Why do we snore?

Why do we snore?
It takes approx. 3 minutes to read this article

According to statistics, one in three people on the planet snores during their nightly rest. Snoring affects 5% of children, 15-30% of young and middle-aged people, and among the elderly the percentage is at least 40%. Why does a person start snoring? Read this!

The mechanism of snoring

During breathing, air first enters the lungs through the throat into the larynx, and then through the trachea and bronchi. The throat is the channel that connects the oral and nasal cavities to the larynx and esophagus. During the day, the brain keeps our muscles under a certain amount of tension. This includes the muscles that make up the walls of the throat. This top-down control allows air to flow freely through the airways.

During sleep, on the other hand, all muscles relax. If the upper airway is narrowed due to, for example, enlarged tonsils or excess fatty tissue in the neck, the airway walls move closer together during sleep, making it difficult for air to pass through the narrowed and partially closed pharyngeal canal during inhalation and exhalation. The walls of the throat begin to vibrate and bump against each other, causing snoring.

Causes of snoring

The reasons why people snore during sleep can vary greatly. The most common include a crooked nasal septum, malocclusion and mandibular defects, nasal and sinus polyps, airway diseases (usually of a chronic nature), and being overweight, with fat deposits in the throat area exerting pressure on the airway.

Sometimes, snoring is also caused by external factors. One of them is the sleeping position. Snoring is promoted by sleeping on the back, with the head tilted backwards, or with the face pressed against a pillow. In all three of these cases, the throat space is narrowed, causing the air passing through the narrow channel to vibrate and make a characteristic snoring sound. It is not uncommon for smokers to snore because cigarette smoke and nicotine dry out the mucous membranes, causing discomfort when breathing through the nose. The sleeping smoker unconsciously breathes through the mouth during sleep, which leads to snoring.

What is the risk of snoring?

Snoring is not only a discomfort to your surroundings. It is also a health risk. Lack of proper sleep hygiene, which snoring is a complete denial of, can lead to chronic fatigue, decreased physical and intellectual performance or concentration disorders.

In addition, snorers may develop the so-called obstructive sleep apnea, during which there is a periodic complete lack of airflow through the airways, which reduces the oxygen content in the body, increases the concentration of carbon dioxide and leads to hypoxia of the brain and other organs. The oxygen deficit causes loud irregular snoring, which widens the throat opening and restores normal breathing. Such episodes can occur even several hundred times in one night, which significantly affects health.

Obstructive sleep apnea can develop or exacerbate such disease entities as hypertension, heart failure and arrhythmia, PoChP, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, as well as being overweight.

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