Many people are affected by snoring, with 25% of adults snoring habitually. Snoring occurs when air cannot move freely through your nose and mouth during sleep, causing tissues in the nose and mouth to vibrate. Generally, this impaired airflow is created by blockage and airway narrowing, either from improper sleep posture or from abnormally shaped soft tissue in the throat. Finding out the specific cause of your snoring is essential to manage it effectively.
Gaining extra weight is a major reason for snoring, since excess weight leads to fatty tissue and poor muscle tone. These problems can create or worsen snoring, since excess tissue can obstruct your airway and poor muscle tone limits the efficiency of your breathing. Sleep posture also prompts snoring. Sleeping flat on your back causes your throat tissue to relax towards your airway, creating additional blockage and vibration.
Age and gender can be contributing reasons for snoring. Once you reach middle age, your throat can become narrower, and the muscle tone in your throat may also diminish. This can lead to snoring that worsens as you continue to age. Before middle age, however, gender can also serve as a reason for your snoring: men are twice as likely as women to snore because of their narrower airways. This is the situation among younger adults, but after women experience menopause, they are just as likely to snore as men.
Nasal and sinus issues such as allergies or congestion can also create blocked airways by limiting inhalation, which can lead to snoring. Also, consuming alcohol or using tobacco can increase muscle relaxation and worsen snoring. Certain medications may also relax throat muscles and prompt snoring.
Chronic snoring can often indicate the presence of a more-serious medical issue such as sleep apnea. To ensure effective treatment for your snoring, speak to your doctor about suspected causes and potential treatments.