Have you ever noticed how snoring is viewed as a silly and amusing habit that some people have?
Well, it is by those who have never experienced it in their lives.
However, for those of you who do snore (and your partners), it’s definitely no laughing matter.
I’m sure you’ve woken yourself up countless times during the night through snoring and heaven only knows what effect it’s having on your partner and your relationship in general.
In fact, I would hazard a guess that many a relationship has ended simply because one person couldn’t take the constant droning and endless sleepless nights anymore.
People snore for a wide variety of reasons and there isn’t one specific logical explanation for snoring.
So, why do people snore when sleeping?
Snoring – The Facts
The main reason you snore is because the flow of air as you breath makes the tissues in the back of the throat vibrate. It is this vibration that produces the snore.
Here’s some facts and figures about snoring:
- 37 million Americans snore, the majority of which are men or those who are overweight.
- It is estimated that approximately 2 billion people worldwide snore.
- The tissues that vibrate in the throat to cause snoring can vary. It may your tongue, uvula, soft palate, tonsils, adenoids, or any other area round the throat that is causing the problem.
- The sound of snoring occurs most often when you breath in air.
- Approximately 40% of adult men and 24% of adult women are habitual snorers.
- Aging can have an impact on snoring, The throat muscles tend to relax more during sleep with age. Therefore, it is more likely that when you inhale you cause a vibration, which of course leads to snoring.
- Ironically, men become less likely to snore after the age of 70. Go figure!
- Obstructive sleep apnea is a more serious condition which affects up to 100 million people worldwide.
- In America, up to 5 million men and 3.5 million women suffer from sleep apnea, with a whopping total number of 70 million people in the US suffering from some form of sleep disorder.
Just so you’re aware, obstructive sleep apnea is a condition where the upper airway is temporarily closed due to an obstruction, and this can occur up to 10 times an hour while you sleep.
As you can see, some facts about snoring don’t make for pretty reading.
Just to know that over 25% of the world’s population snore shows you just how widespread an issue this is.
Why Do Some People Tend to Snore Louder Than Others?
Before we get into the crux of why people snore when they’re sleeping, it’s always bothered me a little as to why some people tend to snore louder than others.
The answers, as it turns out, make a perfect sense.
We know that thankfully the tone and pitch of a snore varies from one person to another. Could you imagine if every person who snores sounded like a chainsaw going off or a jet plane passing overhead?
Snoring depends on the force of air being pushed through the airway. The greater the force, the louder the snore.
You’ve probably noticed that even babies snore. However, because the force of air is so gentle, we don’t usually consider this to be a snore. In fact, we normally find a baby snoring to be extremely cute and sweet. If only everyone could snore like that!
We are aware that snoring affects both genders, but as the figures quite clearly show, it’s typically more men than women.
Men’s necks tend to be larger, on the whole, than women’s, so there is more fleshy tissue for snoring to occur. Surveys suggest that men outnumber women in terms of snoring by 2:1.
Women also produce the hormone Progesterone, which experts believe can reduce or prevent snoring.
There are even anti-snoring treatments which use Progesterone therapy for both men and women.
So, guys unfortunately these are the facts. We, as men, tend to be the louder snorers, and size and the greater force of air being pushed through the airway is the main culprit.
Why do People Snore When Sleeping? – Health & Lifestyle
There are certain health and lifestyle factors that contribute to snoring. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but these are the main reasons that people tend to snore:
- Allergies – It is estimated that worldwide over 1.5 billion people suffer from some sort of allergy, be it certain food types, pollen, etc. Allergies can cause a blockage in the trachea and airway when you lay down to sleep.
- Allergy medications – The medication you are taking to control your allergies are all-well-and-good, but in many cases they can lead to dry nasal cavities. This in turn can lead to snoring.
- Thickened tissues in the nasal passages – There are various reasons for this including, allergies, infections, asthma, reaction to foreign bodies entering the sinus area, chemical agents, etc.
- Enlarged tonsils and adenoids – This is generally caused by bacteria or a viral infection.
- Cold and Flu – Cold and Flu can lead to the airway becoming clogged.
- Oversized tongue – An oversized tongue may block the airway, which not only leads to snoring, but may also be a symptom of sleep apnea.
- Nasal sprays – The overuse of nasal sprays can cause issues with the nasal cavities and your breathing in general.
- Obesity and Excess Weight – If you are overweight or classed as obese, this may mean that your neck is larger and therefore you’ll have an excess of soft tissue in the throat.
- Drinking Alcohol – The consumption of alcohol causes the blood vessels to dilate and the throat tissues to swell up. Additionally, alcohol can cause the muscles of the throat to become so relaxed that they collapse.
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- Age – The aging process leads to a loss of muscle tone in the neck area.
- Cigarettes – Smoking cigarettes will inflame the upper airway.
- Excess gut or belly – If you have a large belly or excess gut this can somewhat decrease the size and capacity of the lungs.
- Men tend to experience excess gut more than women, which explains in part why more men tend to snore than women.
As you can see your general health and the lifestyle you choose to lead can contribute to snoring.
I know myself, when I first discovered a few of these facts i simply ignored them, even thought. “Oh not this again, the same old rubbish!”
However, there really isn’t any point in thinking that some wonder drug, magical pill or potion, gadget or gizmo is going to completely cure you of snoring, unless you deal with the basics first.
Don’t get me wrong, yes I agree there various means and methods to help cure snoring, but the first course of action is to always take a long hard look at yourself.
I know this sounds harsh, but could you be committing the ultimate cardinal sin in the way you choose to live your life? Is it your lifestyle or the fact you aren’t looking after your health properly that has led to your issue with snoring?
Is How You Are Sleeping the Reason That You’re Snoring?
It’s not only your health and lifestyle that may be behind the reason you snore.
You may have ticked “No” to every option on the list above, and yet you and your partner can’t get a decent night’s sleep because one of you sounds like a foghorn going off in the middle of the night.
What difference can the way you sleep make to snoring?
- Your pillow should support the full length of your neck and the top of your shoulders.
- If you have particularly broad shoulders, is your pillow high enough for your neck to rest in the best position?
- If you sleep on your back you’re more likely to snore.
- If you sleep face down you put more stress on your neck.
- Therefore, it appears that sleeping on your side is the best solution. However, did you know that there is a better side to sleep on?
- Make sure your bedroom isn’t too dry, hot or stuffy. You may need to use your thermostat controls, a dehumidifier, or simply have a window open during the day.
- Try using a buckwheat hull pillow, which not only supports your neck, but allows your head to stay flatter. This will help to open your airway.
I would also suggest that you train yourself to breath through your nose during the day, so that this eventually becomes a natural habit for you when you sleep at night.
Don’t Let Snoring Ruin Your Life
We are well aware that snoring is far more than just a slight nuisance. It can affect both you and your partner’s sleeping patterns, which in turn can lead to frequent frustration and anger (for both of you).
If you’re not getting adequate rest, the following day can be an uphill struggle.
You feel constantly tired during the day, you have difficulty concentrating or remembering things, and there’s a higher chance of you being involved in some type of accident.
As you can see there are many reasons and circumstances why people snore when they’re sleeping, but some of these are well within your control.
You will find plenty of articles on this website about cures for snoring and natural (and perhaps not so natural) remedies.
For now, as I’ve mentioned, first take a good look at the information above and see if there are any changes you can make yourself today.