips to raise the soft palate can help reduce snoring.
If you’ve met someone who only snores when they sleep on their back or stomach, you’ve got a “site-dependent” snorer on your hands. Sometimes, different sleeping positions can obstruct the airways and cause snoring. The best way to remedy this? Sleeping on your side.
People who snore when sleeping on their backs and stomachs can train themselves to sleep comfortably on their side. This adjustment can be made easier with the help of pillows! Orthopedic pillows can help make an individual more comfortable while sleeping on their side, or help position the body in ways that will keep airways open during sleep.
Most major causes of snoring involve respiratory complications. For example, airways blocked by mucus will increase the chances of snoring. To remedy this, keeping your head elevated while you sleep can help mucus flow away from the soft palate. Another complication that may cause snoring is a deviated septum. A deviated septum occurs when the bridge of the nose and the septum (which separates the nostrils) are curved. This can make breathing through the affected nostril more difficult, thus causing snoring.
Sleep apnea is another common respiratory complication. It occurs when an individual stops breathing periodically while they sleep. In most cases, this is caused by the throat muscles relaxing during the sleep cycle, preventing air from reaching the lungs. Not only does this make breathing difficult and cause snoring, but sleep apnea can also affect deep sleep as well, rousing people just enough to prevent them from entering REM.
To combat sleep apnea, CPAP machines can be used to blow a continuous stream of pressurized air into the lungs throughout the night. The air pressure and type of machine an individual is prescribed varies based on lung capacity and how their muscles relax, so a doctor’s prescription is required to get the most out of CPAP therapy.
As you get older, sleep habits can change. Sometimes, sleep might not be as restful as it had been before, or you may find yourself waking up and needing to sleep way earlier than you were before. This is okay! Age can affect many different aspects of sleep, including how the throat, tongue, and palate muscles relax. This, in turn, may cause some adults to develop sleep apnea and affect how they snore.
To browse products that can help you or a loved one sleep well and snore less, visit the Medical Supply Depot.