If you’re one of the millions of snorers in this country – or someone with a partner who snores – you know just how annoying and frustrating it can be. The question is, are you doing anything about it?
What’s Causing Your Snoring Problem?
The challenging thing about snoring is that there are many possible causes. It isn’t a condition where you’re able to immediately point to an issue and say, “Yep, that’s the problem.”
Snoring is typically present in older adults (those over the age of 40), though it is possible for young children and babies to snore. Men are also more likely to snore, up until menopause when women seem to catch up statistically.
Snoring is sometimes caused by blocked nasal passages, or by the narrowing of the muscles at the back of the throat. When the airway is partially blocked, tissue vibrates and causes the snoring sound that you and your partner hear.
You’re also more likely to snore if your mouth/throat is constructed in a certain way, or you’ve had an injury or trauma to your nose.
“Your uvula may be unusually long or your hard palate may be low and thick,” explains Mark Walton, a former snorer and founder of Snoring HQ. “Obese people tend to have less free space in the throat, and drinking alcohol allows your muscles to relax more deeply. Also, if your nose is blocked by allergies, polyps, a deviated septum or other abnormalities, you are likely to snore.”
Understanding the root cause of your snoring problem is helpful, but not always possible. It could be a combination of factors, but the most important thing is that you start focusing on a solution.
5 Reasons to Solve Your Snoring Problem
Snoring might seem like nothing more than a nuisance – and your partner may be the only one who notices – but it’s a very real problem that should be dealt with. In addition to being annoying, snoring carries with it some additional health risks and personal issues. These include:
1. Increased Risk of Stroke
According to an analysis of data collected in one sleep study, the intensity of snoring is directly related to the risk of carotid atherosclerosis – or the narrowing of the arteries in the neck as a result of fatty deposits (plaque) – which often leads to stroke.
In other words, this study shows that louder and longer snoring, particularly by those who experience sleep apnea, creates a much greater risk of stroke. This isn’t something you can afford to ignore.
2. Increased Risk of Heart Disease
In many cases, snoring is a sign that you suffer from sleep apnea. And if you suffer from sleep apnea, then it’s evident that you have an increased risk of certain cardiovascular issues, including heart disease. Researchers at Brigham and Women’s and a number of other institutions have been vigorously investigating this relationship for the past few years.
As Harvard Women’s Health Watch notes, “They’ve already discovered that continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP)—the gold-standard treatment for sleep apnea, which blows air into the airways to keep them open at night—improves blood pressure in people with sleep apnea who have existing heart disease.”
3. Greater Risk of Daytime Injury
One of the greatest risks of snoring, or sleep deprivation, is daytime sleepiness. While it might seem like more of a nuisance than anything else, daytime sleepiness commonly leads to injuries and accidents. Car accidents and workplace injuries are two of the biggest issues.
4. Relationship Issues
Snoring isn’t just a physical health issue. It can also have an impact on your emotional health, specifically as it pertains to relationship issues. When one or both partners snore, couples are often forced to sleep in separate rooms, which leads to a host of other problems.
“Sleeping apart can interfere with intimacy, sexual and emotional,” Dr. Michael J. Breus explains. “Couples may find themselves having sex less often when they’re regularly sleeping apart. Partners also may miss the physical closeness of sleeping together, and the emotional bond that it confers for many people.”
5. Self-Esteem Problems
Finally, thousands of snorers suffer from low self-esteem that’s directly tied to their sleeping issues. While the jokes are often innocent and playful, getting picked on by friends and family for years can make you hyperaware of your situation. In the dating world, a snoring problem can kill your confidence and make you hesitant to get close to anyone. The longer this goes on, the worse it seems to get.
Stop Putting it Off
A lot of people put off their snoring problem because they don’t want to deal with doctors and pursue treatment options that may or may not work, but it’s imperative that you deal with it as soon as possible.
You might be surprised by how easy it is to fix the issue. There are dozens of different snoring aids and gadgets on the market which have helped thousands of people discover what it looks like to get a restful, uninterrupted night of sleep.