Causes of Snoring
Causes of snoring depend on different factors. Snoring generally occurs when the flow of air through the mouth and nose is physically obstructed. Airflow can be obstructed by a combination of factors.
- Obstructed nasal airways: As you doze off and progress from a lighter sleep to a deep sleep, the muscles in the roof of your mouth (soft palate), tongue and throat relax. If the tissues in your throat relax enough, they vibrate and may partially obstruct your airway. Partially blocked nasal passages require extra effort to transfer air through them. The more narrowed your airway, the more forceful the airflow becomes. Tissue vibration increases, and your snoring grow louder. This can pull together or collapse the non-rigid soft and dangling tissue, resulting in snoring. Some people snore only during allergy seasons or when they have a sinus infection. Deformities of the nose such as a deviated septum (an impairment of the wall that separates one nostril from the other) or nasal polyps can also cause obstruction.
- Poor muscle tone in the throat and tongue: Throat and tongue muscles can be too relaxed, which allows them to collapse and fall back into the airway.
- Bulky throat tissue: Having a low, thick soft palate or enlarged tonsils or tissues in the back of your throat (adenoids) can narrow your airway. Being overweight can cause bulky throat tissue. Also, children with large tonsils and adenoids often snore.
- Long soft palate and/or uvula: A soft palate or a long uvula (the dangling tissue in back of the mouth) can narrow the opening from the nose to the throat. When these structures vibrate and bump against one another, the airway becomes obstructed causing snoring.
- Consumption of alcohol: Snoring also can be brought on by consuming too much alcohol before bedtime. Alcohol acts like a sedative, relaxing throat muscles. Chronic nasal congestion or a crooked partition between your nostrils (deviated nasal septum) may be to blame. Snoring may be an occasional problem, or it may be habitual.
- Sleep apnea: Snoring may also be associated with sleep apnea. In this serious condition, excessive sagging of throat tissues causes your airway to collapse, preventing you from breathing. Sleep apnea generally breaks up loud snoring with 10 seconds or more of silence. Eventually, the lack of oxygen and an increase in carbon dioxide signal you to wake up, forcing your airway open with a loud snort.
- Aging: The normal aging process leads to the relaxation of the throat muscles, thus resulting in snoring.
- Anatomical abnormalities: The abnormalities of nose and throat, such as enlarged tonsils or adenoids, nasal polyps, or deviated nasal septum cause exaggerated narrowing of the throat during sleep and thus lead to snoring.
- Sleep position: Sleep position, such as sleeping on your back, may lead to snoring in some people.
- Obesity: One of the most important risk factors is obesity, and in particular having a lot of fatty tissue around the neck.
- Functional abnormalities: Functional abnormalities (e.g. inflammation of the nose and/or throat as may occur during respiratory infection or during allergy season) will result in snoring.
- Medications: Medications that relax or make drowsy, such as those taken for anxiety, allergies and depression can cause snoring. Many people think that taking antihistamine before bed time can relieve from snoring if the person is suffering from allergies. But, in fact taking medications like Benadryl, which is over-the-counter medication, can actually worsen snoring.
These are some of the main causes of snoring. Snoring causes can be related to many other things not mentioned here.