Snoring is a widespread affliction that interferes with sleep and can be a sign of something more serious. Nearly half of all adults snore at least occasionally, with 25% considered habitual snorers. It is most common in males, those over the age of 40, and individuals who are overweight – but can affect anybody, even children.

What Causes Snoring?

Snoring Cut-away

Snoring occurs when the tissues in the throat vibrate during sleep. This may be caused by a number of factors including obstructed nasal passages, poor muscle tone in the tongue and throat, an unusually long soft palate or uvula, and excessively bulky throat tissue.

Not only is snoring a social stigma, but it can cause serious medical problems, as well. It disrupts your sleep cycle, preventing you from achieving solid rest, and might indicate obstructive sleep apnea, a condition in which gaps in breathing occur repeatedly throughout the night. This makes the heart work harder, and puts a person at risk for complications including heart attack, stroke, and high blood pressure.

Snoring is most common in males over the age of 40 and individuals who are overweight.

What Are The Effects Of Snoring?

Snoring husband

Snorers may awaken with a sore throat and experience excessive daytime drowsiness and difficulty concentrating. Their bed partner is affected, too, which often puts a strain on the relationship. If your snoring is loud enough to keep your partner awake, or if you wake up gasping or choking, make an appointment with your doctor.

How Can I Prevent Snoring?

Often, making changes to your lifestyle can reduce the severity of your snoring. Changing your diet and starting an exercise routine can help you lose weight, eliminating excessive throat tissue. Drinking alcohol causes your throat muscles to relax; avoiding it near bedtime can help prevent snoring. Sleeping on your side and elevating your head will both help decrease the chance that you’ll snore.

What If That Doesn’t Work For Me

A sleep study can determine whether you are suffering from obstructive sleep apnea. If so, treatment with a machine that delivers continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) is often highly successful.