Do you snore, or does your partner and it’s keeping you awake at night? Snoring isn’t just annoying but is a sign you’re having difficulty breathing. There are a lot of possible reasons for snoring, but the best way to deal with it is by understanding how you breathe and why snoring occurs.
How You Breathe
You breathing begins at your mouth and nose as you inhale the air. The air goes down your throat and into the trachea or windpipe. The trachea is divided into the bronchial tubes or air passages. For your lungs to function properly the airways have to be open while you’re exhaling and inhaling, and to avoid breathing problems your airways need to be free from excess mucus, swelling or inflammation.
As your bronchial tubes go through your lungs, they segregate and turn into more compact passages known as bronchioles. These bronchioles culminate in an air sac known as alveoli, of which your body has hundreds of millions. The alveoli are surrounded by capillaries, small blood vessels, and the oxygen you inhaled goes through to your blood.
Once your body has absorbed the oxygen, the blood departs from your lungs and is transmitted to your heart. From there you heart pumps these all over your body and into the organs and tissues. Your cells utilize the oxygen and produce carbon dioxide that is released in your blood. Your blood transports the carbon dioxide in your lungs where you exhale it, and the process is repeated.
Why Snoring Happens
Snoring happens when the air flow to your nose or lungs makes the airway tissues shake or vibrate. This vibration produces the snoring sound and is often caused by narrowing in the throat, mouth or nose or by an obstruction.
When you inhale while sleeping, air goes through your nose or mouth. Air passes by the soft palate on the way to your lungs. However, the back of your mouth can collapse and if it does will block the airway. It is this narrowing or blocking that affects the airflow and makes the uvula and soft palate vibrate on the walls of your throat. This is what produces the snoring sound. The narrower the airway has become, the stronger the tissue vibration is and the louder you will snore.
If you’re wondering why you don’t snore when awake, it’s due to your throat muscles being kept in the rear of your mouth. It’s when you sleep that the muscles relax and makes the tissues collapsible. As you’re probably aware, snoring can get quite loud and affect the quality of your sleep.
Ways to Stop Snoring
There are many reasons why people snore, such as being overweight, out of shape, drinking too much alcohol and age (when you enter middle age, your throat gets narrower). Smoking also contributes to snoring as will certain types of medication like diazepam and lorazepam.
To Stop Snoring, Try The Following:
- Lose weight: neck fat can exacerbate snoring, so dropping a few pounds will help.
- Exercise: exercise doesn’t just help you lose weight as it also tones your abs, legs and arms. At the same time, regular exercise tones your throat muscles and that can reduce snoring.
- Stop smoking: there is no shortage of reasons for you to quit smoking, but if you need another one, smoking causes irritation of the throat and nose membranes, blocking the airways and causing you to snore.
- Avoid sedatives and sleeping pills: at first glance these pills might seem like the ideal solution because they’ll put you to sleep. In fact sedatives could make things worse because some of these medications cause your throat muscles to relax even more. Pills that induce deep sleep could actually make snoring worse.
If you have a medical condition and taking pills that cause you to snore, speak with your doctor and ask for a replacement or a change in dosage. Do not self prescribe or adjust the dose without informing your doctor.
Snoring is so common that people take it for granted and assume that it’s normal. But there’s no reason for you or your partner to put up with it as there are solutions available that you can try. With the tips here, you’ll be sleeping soundly soon enough.