Snoring is pretty uncomfortable both for the person involved and those around them.
Written by Dami Daniel
Help! My baby keeps me up at night!
Some things cut across race, gender, age & social class. Snoring is one of them and if you do not snore, you probably have a relative, roommate or partner that does.
Snoring is pretty uncomfortable both for the person involved and those around them. The big question here is 'what is snoring and why do people snore'?
Snoring is basically the sound generated during sleep due to vibrations in the upper respiratory airway. People snore for various reasons and these could include:
Excess throat tissue: This is the case in overweight people. Fat accumulates in various parts of the body including the throat. This may also be seen in cases of enlarged tonsils and/or adenoids, more commonly seen in children.
Blocked nasal passage: This could be due to an allergy or cold or less frequently a structural problem with the nose.
Long uvula/soft palate: You know those dangly things at the back of your throat? In some people it hangs too low & may obstruct the airway.
Poor sleeping positions: The effect of gravity may sometimes tilt the tongue backwards when you sleep flat on your back, obstructing the airway.
Increasing age: As people age, the throat tends to narrow & there also might be decreased tone in the throat muscle.
Alcohol &smoking: These tend to cause muscle relaxation including muscles of the throat, leading to snoring.
Snoring can have both medical & medical consequences, obstructive sleep apnoea is one of them. It occurs when a person stops breathing due to partial or complete airway blockage during sleep. The Person usually recovers with a loud gasp. This complication is dangerous because it interferes with sleep and reduces flow of oxygen to vital organs.
Other problems include, difficulty in concentrating, irritability, poor performance at work due to poor sleep and sometimes strain in relationships.
Now that we've itemised the possible causes and complications of snoring, what can be done?
First and foremost, realise that snoring isn't intentional. If there's someone around you who snores, don't nag about it. Next step is to realise the cause and work on it.
- Overweight? Lose some weight.
- Alcohol? Stop taking alcoholic beverages close to bedtime.
- Nasal blockage? Get nasal decongestants.
- Enlarged tonsils/adenoids? These may require surgery.
Snoring can be helped, go ahead and take a step in the right direction today!
Dami Daniel is a Medical Doctor who considers herself a health missionary-educating people on health issues far and wide. Spunky & witty, there's always something up her sleeves including dodo, if she can help it.