Why Do People Snore?
Before we delve into discussing solutions to snoring, it is fitting to begin with a short synopsis of why people snore in the first place.
While you are asleep, the airways in your head and neck relax and become narrow. Snoring happens when air can’t move freely through your nose and throat while you are asleep. The soft tissues then begin to vibrate and create the snoring noise as the air struggles to pass through.
There are several causes to this happening. Here are a few:
- Age. As you age, particularly once you reach middle age, your throat becomes more narrow than it used to be and the muscles in your throat weaken.
- Biology. Air passages in men are narrower than those in women. Other biological factors can include a cleft palate, enlarged adenoids, and a particularly narrow throat.
- Health. You may have noticed that your partner snores worse when he is sick. Nasal and sinus problems can both further block air from passing freely. Additionally, extra fatty tissue or poor muscle tone can also contribute. Staying healthy and in shape can greater lessen snoring severity.
- Sleep position. Sleeping flat on your back can also cause the flesh of your throat to relax and block the airway.
- Smoking, alcohol, and medications. Tranquilizers such as Ativan and Valium can cause your throat muscles to relax just as they do to other muscles in your body. Drinking and smoking can also aggravate the problem.
While some of these factors are genetic, many can be tempered through healthy lifestyle choices and a little help from a (patient!) partner.