Snoring is a sleep disorder caused by airway obstruction – which usually happens when we are in total rest and the neck muscles relax. There are, however, several factors responsible for the onset of snoring as well as its aggravation.
Nasal obstruction may be the consequence of a condition such as septal deviation, allergic rhinitis or chronic rhinitis, but also an incorrect sleep routine or other lifestyle factors. Apart from the disturbing noise, we must know that snoring decreases the supply of oxygen to the blood and tissues, which can lead to more serious complications, such as high blood pressure, heart failure or arrhythmia, and increases the risk of myocardial infarction and stroke.
- Alcohol consumption before bedtime
Although often considered a relaxation method after a full day, alcohol consumption in the evening worsens the quality of sleep (creating an initial, short-lived state of sleepiness, followed by a restful sleep, accompanied by nightmares) and may increase the intensity of the snoring. Alcohol has a sedative effect, which causes a deeper relaxation of the neck muscles, thus accentuating the snoring.
- Body weight
Overweight is also a risk factor for snoring. In this case, the snoring is caused by the excess fat in the tissues around the neck, which hinders the proper functioning of the airways.
- Position of the body during sleep
Many people know that when they sleep on their backs, the chances of snoring are increased. This is because, as we lie on our backs, the airways are obstructed – the gravitational force pushes the base of the tongue onto the epiglottis, with the tendency to close the pharyngeal isthmus.
- Genetic factors
Sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea syndrome and snoring, are conditions that can be genetically inherited. So, if you have family members snoring (it doesn’t have to be a 1st degree relative), sleep disorder may be an inheritance.
From a statistical point of view, the share of men who snore is higher than that of women. The reasons are multiple: it may be the difference in adipose tissue and the way it is deposited in the neck area, the tongue and the base of the larger tongue, which makes breathing difficult when sleeping on the back, the amount of tobacco and alcohol consumed (in men, the volume is larger), but also biological factors – the larynx cavity is lower in men as in women, thus leaving more room for air vibration.
Methods to combat snoring
The first step in getting a snoring solution is to consult a specialist, to identify precisely what causes the snoring. If it is a medical problem, such as septal deviation, one can resort to drug treatment or surgery, and the snoring, as a symptom, will disappear.
Often, snoring is a consequence of sleep apnea syndrome, that is, stopping the breath, sequentially, during sleep, for about 10 seconds. In this case, you can call a specialist, and once the apnea problem is resolved, the snoring will disappear.
If the nature of snoring is not a medical one, certain lifestyle changes can be adopted, which can adversely affect sleep quality, namely avoiding alcohol consumption before bedtime, weight loss, proper brain oxygenation (through sports and / or or breathing exercises).