We all know what snoring can sound like, but what really causes it? Why do some people snore and others don’t? Does weight gain cause snoring?
First of all, snoring (in the most basic explanation) is caused by tissue in and around the upper airways vibrating during breathing. As we sleep, the muscles in our throat and neck relax. This relaxation causes the space in our airway to decrease. In some folks, the space decreases enough to cause the tissue to vibrate during each breath – hence the rumbling noise we recognize as snoring. The explanation seems simple, but there are many factors that can determine whether a person will snore or not. Weight gain, enlarged tonsils or tongue, the shape of the nose, and even tissue swelling caused by pregnancy can cause someone to snore. Other factors can include sleep position, alcohol consumption, or allergies.
Snoring can also be linked to obstructive sleep apnea, a dangerous condition during which breathing is obstructed during sleep. According to an article on resmed.com, “Snoring and sleep apnea are linked at an alarming rate – 1 in 3 men and approximately 1 in 5 women who are habitual snorers suffer from some degree of obstructive sleep apnea.” (read the article here) Snoring in people with sleep apnea tends to be louder and more regular, often with a “choking” sound involved. They will also sometimes stop breathing momentarily or gasp for air.
If you suspect that you or your bed partner may have sleep apnea, it’s important to consult with a health professional as soon as possible. Untreated sleep apnea is associated with a number of conditions, including diabetes and heart disease, and can have serious complications. The good news is that, in many cases, sleep testing can be done from the comfort of your home, and there are many solutions to treat sleep apnea. If you’re in Colorado, give Sleep Treatment Solutions a call at 1-844-807-5337 (1-844-80-SLEEP) to consult with a member of our team and find a provider that can help!
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