Have you ever experienced the dilemma of sharing your bed with someone who snores loud? We are sure you have or at least have heard the horror stories of someone close.
According to the 2016 Sleep Health Survey of Australian Adults, as many as 24 percent of men and 17 percent of women report frequent loud snoring. The situation no doubt disturbs your quality of life.
But what causes you to snore? Almost no one snores deliberately. Snoring can be the result of a bad sleeping posture or it could be the consequence of some serious health condition.
What This Article Is All About?
Let’s dig deeper into the common causes of snoring and some common tips for you to have a peaceful night’s sleep.
Let’s get to it.
What Happens When You Snore?
Snoring is the result of muscle relaxation that occurs in your mouth, tongue, and the back of your throat. Well, muscle relaxation is not exactly the issue here because it’s a work of nature and happens to the best of us.
It all starts when your muscles relax to an unhealthy extent. When that happens, your upper airway partially closes and becomes a bit too narrow to regulate the healthy circulation of air. It eventually affects the quality of airflow and causes an increase in vibration of the soft structures in your mouth and throat (like tongue and soft palate) and makes you snore.
Do You Snore? Here’s why! – Common Causes of Snoring
You are not alone if you and your partner get into daily arguments over your snoring habits. Don’t know what is making you snore so loud?
10 Questions You Ask Yourself If You Snore
Here are all the questions you should ask yourself to figure out the right reason behind your loud snores.
# 1: Does Your Age Fall on the Older Side?
Aging and snoring are closely related. This is why you notice men and women in their 60’s snore more than the younger lot. There are quite a few reasons behind this phenomenon and the major ones are mentioned below. According to the sleep specialist Rafael Pelayo following factors make you snore more as you age:
Throat and tongue muscles tend to relax more as you age. This causes you to snore more during sleep. You lose a lot of your muscle volume and strength as you age.
It is quite natural to gain weight as you get older. Gaining weight around neck and face affects the structure of muscles and kick starts your snoring journey.
Menopause and Hormonal Changes
In the case of women, menopause and hormonal changes also have a lot to do with snoring. Hormonal conditions are somewhat linked to weight gain and later snoring.
As you hit menopause, the amount of estrogen in your body reduces significantly. It causes your muscles to become lax. Moreover, your metabolism slows down as you start to gain more weight, especially around the neck area.
These factors compound and make you snore more as you age.
# 2: Do You Sleep on Your Back?
Believe it or not but the sleeping angle that you think gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling might be the real culprit behind your snoring habits.
Sleeping on your back as all the ability to make you snore and it is highly discouraged by sleep specialists.
This is what happens when you sleep on your back.
- Your mouth falls open and jaw recedes. As a result, the upper airway gets compressed.
- Your tongue falls backward.
- The upper airway takes an oval shape.
All of this eventually disturbs the natural flow of air and compresses your airways resulting in you snore loudly.
Pro Tip: Sleeping on your side not only reduces the intensity of your snoring but also the time you spend snoring during the night.
# 3: Are You a Chain Smoker?
Chain smokers are also more likely to be affected by the curse of snoring.
Why? You may ask.
Because by smoking you end up irritating the membranes in your throat and nose and eventually blocks the airways. The mucosal membranes get dry and resonate as the air passes through them.
Quitting smoking is certainly in your best interest. Not only will it control your snoring habit but will improve your overall health as well.
# 4: How Often Do You Consume Alcohol?
Drinking a glass of premium alcohol is all fun and games until you start experiencing ups and downs in your sleeping patterns and overall health.
Are you aware that alcohol consumption is among the most common cause of snoring?
Alcoholic drinks tend to have a sedating effect which ends up relaxing your muscles located around your throat and airway to an abnormal extent while you are asleep. It results in vibration of the soft structures in your mouth and eventually snoring.
The best thing you can do is cut back on your drinking habit. You can continue to drink socially but try to avoid drinking alcoholic beverage, especially around the bed time.
Fact: Did you know drinking alcohol makes you snore even if you consume it at least six hours before your bedtime?
# 5: Do You Have Any Allergies or ENT Conditions?
Any allergic condition that keeps you from breathing normally through the nose eventually causes snoring. You are more likely to snore if are you going through a normal seasonal flu or suffering from long-term ENT conditions, such as:
- Enlarged or swollen adenoids
- Enlarged or swollen tonsils
- Congestion in sinuses
- Enlarged nasal septum and glands
Apart from that, asthma patients are also likely to snore during the night because they do not breathe through the nose.
# 6: Are You Taking Any Medications?
This one comes off as a surprise for many that medications and drugs that you use to regulate your sleep cycle tend to induce snoring.
Here are some of the common categories of medication that promote snoring.
- Muscle relaxants
- Mood Elevators
Most medications from these categories tend to relax your muscles to an unusual extent while you are asleep. However, it is important to realize that not every medication does that. It depends on the intensity, dosage, and formula of the drug. Any medicine with intense sedative effects is likely to make you snore.
If you are using any of the drugs in the above mentioned list, you should discuss with your doctor as it might be your reason behind snoring.
# 7: Are You Expecting a Baby?
One thing is for sure that pregnancy hormones are crazy. Not only do they make you crave foods which have you never liked before but also cause snoring even if you haven’t ever snored before you conceived.
Your hormones during pregnancy make the mucous membranes swell due to which you end up breathing through your mouth. Estrogen is the main culprit hormone.
Weight gain during pregnancy is also to be blamed for causing this dilemma. It builds excess tissue around your neck and head and this causes snoring.
# 8: Is Your Body Mass Index Above Normal?
Being overweight is one of the most common causes of snoring. Yes, high BMI or excess weight can affect you to this extent and here’s why!
- Being overweight disturbs the normal muscle tone.
- There’s excess tissue around your neck causing you to snore due to blocked airways.
Just a couple of years back, the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ National Health Survey found out that as many as 67 percent of Australian adults were obese. The percentage is alarming and there’s no denying it.
Research at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Australia discovered a profound connection between body weight and snoring. They discovered that snoring was extremely prevalent amongst men with central obesity (fat accumulation around their torso and neck).
Around 28 percent of the men who snored were found to be obese (BMI>30) and another 47 percent were overweight (BMI between 26 and 30).
For this reason, it is important to figure out the causes of obesity and making efforts to align your weight with your height.
# 9: Do People in Your Family Snore?
Pause for now and think about older relatives in your immediate, maternal, and paternal family who are known for making loud nighttime noises.
So how many are they?
If the number is on the higher side then probably snoring runs in the family. Certain factors contribute to snoring which is transferred on to you by your parents or forefathers such as:
- Narrow Airways
- Excess Weight
- Blood Markers
# 10: Are You Getting Right Amount of Sleep?
A healthy adult should get seven to eight hours of sleep.
Are you getting these numbers?
If not then it is quite likely that you would snore. When you get the right amount of sleep, your body gets tired, which includes the muscles of your mouth and breathing. Moreover, it can also make you prone to breathe from your mouth instead of your nose.
Make sure you get the right amount of sleep. Also, focus on the quality of sleep as well.
What is the Most Likely Cause of Snoring for Australians?
Centre for Sleep and Chronobiology, University of Sydney carried out a large population based study to find out the cause of snoring among Australians.
The study included a total of 100,000 participants with different demographic factors.
The most consistent finding was the snoring and body weight. More than 90 percent of the participants who snored were found to be obese or overweight.
It can be said with confidence that metabolic syndrome, characterized by high blood sugar, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high body is the most common cause of snoring among Australians.
Top 5 Shocking Health Risks Linked to Snoring
# 1: Obesity
As previously discussed weight and snoring have a deep link. And unfortunately, a better part of Australia is affected by the obesity epidemic. Not many people realize this but obesity is by far one of the biggest contributors to snoring in most adults around the world.
They say snoring can cause obesity and obesity can cause snoring. Now, this is something to think about seriously because it’s a two-way connection. It certainly is a vicious cycle and becomes even more vicious because sleep apnea gets added to the list when you are overweight.
To be precise, here’s how obesity makes your snoring worse than it is.
- Upper airways are directly compressed due to excess neck fat.
- Upper airways are indirectly compressed due to mid-riff fat.
If you are not obese already then keep in mind that snoring will make you put on unnecessary weight. Your diet and sleeping habits are likely to change as snoring tends to cause sleep deprivation. The lack of energy brought by sleep deprivation is covered by eating more than usual and the rest becomes history.
# 2: Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
Loud snoring that makes you feel exhausted during the day is most likely to be caused by obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
OSA is a condition whereby the sufferer goes through pauses in breathing while they are asleep. It is a potentially serious health risk that paves the path for many other diseases including hypertension and cardiovascular health issues.
It is a rather common problem. Studies have shown that 25 percent of men and 9 percent of women in Australia suffer from OSA.
Here are the most common symptoms of OSA in adults.
- Loud snoring
- Restless during the day
- Broken sleep
- Waking up with a choking sensation
- Headache and sore throat in the morning
- Changes in moods
- Decreased sex drive
If you think you have sleep apnea especially if you are overweight then do not delay your visit to the doctor at any cost. Sleep apnea needs to be managed to protect yourself from other serious health conditions.
# 3: Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes and snoring are somehow related. Well, even sleep apnea is connected to the two issues mentioned in the previous statement. Individuals who suffer from sleep apnea are more likely to be affected by abnormal blood sugar levels. Stats show that OSA victims are nine times more likely to suffer from Type 2 diabetes.
Not only this but high glucose also adversely affects your cardiovascular health. Medical practitioners say that abnormal sugar levels eventually damage the nerves linked to your heart functions and also your blood vessels.
So think again before you head off to buy a second slice of cake!
# 4: Cardiovascular Problems
The snoring problem you have now can damage your cardiovascular health in the future. This is somehow more prevalent in women. As discussed above, in most cases snoring is most likely to be the result of OSA. To your surprise, there is quite a close connection between OSA and cardiovascular health.
Individuals suffering from sleep apnea are more likely to fall victim to high blood pressure, also commonly known as hypertension. Abnormally high blood pressure is a serious risk for your heart health.
The reason is simple!
High blood pressure requires the heart to work harder to pump blood. So, it is extra exertion for your heart and causes the left ventricle to lose its original shape.
It is also important to note that sleep apnea disrupts the natural rhythm of the heart. Usually, people suffering from irregular or abnormal heartbeats which increases the risk of heart attacks.
# 5: Nasal or Sinus Problems
If you recall, you might have experienced a different sleep pattern during the days your nasal passages were blocked. This is because you were unable to breathe through the nose for obvious reasons and slept with your mouth open to breathe. The swelling congestion in the nasal passages really disturbs your sleep pattern due to irritation and snoring further adds to the problem.
Moreover, people with swollen adenoids, glands, or tonsils are also victims of snoring. The best way to manage to snore caused by nasal and sinus problems is to:
- Avoid foods that trigger sinusitis.
- Do not drink cold beverages around your bedtime.
- Blow out your nose before you go to sleep.
over the counter pills prescribed by your doctor
Note: Do not take any sedative as it will worsen the problem.
Snoring Diagnosis & Treatment in Australia
There are quite a lot of organizations in Australia that are rigorously working towards improving sleep health in children and adults.
We have discussed a few major ones below.
Sydney Sleep Center
It’s a platform designed to tackle all kinds of issues related to sleep. Whether you have snoring issues or have chronic insomnia, Sydney Sleep Center has appropriate and effective solutions for a sleep crisis.
The organization caters to all age groups and has a variety of treatments available with them to cure different types of treatment. The sleep and respiratory physicians here are well-trained with hands-on experience in the sleep health industry.
Here are all the services provided by Sleep Center Sydney.
- Home Diagnostic Services
- Laboratory Sleep Studies
- Weight Loss Clinic
- CPAP Services
- Dental Services
- Insomnia Clinic
- Online Insomnia CBT Program
It deals in the following categories of sleep-related problems.
- Obstructive Sleep Apnea
- Sleep-related Movement Disorders
- Central Disorders of Hypersomnolence
- Sleep-wake Disorders
You can book an appointment through their official website.
It is among the most prominent sleep centers in Australia and has been around for two decades now. The sleep clinics by SNORE Australia are located in different parts of the country and are highly accessible for those looking for high-quality sleep diagnosis and treatment. By choosing the service, you can get a comprehensive medical checkup done for snoring or any other sleep disorder you have or even if you think you have.
The organization uses diagnostic polysomnograms to diagnose snoring and many other sleep-related disorders and illnesses. The team makes sure to make the diagnosis and the rest of the treatment as accurate as possible. Moreover, the clinical consultations with sleep specialists are detailed enough to get the right treatment at the right time. Visit their website to learn more.
If you are in search of any treatment products for your sleep-related issues then this is where you go. CPAP Australia is one of the successful suppliers of treatment and diagnostic products for snoring and a variety of other sleep-related illnesses. The platform has been serving the leading laboratories, researchers, sports teams, etc. for quite some time now.
Their products include:
- CPAP Masks
- CPAP Machines
- CPAP Accessories
- Light Therapy
- Nasal and Mouth Care
- Oxygen Supplies
- Nebulizers and Compressors
For Snoring, they provide the following:
- Side Sleeping Aids
- Provent Therapy
- Theravent Therapy
Visit their website to know more details and order the treatment products.
5 FAQs about Snoring
#1: Does Snoring Disturb Your Sleep?
Regularly snoring at night does not only affect your quality of sleeping but also disrupts the sleep of those who share the room with you. It gets worse as you age or if you have other health risks associated with snoring. Individuals who snore and have OSA are likely to experience a night of restless sleep and feel fatigued once they wake up.
#2 Does Snoring Pose Serious Health Risk?
It depends to what extent you are being affected by snoring. If it disrupts your sleep and makes you feel tired during the day then yes, it can pose serious health risks. In most cases, it is linked to sleep apnea which is serious as it opens doors for many more diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and even heart conditions.
#3 Do I have Normal Snoring or OSA?
If you think you have these symptoms then you are probably under the spell of OSA.
- Loud snoring and sometimes with choking sounds
- Sore throat and headaches in the morning
- Feeling dizzy during the day
- Poor concentration levels
- Frequent mood swings
#4 How Can I Prevent Snoring?
If your snoring is not as serious then some simple tips might help otherwise better to get proper medical care from trusted sleep centers.
|Remedies and Non-medical Tips||Medical Tips|
|Manage Weight||Medications Prescribed by your Doctor|
|Sleep on Your Side||CPAP|
|Avoid Alcohol||Wear Platal Implants|
|Avoid Smoking||Oral Appliances for Snoring|
|Avoid Sedatives||Surgeries (in extreme cases)|
|Avoid Eating Anything that Triggers Your Allergies|
|Elevate the Head of Your Bed|
Note: It is ideal to get yourself assessed and then take relevant actions to cure snoring. Self-diagnosis and self-treatment are discouraged to avoid unfortunate incidents.
#5 Are there any treatments for chronic snoring?
Yes! You can always visit a sleep specialist or a sleep center and have a comprehensive consultation done. The doctor will guide you according to the nature of your problem and what precautionary measures can be taken to prevent the situation from taking a serious turn.
If we take a glance at the information given above, it wouldn’t be wrong to say that snoring is a prevalent condition and needs attention as it poses serious health risks in many cases.
In Australia, you can always contact the organizations we have listed above. Also, don’t forget to observe your symptoms regularly so that the right cause can be identified and the right treatment can be taken well on time.
For a quick takeaway, here are some of the common causes of snoring in men and women:
- Sleeping Style
- Alcohol Consumption
- Allergies and ENT Conditions
- Abnormal Body Mass Index
Should you require more information about snoring – browse our website.
Dr. Muhammad Usman is a Doctor, Nutritionist, Wellness Coach and a Researcher with a deep insight into all aspects of writing related to health and science.