It’s the middle of the night, you’re bone-tired, but sleep is out of question – your partner’s loud snoring is keeping you awake…
Is this a typical situation, you can easily relate to? Or, maybe you are someone who keeps waking up at night from the sound of your own snoring and associated breathing troubles?Let’s face it, snoring is a common problem faced by many. My journey to understanding the nature of snoring began with my own problems in this area.
Yes, you guessed it – I snore!..
I was made aware of how serious my problem was, by my wife’s complaints. My dear loving wife, who is a very hard-working woman, could not take it anymore. My loud snoring kept her from enjoying quality sleep, night after night. One day as she was dragging herself through the morning chores to head out for work, I clearly saw that my snoring was taking a toll on her. In fact, I was apprehensive about her commute to work, and the long miles she would be driving. That morning, I decided to take charge of my snoring!
Over the next months, I read up on the topic, discussed with my doctor and spent hours and hours seeking the right solution for my problem. My investigations on this topic opened my eyes to the seriousness of the snoring. Never before in my life, had I imagined that there was so much more to the seemingly common habit of snoring…
Today, I write this article to share the knowledge I gained and help others who snore. Readers will be surprised to know that the existing medical evidence underscores the gravity of snoring.
What is a snoring nature in pictures
Snoring is an unpleasant noise issue that keeps people from enjoying a good night’s sleep. However, there are times when the causes and risks of snoring are serious health concerns that need to be addressed immediately. Read on to understand the causes of snoring, health problems commonly associated with snoring and remedial measures one can take.
Snoring occurs during sleep when the air passages are obstructed. The restricted air flow while breathing causes the tissues in the back of the mouth and throat to vibrate. This vibration produces the snoring sound. Two structures in the mouth that are commonly associated with snoring are the soft palate and uvula. The soft palate is the roof of the mouth towards the throat, and the uvula is the cone-shaped tissue that hangs from the roof of the mouth.
Factors that affect the structures of the mouth and throat can lead to snoring. Below is outlined the common causes of snoring:
Overweight or obese individuals with excess fat around the neck region.
Swollen tonsils and adenoids resulting from health problems, such as infection, inflammation, etc.
Blockage of nasal airways from allergies, cold, nasal polyps, deformed septum, etc.
Impaired muscle tone in mouth and throat regions.
Swelling in mouth tissues or tongue.
Swollen tissues due to pregnancy.
Misaligned jaw or facial bones.
Certain medications, such as sleeping medicine, antihistamines.
Gender: air passages are narrower in men as compared with women; therefore, men are more likely to snore.
Age: the throat becomes narrower and muscle tone decreases with age.
Ultimately, the partial blockage of air passages leads to interrupted air flow during breathing, and therefore causes snoring. Depending on how severe the blockage of air passages is, snoring may indicate the need for medical intervention.
Associated health risks of snoring
Snoring disrupts the quality of sleep. It affects the person who snores and those around them. Sleep is a time when the body repairs and rejuvenates itself. During deep restful sleep, the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, which calms stress responses and promotes homeostasis. In the absence of a good night’s rest, an individual suffers from daytime sleepiness, fatigue, inability to focus, high blood pressure, decreased libido and increased irritability. A sleep-deprived individual driving a motor vehicle is more prone to accidents as compared with well-rested drivers.
Sleep Apnea Consequences
Moreover, prolonged sleep deprivation is associated with impaired immunity, obesity and reduced cognitive abilities. Snoring can be a warning sign of associated sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a very serious health condition, wherein an individual intermittently stops breathing, for lapses of at least 10 seconds, during sleep. These episodes can occur several times in an hour. Snoring may be the first sign of sleep apnea, and therefore should be investigated further. Sleep apnea causes stress on the cardiovascular system, especially the heart. When left untreated for long periods of time, sleep apnea can increase the risk for a heart attack. Reduced oxygen availability during sleep from sleep apnea, puts an individual at a higher risk for hypertension, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, obesity, dementia, depression, gastric problems, insomnia, nocturnal asthma and impotence…
It is important to realize that all snoring is not indicative of sleep apnea. However, although snoring may not be as serious a health condition as sleep apnea, snoring must not be taken lightly.In fact, a recent study by Dr. Deeb and his colleagues at the Henry Ford Hospital, clearly indicate an association between snoring (without obstructive sleep apnea) and cardiovascular disease. The authors found that individuals who snore have thickened carotid arteries—an indication of arterial damage. The authors suggested that the vibrations of snoring could have led to artery damage in these individuals. According to these authors, public awareness of the implications of snoring is essential. Just as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and family history are well-known risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, snoring is another contributing factor. Therefore, individuals who snore habitually should seek medical advice immediately to take charge of their cardiovascular health.
Snoring is not a problem confined to the adult population. In fact, children with certain conditions, such as asthma, allergies, etc. are known to snore chronically. It is highly advisable to get children who snore tested for sleep apnea. Available medical evidence has linked childhood sleep apnea to various growth problems, attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), poor academic performance and high blood pressure.