Snoring is the process of making loud or noisy breathing sounds while you are asleep. It is caused by vibrating tissue inside of your nose or in your throat. If you snore, you may feel embarrassed about the noise, and your bed mate may be frustrated about the situation as well. Medical experts estimate that between 30 and 50 percent of the adult population of the United States snores or has snored in the past. The amount of noise from snoring is not related to how deeply you sleep or how tired you are. When snoring is particularly loud, it is sometimes described as “heroic.” This kind of snoring is so loud that people two rooms away or in the next apartment over may be able to hear the noise you are making.
Problems Caused By Snoring
Even though you might think that your snoring does not bother anybody, this is not a correct assumption. Many people experience discord in their marriages or relationship problems because of snoring. This results from the loud noises that startle bed mates awake or prevent them from falling asleep. You may also have disturbed or disrupted sleep because your bed mate prods you when you make too much noise. You could also have waking episodes when your snoring wakes you up. Snoring is different from sleep apnea. Snoring is primarily a social problem. Sleep apnea is paused breathing during sleep; however, many people who snore also have obstructive sleep apnea.
Mouth and Throat Causes of Snoring
Your doctor or a sleep study may be able to determine your particular cause of snoring. One common cause of snoring is the soft palate, which is the back of your mouth. As you get older, the tissue and muscles of your soft palate lose their firmness and may begin to sag. Each time you breathe in, the sagging tissue vibrates and generates the snoring sounds. The uvula can also be a cause of snoring. This part of your body is a small flap of tissue that extends from your soft palate. It looks like a dangling letter “U.” An uvula that is elongated or unusually thick may also vibrate when you breathe at night. This contributes to the snoring noise.
Nasal Causes of Snoring
Inside of your nose, there are tiny bones called turbinates. The nasal turbinates can become enlarged from infections or inflammation. When they are enlarged, they can vibrate and cause you to snore while sleeping. If you have a large tongue, it may flap around and vibrate while you sleep at night. These vibrations produce the snoring sounds. Some people can have enlarged adenoids. The adenoid tissue, which is also referred to by doctors as tonsillar tissue, is located at the back of your nose. The extra or swollen tissue may cause your nose to become obstructed. The snoring sounds are your body’s efforts to breathe while sleeping despite the nasal obstruction.