We have all slept next to or near a snoring human being. Moral police, don’t cock your guns, allow me to explain myself. I don’t mean that we are all married and the person we chose as our lifetime partner gives us sleepless, troubled nights. No.
I have an aunt who snores away as soon as she lands on the bed. I used to excuse her as she works long hours but ostensibly, tiredness is not among the causes of this irritating sleep sound!
When we sleep, all the muscles in our bodies relax. That should not be surprising as the primary role of slumber in the first place is relaxation. To stay alive, we still need to be breathing.
The muscles around our throats relax, the tongue falls back blocking the airway thus making it narrower. When air goes in, the soft tissues near the airway vibrate due to increased pressure causing the noise; snoring.
The narrower the airway, the louder your snoring becomes. More often than not, snoring is associated with maleness. They are sometimes referred to as habitual snorers. Snoring isn’t anything to be proud of.
Statistically, more men tend to snore than women. This is reasoned by the structure of the gender anatomy. Females have smaller throats which the tongue completely block the airway leading them to wake up in the night rather than snore.
Additionally, the female hormones, that is estrogen and progesterone, provide a portion of protection against snorting and sleep apnea.
Their male counterparts generally have wider jaws. Their larynx is located lower leaving greater space in the back of the throat to propagate. Men have also been made pillows by their wives and girlfriends hence spend most of the nights on their backs.
Snoring can lower one’s esteem especially if they are taunted about it. We need to understand that no one wants to snore and that they do, is not their fault.
There are several causes of snoring :
As basic as it sounds, many people ignore sleeping on their sides and go ahead to do so on their backs which makes the tongue fall back further leading to a great deal of noise making in the night. Another culprit is sleeping with the head tilted down.
The older we become, the more the muscles in our bodies lose their tone. This makes the tissues in the throat flabby making older people more likely to snore, either gender.
Taking alcohol, sedatives or smoking before bed
These agents trouble the cavities and cause swelling of the neck area which leads to snoring as the airway is already narrowed. If one must engage these drugs, they are advised to do them long before bed, not immediately to.
Obesity and heavy meals before bed
Being overweight puts you at more risk of snoring anytime you close your eyes. There is more fatty tissues around the neck making the airway narrow. Many people with those extra kilos have difficulties in breathing too.
It has often been said that dinner should be the lightest meal of the day but do we care? We skip breakfast, dance around lunch and stuff ourselves in all manner of foods before bed leading to clogging. This ‘ultimate’ satisfaction can cause trouble for you. Dairy is also a bad choice as the final meal of the day.
Others include colds/flu when dry air is taken in leading to nasal congestion and having allergies that affect the airway.
Our bodies work during the night producing proteins that help in releasing stress, infections and inflammations. Snoring hinders the process and that is why some people claim to be tired in the morning.
Frequent snoring can cause sleep apnea or hypopnea, anxiety, depression, forcetfullness, lack of focus, sleepiness during the day and irritability. It can also cause a strain to those in relationships because of anger and inability to understand why you spoil their resting period.
Going untreated for the severe kind can cause hypertension, diabetes, stroke and even death.
It is a matter taken lightly but should be observed with utmost keenness as there are impacts to one’s health. The challenge comes in that, those who snore are rarely aware of it until notified by their partners or those sharing a room with them.
The people around you can play a significant role in helping you determine in which category your snoring lies. The worst thing you can do is dismiss them. While doing this, those trying to seek help for their loved ones should not make them the enemy.
For example, if one snores with a closed mouth then it signifies that it is the tongue causing the problem, open mouth, the throat tissues are at play, sleeping on the back means it is only a mild form but if it happens in all positions, then you have every reason to be alert as it extreme and requires treatment.
It is important to note that apart from the severe type that you have to seek treatment for, the others can be corrected by adjusting routine. Regular toning of the muscles by singing often (you don’t have to be a flawless singer), reciting a-e-i-o-u occasionally and drinking a lot of water can help.
It goes without saying that alcohol and smoking should be highly avoided, if you can’t do without them, take them way ahead of your bedtime.
Regular exercises to shed off weight as well as making lifestyle changes can go a long way in making you a snore-free human! It is as simple as ABC.
Happy noise-free sleeping!