Snoring: the causes, consequences and solutions.
Did you know that 1 in 5 men and 1 in 10 women snore? Snoring is an annoying problem for the person who snores and the bed partner. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the causes, the consequences and the different solutions. We’d also like to draw your attention to some snoring aids that can help you stop snoring.
What is snoring?
People who snore produce grumbling (or snorting) sounds during sleep. These sounds are louder than 40 decibels and can reach 90 decibels, the volume of a chainsaw. The sound level and the specific sound is different for everyone. Snoring usually starts between the ages of 30 and 40, but it also occurs in children. Snoring sounds usually increase as we get older. In some cases, snoring is hereditary. Furthermore, it can be temporary or chronic.
During inhalation, air enters through the nose, throat and trachea, before reaching the lungs. When you sleep, your neck muscles are relaxed. Sometimes, less air goes to the lungs. The vocal cords are located at the beginning of the trachea. Is there less space in your throat or nose (a narrowing)? Then the air quickly passes through the vocal cords. This causes snoring when you inhale and exhale. The snoring sounds are caused by vibrating mucous membranes in the throat.
The causes of snoring…
Snoring can have one or more causes. Below are the most common:
- Sleeping on your back: when you sleep on your back, the tongue will fall back due to gravity. As a result, your airways will narrow.
- Overweight: when you’re overweight, you have more fat mass at the throat. More pressure is exerted on the airways and the diameter of the airways becomes smaller. It is estimated that 85% of snorers are overweight.
- Tongue: when the muscles of your tongue fall into your throat and block the respiratory tract, it’s called ‘tongue snoring’.
- Hormonal causes: during pregnancy and menopause, there is an increased risk of snoring.
- Long or floppy palate
- Long or floppy uvula
- Enlarged tonsils: snoring in children is often caused by enlarged tonsils.
- Weakened muscles in the pharynx: alcohol in particular causes the muscles in your pharynx to relax. This can also be the case with sleeping pills.
- Irritated nose and throat: smoke from cigarettes can irritate and even inflame the mucous membranes in the nose and throat. Due to the narrowing that this creates, you’re more likely to snore.
- Stuffy nose: if your nasal cavity is blocked or too narrow, you may experience snoring. A nasal spray can help if you have a cold. However, a narrowed or congested nose can also be caused by polyps.
Only a doctor can confirm why you snore.
Video "Why do we snore?" (source: ResMed)
… and the consequences
The consequences of snoring are diverse and have an impact on your quality of life – in the short and long term. The following consequences are common:
- Waking up at night and having a disturbed sleep
- Chronic sleep deprivation (long term)
- Sleep less deeply
- Night sweats
- Being tired during the day and having trouble concentrating
- Bad mood
- Loss of libido
- Increased risk of cardiovascular disease (with chronic snoring)
- Relationship problems
Snoring is usually discovered by the bed partner. The snoring sound is very annoying for the partner and can disrupt the night's sleep. In some cases, this will lead to relationship problems.
Sleeping on your back and snoring
When you sleep on your back, the tongue falls back into the pharynx. This narrows your airways, and the air you breathe gets resistance. As a result, your pharynx will start vibrating and you’ll start snoring. There are several solutions for back sleepers who snore. One is the use of an anti-snoring belt that comes with a device with a sensor. The anti-snoring belt helps you to sleep on your side.
Difference snoring and sleep apnea
1 in 3 men and 1 in 5 women who snore could also be suffering from sleep apnea. Snoring can be a symptom of this. When you suffer from sleep apnea, your breathing stops during your sleep. Since there’s no more air flowing to the lungs, the oxygen level in your blood drops and you wake up suddenly. People with sleep apnea often feel very sleepy during the day. A sleep study can help with diagnosing sleep apnea.
Stop snoring: tips
You can change your lifestyle yourself if you’d like to reduce snoring. The tips below can help you:
- No more sleeping on your back: if you sleep on your side, your tongue can’t ‘fall’ back. An anti-snoring belt helps you to sleep on your side.
- Stick to a sleep schedule: going to bed and waking up at the same time every day
- Eat healthier and lose weight (if you're overweight)
- Move more
- Stop using sleeping pills (in case you use them)
- Don’t consume alcohol, especially in the evening
- Don’t drink coffee in the evening
- Don’t eat too much in the last few hours before going to sleep
- Quit smoking
The best solution to your problem depends on the cause of the snoring. That’s why we recommend you to contact your doctor. You may need to use anti-snoring aids to stop or reduce snoring.
Fortunately, there are several snoring solutions. We’d like to introduce you to the anti-snoring belt and the chin strap.
Anti-snoring belt (positional sleep apnea device)
When you sleep on your back, the back of the throat ‘falls’ back, and you’ll be more likely to snore. Are you a back sleeper who snores? In that case, an anti-snoring belt can help you sleep on your side. This belt, which you put around your chest or hip, comes with a device with a sensor. The device produces vibrations when you turn on your back. Optionally, you can attach the device to your underwear or pyjamas. We recommend the anti-snoring belt from the Swiss brand OSCIMED.
In general, you’re more likely to snore if you breathe through your mouth. Do you snore because you sleep with your mouth open? In that case, a chin strap can help you. The Best in Rest chin strap is adjustable and has a comfortable fit. The chin strap supports the jaw and keeps your mouth closed so that you start breathing through your nose. Optionally, you can combine the chin strap with a nasal CPAP mask (if you use a CPAP machine).
Wearing a MRA (mandibular repositioning device) or undergoing surgery is an option in some cases.
Anti-snoring aids will help you reduce or stop snoring. A better sleep quality is the main goal!
Always contact a doctor or specialist if you have any questions about your health. We can’t give you medical advice. Do you have any questions about one of our products? Feel free to contact us.