Understanding Snoring and Its Causes
The vibrational noise most commonly associated with snoring is a result of strained breathing at night. Somewhere in your airflow is an obstruction, which can occur for a variety of reasons. Sometimes, it’s just allergies and your snoring will subside once your allergies have been treated or go away naturally. Other times, it’s the direct result of obstructive sleep apnea, which is a diagnosable sleep disorder. Some of the most common causes include the following:
Narrowed Nasal Passages
When your nasal passages are narrowed by nasal polyps, a deviated septum, or clogging due to illness or allergies, airflow can be obstructed. This will cause your body to compensate and force your diaphragm and chest to work overtime to increase your airflow. This is what causes snoring at night and can often result in the individual suddenly jerking awake.
Often, your nasal passages are easily cleared with a nasal spray or even just over time if it’s a result of allergies or illness. When they are narrow due to a physical condition, such as a deviated septum or nasal valve collapse, you may require surgery to help remove the anatomical blockage. Typically, when this passageway has been cleared of any obstructions and corrected to its usual size, the snoring will stop and regular breathing and sleeping will commence.
Enlarged or Excess Tissue
Occasionally, snoring may be a result of a genetic factor, such as enlarged or excess tissue. For those with naturally excessive tissue around their airways, such as a long uvula or soft palate, your passageway may naturally be narrower, causing blockage.
Similarly, enlarged tonsils or bulky tissue around the throat can result in snoring and trouble breathing.
Lack of Muscle Tone
A lack of muscle tone can cause your throat and the surrounding tongue muscles to become too relaxed while you sleep. If this happens, the muscles can collapse, fall back toward your airway, and cause an obstruction. This condition is more likely to occur in patients who take sedatives such as sleeping pills or consume excessive amounts of alcohol.