Snoring is a common sleep condition that affects approximately 90 million Americans. It is caused by the partial closing of the upper respiratory tract and can occur on either an occasional or daily basis. Aside from being an annoying habit, is snoring bad for you?
What is snoring?
Not everyone snores and it’s most common in people who are older than 40, overweight, smoke, or have breathing issues. Snoring occurs when air flows past relaxed tissues in your throat, causing them to vibrate and make a hoarse sound as you breathe. If you snore sporadically, there’s no cause for concern, however if you’re a chronic snorer, it may disrupt your sleep quality and therefore be an underlining health problem.
What causes snoring?
Snoring happens when the flow of air through your mouth and nose is blocked. Here are some other reasons people snore while sleeping:
- Blocked nasal airways – snoring can be a result of an abnormal structure in the nose or throat, like a deviated septum or enlarged tonsils, causing airways to be blocked in the nasal passageway
- Poor muscle tone – the muscles in your throat and tongue may be too relaxed, which causes them to collapse as you breathe
- Throat tissue – being overweight can causes strain on your throat tissue, making it harder for air to enter your throat
- Uvula or long soft palate concerns – the uvula, the dangling tissue in the back of the throat, can be narrow or blocked
- Alcohol and drug use – alcohol and drugs can cause your tongue and throat muscles to loosen
- Sleep position – when you sleep on your back, you are more prone to snoring
- Sleep deprivation – if you’re not getting enough sleep, the muscles in your throat can become over relaxed
Symptoms of snoring
Did you know that snoring symptoms can go beyond nighttime sleeping? You may also experience issues during the day!
When is snoring harmful?
Snoring may be a potential health issue if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Excessive daytime drowsiness or waking up tired
- Morning headaches
- Recent weight gain
- High blood pressure
- Nightly chest pain
- Decreased ability to concentrate or memory loss
- Pauses in breathing while sleeping
- Waking up gasping for air
What are the health risks associated with snoring?
If you are someone who experiences snoring every night, it can pose some serious risks to your health:
- Drop in blood oxygen levels – the normal blood oxygen level should be between 94-98% but as you snore, it can drop to 80% or less
- Heart disease – snoring can cause cardiovascular problems like high blood pressure or arrhythmia, an irregular heart rhythm
- Stroke – intense snoring can narrow the arteries in the neck due to fatty deposits, which in turn can increase your chances of getting a stroke
- Accidents – snoring can cause daytime sleepiness and a lack of concentration, making you more prone to accidents
- Mental health concerns – irritability and mood swings caused by snoring can lead to mental health problems, including anxiety and depression
We want to hear from YOU! Are you an occasional or daily snorer? Comment below!