What is snoring?
Snoring is a medical condition where a person produces a snorting or a vibrating noise when they breathe while sleeping. This is one of the most common medical conditions among people of all ages and genders. The sound of snoring occurs from the soft palate and the tissue inside the mouth, vibration of the throat and inside the nose. Snoring mostly occurs in men and people who are slightly overweight and according to the medical experts, it gets worse with age. Even though occasional snoring is not really critical and is more of annoying to the person’s bed partner. Yet, if a person snores regularly during sleep, not only it interrupts the sleep of his or her bed partner but it also hinders the sleep of the person who snores.
While you are sleeping, the muscle inside your throat slackens which leads to your tongue falling towards the back of the throat. This causes your throat to become tapper and relaxed. While you are breathing during sleep, the inner walls of the throat vibrate when you breathe in and when breath out, it vibrates at a lesser extent. Snoring occurs due to these vibrations in the throat. As the path of the airway becomes narrow, the vibration increases and leads to a louder snoring. It can be seen at times that, the walls of the throat sag such that it is completely obstructed. This causes a serious medical condition known as apnea which is a cessation of breathing.
What causes snoring?
Snoring is caused due to various factors of our body health. It occurs due to obstruction of the flow of air from both the mouth and nose. Some of the factors that prevent air flow into the body are:
Poor deficiency of muscle in the throat and tongue
If the muscles of the throat and tongue slacken too much then it causes both the throat and the tongue to obstruct the flow of air through the mouth and nose. This occurs due to sleeping deeply, consumption of sleeping pills and drinking too much alcohol. Many people also suffer from various other health problems such as Restless Legs Syndrome, narcolepsy, sleep apnea and much more.
Obstruction of flow of air through the nose
At times, people snore when they suffer from allergy or if they have a sinus infection. Sinus infection or also known as sinusitis causes inflammation in the tissue lining of the sinuses. The sinuses get blocked and filled with fluids which in turn lets microorganisms grow in the nose and eventually causes an infection. People often suffer from sinus infection when the nose swells from a common cold, the drainage ducts gets blocked, the person is suffering from immune system deficiency, allergies and much more. Along with that, the nasal airways stops the flow of air when you have a deformed nose such as deviated septum. It is a nasal condition where bone and the cartridge that partitions the nose is slightly crooked which leads to difficulty in breathing. Nasal polyps also block the airway. It is in shape of a teardrop that is formed either in the nose or in the sinuses. Sometimes it is small, which do not really require any treatment, but if the nasal polyps are large, it blocks the drainage path through the sinuses.
Large tissue in the throat
If you are overweight and have a large throat tissue that it can cause you to snore when you sleep. Having a collar size more than 15 inches or more, then you do not have sufficient airway path in order allow a regular breathing when you sleep. A narrow path of airway causes you to snore. When people over the age of 45 begin to put on weight, in the case of men, they mostly tend to put on weight around the neck and waist while women put on weight around thighs and waist. In this way, fatty tissue in the body builds on more pressure and eventually block the path of air flow.
Soft palate or uvula
The soft palate enables you to breathe and swallow food. It is a muscle adjunction of the roof of the mouth, which actually a hard palate. The soft palate detaches the oropharynx at the back of the mouth from the nasopharynx or the nasal passages. If the palate is long, then it limits the passage from the nose into the throat, causing you to snore when you sleep at night. Along with that, if the uvula which is small tissue which hangs at the back of your mouth in the throat is longer than usual, then it causes problems in breathing.
Symptoms during snoring
Deep sleep during the day
Sometimes if your nighttime’s sleep disrupts, then in order to make for that, you sleep in the day. But having a deep daytime sleep is bad for your health. According to various medical experts, deep sleep during the day makes you feel miserable and unhappy. You feel very lazy and you go through various health conditions such as snoring, low blood pressure, and much more. Our body tells us to sleep when the nerve cells in the brain discharges and the chemicals in our body cause fatigue and tiredness which in turn begins to circulate in the blood.
A sore throat
Often you have a sore throat when you have a common cold or flu. But if you notice that you are suffering from a sore throat every day, this you suffering from a health condition. More than 30 percent people who suffer from a regular sore throat also snore while sleeping. A sore throat causes difficulty in breathing and that is when you opt for the best alternative, breathing from your mouth. But one of the disadvantages of breathing through your mouth is that it does not have any blockage system for dust particles that flow in with the air. This causes your throat to become really dry and sorer. When the air flows through the mouth, it causes the tissues in the throat to vibrate which causes snoring.
If you are suffering from gastroesophageal reflux disease, then you also snore while you sleep at night. The gastroesophageal reflux disease also causes mild chest pains which can take a serious turn. Along with chest pains, the disease also causes sinusitis, sore throat, and cough. Sometimes people also confuse these chest pains with heart stroke. In order to decrease these chest pains and snoring, you need to have a balanced diet. You must intake food recommended by the doctor and at the designated times.
If you wake up every day with headaches and you also snore while sleeping, then you may suffer from a sleep disorder. Even though a headache is one of the most common pain syndromes yet, the pain changes the activities in the blood vessels and in the muscles of your body. The brain, eyes, coating of the skull, nasal and sinus and ears, these all are quite sensitive to pain. Morning headaches occur when the brains fail to detect the flow of air from the muscles in order to breathe. Often, a person suffering from breathing problems do not receive enough oxygen and in turn, carbon dioxide increases in the blood stream. In this way, it affects both the blood flow and the nervous system of the body which leads to headaches.
Grades of Snoring
Various medical experts and doctors have developed a grading system in order to evaluate the intensity of a person’s snoring while he or she is sleeping. There are three grades of snoring which includes:
Also known as simple snoring, where the person does not snore frequently and also not very loudly. The person is able to breathe regularly and normally. He or she has no serious health hazards due to snoring. The only disadvantage is that it will cause hindrance to the person sleeping next to him or her. It may also lead to personal problems or disagreements which can be solved coming to terms with a mutual agreement.
In the case of grade two, the person suffers from snoring at least four to five days in a week. This happens due to too much stress, tension, tiredness, fatigue and daytime sleepiness. Fatigue causes breathing problems during sleep and it also causes frequent disruptions while you are sleeping at night. During sleep, the muscles tighten which blocks the flow of air into the body and it also causes strain to the heart. It could also lead you to cause other diseases which include anemia, diabetes and much more.
Grade three snoring is very loud which can also be heard from outside the bedroom. Often, people who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea experience grade three snoring. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when something partially or completely blocks the upper path for air flow while you are sleeping. It causes pressure on the diaphragm and the muscles of your chest so that it can open the path of air flow which is blocked and pull the air into the lungs. During sleep, you often suffer from breathing problems as when it gets irregular, you either jerk your body, give out a loud gasp or you snort. Obstructive sleep apnea also decreases the flow oxygen into the body, which in turn increases the level of carbon dioxide in the blood and causes uneven heart rhythms. Some of the symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea are sweating during the night, restlessness while sleeping, serious headaches when you wake up in the morning, fatigue, forgetfulness, and much more.
Psychological and Social effects of snoring
Not only snoring affects you when you sleep during the night, but also your bed partner. Snoring can often strain relationships and marriages. Along with it being an exhausting experience, it also causes anger and resentment between the two partners. It can also hamper both sexual and emotional relationship between the two people, leading them to sleep in two separate rooms. Snoring disrupts the quality and the quantity of sleep for you and also for your bed partner. Due to lack of sleep, a person can become very irritable and cranky. It also decreases the ability to think properly, the person cannot make decisions or concentrate even on minor topics clearly.
According to various medical experts and researchers, lack of sleep causes less grateful towards one another. Snoring can become the primary reason of break up between to people. While you may feel guilty and ashamed because of your snoring and on the other hand, your partner may grow resentment towards due to lack of sleep. These feelings can cause two people to become isolated. While many couples come to a mutual agreement in the case of sleeping arrangements but if matters take an ugly turn, you can also go and visit a doctor for treatment.
Is snoring dangerous?
Even though mild snoring does not cause any serious health hazard, but if a person suffers from grade three snoring, he or she is suffering from major sleeping problems and can lead to various diseases. If you are a very loud snorer and also suffer from breathing problems when you sleep during the night, it can lead you to cause heart diseases because obstructive sleep apnea causes your blood pressure to increase and also causes coronary artery disease which can lead to possible heart attacks. Other diseases snoring can cause are an arrhythmia, gastroesophageal reflux disease, for pregnant women it can cause complications in the fetal, nocturia and much more.
When to seek medical advice?
While mild snoring is not hazardous, but if you are experiencing the following symptoms, then it’s time for you to visit a doctor:
- Not being able to concentrate
- Feeling restless all the time
- Waking up in the morning with a bad headache
- Having breathing problems when you sleep at night
- Being frustrated and irritated due to lack of sleep