WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF SNORING?
What causes snoring?
Technically, snoring is defined as any resonant noise from the respiratory tract that emerges during sleep. Biologically, snoring refers to a vibration in the airway connecting the nose and the mouth; the vibration produces a sound that can emerge through the mouth, the nose or both at the same time! Narrow airways lead to more intense vibration and is one of the causes of snoring.
What do people only snore at night?
After all, people literally use their airway every moment of their life; so what is the cause of snoring only at night? The tissues within the airway are very soft, and at night become relaxed; it's similar to the way some muscles, like biceps, become relaxed at night since they are not being used.
As the throat relaxes during sleep, the wind tunnel/airway becomes narrower restricting the flow of air leading to snoring.
What is the cause of snoring and why is it louder in some that others?
The actual snoring sound that emerges is dependant upon the force of breath that is being pushed through the (narrowed) airway. As you can imagine, the heavier the breathing becomes, the louder the resulting snores.
This is also why even babies can snore; but it's often not considered snoring in the conventional sense, because an infant's breathing through their wind tunnel is so mild, that it can easily be ignored (though this can lead to complications. infant snoring can often be a symptom for a breathing and/or respiration problem, including allergy).
However, while snoring affects people of both genders and of all ages, it typically does afflict more men than women. There are a few reasons for this.
Cause of Snoring In Men
Overall, men's necks tend to be larger than women's necks; and thus there may be more fleshy tissue in there just waiting to combine with air flow and cause snoring.
Another reason is that women produce the hormone called Progesterone, which is considered by some medical experts to be an aid in reducing or preventing snoring. In fact, there are some anti-snoring treatments that involve Progesterone therapy for snoring men.
Cause of Snoring - other factors
There are several health and lifestyle issues that contribute to snoring; and this is true for both men and women, since snoring is a condition that does affect both genders (though surveys suggest that men snorers outnumber women snorers by a ratio of 2:1).
Some of the major health and lifestyle factors that can contribute to snoring include:
1. Allergies, which can clog the airway and trachea
2. Allergy medications, which can dry the nasal cavities
3. Cold and Flu, which can similarly clog the airway (this is why some people experience snoring only when they're suffering a cold or flu)
4. Thickened tissues in the nasal passages, which can sometimes result from surgery unrelated to snoring
5. Overuse of nasal sprays which irritate the nasal passageway
6. Enlarged adenoids and/or tonsils
7. Goiter (swelling of the an ineffective thyroid gland in the neck)
8. A disproportionately large tongue that blocks airflow
9. Ineffective regulation and neural control of mucus membranes
10. Obesity and excess weight (leading to an enlarged neck and excess soft tissue in the trachea)
11. Excess gut/belly (relatively decreasing the size of the lungs)*
12. Drinking alcohol**, which:
o sedates the throat muscles and causes them to collapse
o dilates blood vessels which swells up throat tissue
13. Cigarette smoking, which inflames the upper airway is also a major cause of snoring.
14. The normal aging process, which can simply lead to a loss of muscle tone in the neck and is a cause of snoring
*Since relatively more men tend to experience an excess gut, this is one reason why more men tend to experience snoring than women.
**Any medication (prescribed, over the counter, or illicit) that leads to excessive relaxation can lead to snoring.
So while we've looked at what snoring is, and what the causes of snoring tend to be, there still remains a very important element to focus upon: just how devastating is snoring?
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