What Causes Snoring – Understand the possible physical, health and environmental influences that could be causing the condition
What causes snoring is a question posed by people across the globe. Snoring is a common affliction that can effect anybody and can be disruptive and stressful – often more so for those sleeping next to the snorer than the snorer themselves. As a result, millions are searching for a solution to a better, snore-free nights sleep, but to help eliminate the problem we must understand the cause. So what causes snoring?
The factors contributing to snoring are numerous and can range between the environmental, physical and medical. The physical attributes that can cause snoring are plentiful and common. Snoring is generally the result of narrowing of the airways – meaning breathing becomes more forced – and the relaxing of muscles or excess of tissue in the throat, which leads to more vibrations and therefore louder snoring. As the body ages, the muscle tone around this area naturally deteriorates and the passages constrict, meaning snoring becomes more common in later years.
There are many physical features of the mouth, throat and nose that can increase the chance of snoring, for example an elongated soft palate or enlarged adenoids can provide this excess of tissue, and a deviated nasal septum can obstruct the flow. The way you sleep can also be problematic. Those that sleep on their back and breathe through their mouths create a deeper airflow and push the tongue nearer the airway, allowing for a greater chance of them developing snoring than people who breath through their nose or lie on their side.
Of course many sufferers will say that they cannot help it, that their snoring is simply hereditary. There is some truth to this claim. Genetics really could be the answer to what causes snoring. Physical features such as a cleft palate can be passed on, increasing the likelihood of snoring, and men are born with narrower airways than women so have a greater chance of becoming snorers. A study at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital showed that there are other genetic signs that can indicate whether or not a child will become a snorer. They found that African-American children were three times more likely to develop the condition, and that it also became more frequent in those tested positive for Atopy. This is a kind of hypersensitivity that can lead to allergies and asthma.
With this in mind the next area to consider in what causes snoring is the current health of the snorer, and under underlying issues that may be contributing to the condition and enhancing the negative physical causes. People with asthma and allergies such as hay-fever are more commonly snorers, which gives weight to the Cincinnati study’s findings. This is because of the constriction and blockages associated with the conditions. Diabetes and Thyroid issues are also said to have links to the affliction, and there is of course the danger that the snoring could be a result of something more dangerous like Sleep Apnea, however it could also simply be due to colds and viral infections that lead to a build up of mucus.
Environmental influences include lifestyle and substances ingested before sleep. If you are overweight and living in an area with a high level of air-pollution then you have a much greater chance of developing the habit. This is because of the poor condition of the air you are breathing and the build up of fatty tissue around the throat that can constrict the airway. Drinking alcohol or smoking before bed is also a cause, due to the negative impact on the air passages and the effect of the drink as a muscle relaxant. Another factor to consider is the use of sleeping pills. They may help you get to sleep more easily but they do so by relaxing the muscles, so their effect on snoring could be just as bad as alcohol.
Causes of snoring are varied and wide-ranging. If you are lucky the condition is just a temporary side-effect of an illness or due to posture or environmental factors and easily fixed, but if you are unlucky it could be an the fault of a genetic defect that you are stuck with. Either way, hopefully with this guide you are closer to answer the question of what causes snoring for you or the one you love.