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What causes snoring?

What Happens When You Snore?

Snoring is a result of relaxed muscles in the mouth, tongue, and throat, which fall back towards the throat as you sleep. This relaxation can cause the upper airway to narrow, leading to increased airflow force and vibrations, resulting in loud snoring. Despite the noise, snorers are often unaware of their own sounds.

Why Do People Snore?

Various factors contribute to snoring, including enlarged tonsils, an enlarged tongue, excess neck weight, and structural issues like nose or jaw shape. Additionally, nasal congestion, sinus problems, allergies, smoking, and respiratory infections can exacerbate snoring. Medical treatments such as nasal sprays or allergy management may offer relief.

  • Overweight

    Snoring is more likely among individuals who are overweight or obese. The presence of excess fatty tissue, particularly around the neck area, can heighten the restriction of the airway when throat muscles relax.

  • Gender

    While both men and women snore, men are more predisposed to snoring due to their anatomical structure. Men typically have narrower air passages, increasing the likelihood of airway restriction during sleep.

  • Aging

    As individuals age, they tend to experience a decline in muscle tone throughout the body, including the upper airway. Snoring commonly afflicts older adults and may signify underlying conditions such as sleep apnea.

  • Alcohol

    Alcohol consumption at night could be making your snoring worse as alcohol makes your muscles relax more than usual during a normal night’s sleep.

  • Medications

    Taking sleeping tablets or sedatives to help you sleep can also make snoring worse as the medication causes muscles to relax further.

  • Hormonal Changes

    Post-menopausal women have lower levels of oestrogen, which helps with muscle tone. Losing oestrogen means softer muscles, including in the upper airways.

Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Snoring and sleep apnea (sleep apnoea) are closely linked, with a significant percentage of habitual snorers also suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea disrupts healthy sleep patterns, impacting overall well-being.

Snoring in Pregnancy

Pregnancy hormones can cause nasal congestion, leading to snoring. Additionally, pressure from the growing fetus on the diaphragm in later stages of pregnancy can exacerbate breathing difficulties during sleep. Snoring typically resolves after childbirth.

When to consider Medical Attention

If your snoring persists and you're concerned about the impact of snoring on your sleep or health, it's time to seek professional assistance.

Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

For more detailed diagnostic and investigative services, we recommend visiting our parter CLM Sleep Treatment Programmes.