While many people find snoring to be a laughable and non-serious matter, there are others who are severely suffering from snoring. Sometimes snoring is linked to more serious health problems, such as obstructive sleep apnoea. Recent research suggests that snoring may directly contribute to cardiovascular health problems.
Those affected by snoring may not feel as though they are affected, but most will likely be affected by sleep deprivation or a similar sleeping disorder. This occurs because their sleep is interrupted and they can’t achieve a deep sleep where their bodies can fully rest. Those that are sleep deprived will face mood swings, anxiety, and their overall mental focus. Even more serious conditions such as heart problems and high blood pressure have also been attributed to snoring.
Your partner isn’t the only one who suffers when you snore. Nights spent sawing logs have been associated with health risks ranging from heart disease and stroke to memory loss and erectile dysfunction.
What are the trigers of Snoring?
- Age. As you’re probably aware, when you begin to age your body naturally begins to relax and lose muscle tone, requiring more effort to keep your body defined. These processes also occur in the throat and tongue muscles causing the muscles there to relax and fall back into your airways causing obstructions that lead to snoring.
- Weight. Your weight can play a large role in whether or not you snore. If you are overweight you more than likely have an excess of built-up fatty tissues in your throat as well as poor muscle tone leading to a restriction of your throat muscles, thus causing snoring.
- Alcohol consumption, smoking, and medications. Alcohol, smoking, and some medications increase muscle relaxation allowing the flesh of the throat to relax and disrupt airflow. Smoking also irritates the nasal passages and throat muscles causing inflammation of these areas and further restriction of airflow.
- Nasal and sinus problems. Seasonal allergies and sinus infections can cause swelling of the nasal passages making breathing difficult and snoring likely. A deviated septum can also cause snoring due to the imbalance in the sizes of breathing passages. A severe deviated septum may even lead to sleep apnea.
- Sleep posture. Sleeping on your back puts you at a higher likelihood of snoring. The tissues at the back of the throat can more readily fall back and cause partial or complete blockage of the airways leading to snoring. To avoid snoring, try changing your sleeping posture by sleeping on your side.
Health Risks of Snoring:
- Strain on Heart. Untreated obstructed sleep apnea often results in high blood pressure, which can lead to an increase in heart size creating a higher risk for heart attacks and strokes.
- Low oxygen levels in the blood. If you’re not breathing regularly your body isn’t getting the levels of oxygen in the blood stream that it needs. This can cause constricted blood vessels in the lungs, which may lead to pulmonary hypertension if left untreated.
- Long interruptions of breathing. One of the most common effects of obstructive sleep apnea is frequent interruptions of breathing. If an interruption in breathing lasts more than 10 seconds and is frequent throughout the night, which can lead to frequent waking from sleep.
- Frequent waking from sleep. If you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea and have frequent interruptions in breathing, you may not even realize that you frequently wake from sleep as your body is startled by the lack of oxygen causing you to wake and thus disrupting your sleeping cycles.
- Excessive Daytime sleepiness can affect both those that snore and those that sleep next to snorers. Not getting enough sleep throughout the night on a regular basis causes many to feel tired and drowsy during the day. The side effects of daytime sleepiness can range from poor work performance to personal injury. Lack of sleep results in a decrease of awareness and reaction time making drowsy driving extremely dangerous.
- Chronic headaches. Snorers often report frequent morning headaches, which are due to the alterations in the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the bloodstream.
Current snoring treatments
Given the multiple causes of snoring, there are numerous potential treatments available that work on some but not others.
Recommended lifestyle changes include:
There are several medical treatments for snoring that require professional advice. If you snore regularly, it is highly recommended you see a sleep and respiratory doctor for diagnosis and to determine the right treatment for you.