Snoring – An Overview
Snoring is noisy breathing during sleep.
It is a common problem among all ages and both genders, and it affects approximately 90 million American adults — 37 million on a regular basis.
Snoring affects mostly men and people who are overweight. Forty-five percent of adults snore occasionally, while 25% are considered habitual snorers.
Occasional snoring is usually not very serious and is mostly a nuisance for the bed partner of the person who snores.
However, the habitual snorer not only disrupts the sleep patterns of those close to him, he also disturbs his own. Snoring can lead to fragmented and un-refreshing sleep, which translates, into poor daytime function (tiredness and sleepiness).
Habitual snorers snore whenever they sleep and are often tired after a night of what seems like quality rest. Medical assistance is usually needed for habitual snorers to get a good night's sleep.
Loud and frequent snoring, on your part or on your partner's, may seem inevitable during your overnight sleep time. But this nighttime annoyance may indicate a more serious health condition and can disrupt your household and strain your relationships.
Snoring occurs when air flows past relaxed tissues in your throat, causing the tissues to vibrate as you breathe, creating hoarse or harsh sounds. While you sleep, the muscles of your throat relax, your tongue falls backward, and your throat becomes narrow and "floppy."
As you breathe, the walls of the throat begin to vibrate - generally when you breathe in, but also, to a lesser extent, when you breathe out. These vibrations lead to the characteristic sound of snoring.
The narrower your airway becomes, the greater the vibration and the louder you’re snoring. Sometimes the walls of the throat collapse completely so that it is completely occluded, creating a condition called apnea (cessation of breathing). This is a serious condition, which requires medical attention.