Snoring while sleeping is so common, everyone thinks it’s normal. Snoring loudly does not mean you are in a deep, relaxing sleep.
Unless you are suffering from congestion or a cold, sleeping should be a silent activity.
Regrettably, up to 50% of American adults snore occasionally, and 1 in 3 snore on a regular basis!
What Causes Snoring?
An obstructed airway causes snoring.
The sound you hear when someone snores is the vibration produced by airway blockage. This obstruction causes a decrease of air flow to the lungs and a lack of oxygen to the brain. Not good!
People cannot tell this is happening to them. When you are awake, the tissues in the throat are open and allow smooth airflow to the lungs. On the other hand, when sleeping the soft tissues relax. Thus, a person who snores has a partially blocked airway usually with a collapsed tongue and soft palate.
There are many factors that determine why some people have this obstruction in the airway while sleeping. Some causes include sleeping position, enlarged tonsils, deviated nasal septum, sleeping pills/muscle relaxers, excess weight, smoking or alcohol drinking, and many more.
Why is Snoring Dangerous?
Snoring heavily can lead to a serious sleep breathing disorder, commonly known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).
With this condition, a person intermittently stops breathing due to the collapsed tissues in the throat. These periods of breathing cessation follow a gasping or choking sound.
The person with OSA will wake up unknowingly throughout the night in order to breath, leading to non-refreshing sleep which can cause excessive daytime sleepiness.
The even greater concern is that when the airway collapses and oxygen is cut off, the body goes into a fight-or-flight response, putting a strain on the heart and increasing blood pressure. Over time, this can wear out the heart and lead to heart disease or a stroke.
If you or someone you know snores they should consult a medical professional trained in snoring and sleep disorders as it could be a sign of a more serious medical condition.
A quick consultation with your Snoring Isn’t Sexy dentist can help determine if it is more than snoring and get you on the path to start feeling and sleeping better.