Snoring is not unheard of. In fact, we’re certain you’re not the only person that does it! There are many causes for snoring, most of which are just theories. However, there is a scientific explanation for snoring. Before we get into the gist of it, we’d like to explain some things to you first. To answer the question of “Why do we snore?” we must first ask ourselves “What is snoring exactly?”
So what is snoring? Well, it all has to do with our airways. When we snore, the upper parts of our airway vibrates. This vibrating causes snoring. It’s not just our airways that can vibrate, by the way. Any part of the airway that doesn’t have any cartilage (the tongue, uvula, tonsils, etc.) can vibrate just like the airway can. If those parts couldn’t vibrate, we wouldn’t be able to talk! When we sleep, however, something different happens. Our muscles relax, thus the upper airway muscles relax too. This gives air more room in the airway space and that causes turbulence. This turbulence is what we call “snoring”.
Oddly, this question gets asked a lot. Not to worry though, snoring doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. It’s very common, though it can be a symptom and a sign that something bigger is happening in your body. You see, snoring can work the same a cough does to indicate you have the flu; if you snore it might be a sign of some condition of which snoring is a symptom. Take “obstructive sleep apnea” for example, a disorder that can be recognized by snoring, heavy breathing and gasping for breath during sleep. This disorder is caused by a decrease in oxygen levels during sleep and of which the sleeper has no control over. As a result of this, the sleeper wakes up and it “fixes” itself. This can lead to a restless sleep and can, when untreated, end up affecting a person’s life very negatively. Imagine never having any energy (as a result of obstructive sleep apnea)!
Studies show that there is a significant difference in the percentage of men that snore and the percentage of women that snore. One study from the Wisconsin Sleep Cohort Study surveyed 100 men and women and monitored their sleeping patterns and behavior for a couple nights. The results of this study? 44 Percent of men were snorers, whereas only 28 of women snored during their sleep. This survey also affirmed something we already had knowledge of; after the age of 65, it is more likely for both men and women to start snoring.
Snoring is completely natural, but we get that sometimes it might get on other people’s nerves. We’re talking about a partner, a roommate or friends at a sleepover. Fortunately, there are methods that will help you with your snoring issues. There are noninvasive devices that you “clip” onto your nose that are meant to open up the nasal passages and surgeries you can have to permanently fix your snoring problem. Something commonly sold to fix snoring are nasal strips. These strips look like Band-Aids and go on top of your nose. They lift and open the nasal passages.
Of course, there are also things that you can do yourself—without buying any products—to prevent snoring. Try sleeping on your side or semi-upright, for instance. This will open up your nasal passages naturally. If nothing else works for you, try making a drastic change in your lifestyle. Stop smoking, pick up exercising and lose weight. Avoid alcohol and drugs and finally get your allergies under control.
We’ve already established that sleep apnea is the number one cause for snoring, but there are also other things that might cause you or your partner to snore. Read through this list and see if any apply to your situation: