Why Do We Snore?

Snoring seems to be a frequent topic of conversation in my home. My dad is a major snorer and could arguably wake a bear from hibernation with the decibels of some of his grunts whilst asleep.

So, what is snoring?

In simple terms, snoring occurs when air is unable to move freely throughout the nose and throat during sleep. When air flow in the nose and throat is constricted, the surrounding tissues vibrate, thus creating the infamous snoring sound.

I find it interesting that such a simple bodily function can be so powerful, but apparently persons who have a greater amount of tissue in their nose and throat are more likely to snore.

I guess the next question to ask would be: how do you prevent snoring?

Some of the recommended remedies for snoring that are applicable to persons who encounter minor or occasional snoring are:

  • Alternating sleeping positions
  • Losing weight
  • Abstaining from drinking alcohol
  • Opening the nasal passages (think of a hot, steamy shower)
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Changing pillows

If your snoring is more serious, you may have Obstructive Sleep Apnea, which occurs when the upper airway becomes blocked during sleep. When the airways become blocked, the diaphragm and chest muscles are forced to open the airway in order to allow air back into the lungs, often times causing a person to gasp loudly, snort or jerk in their sleep. Many persons who have OSA stop breathing entirely while sleeping.

Some symptoms of OSA include:

  • Fatigue throughout the day
  • Dry mouth in the morning
  • Sore throat in the morning
  • Headaches in the morning
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Depression
  • Irritability
  • Forgetfulness
  • Restlessness
  • Low sex drive
  • Snoring (seems obvious, I know)

If you think you may have Obstructive Sleep Apnea, it is best to consult your doctor and determine a plan of action. Sleep clinics are available for persons with this condition.

Snoring, while annoying, can be a sign of an underlying, more serious issue. If you are informed that you snore, try some of the at-home remedies in order to determine whether or not you should converse with your doctor about your snoring.

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