Snoring affects 90 million Americans and the majority of these people "are unaware of why they snore or what snoring could say about their overall health," said Jagdeep Bijwadia, a board-certified Company doctor of internal medicine, sleep and lung diseases.
Snoring can be a telltale sign of an underlying sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea, a condition that can cause a respite during sleep. Simple, everyday habits or choices can make you susceptible to snoring, added Bijwadia.
And while people easily snore, the disease can keep more than just your bedfellows awake at night. Recent studies have shown that snoring can lead to high risk of arteriosclerosis, one of the common causes of strokes and general heart problems, said Steven Olmos founder of TMJ & Sleep Therapy Centers International.
Fortunately, you can control many cases of snoring. The first step is to find out what causes it and to get the condition treated accordingly. Here are just a few unexpected things that could stand behind your unwanted snoring habit.
They enjoy a nightcap
Drinking a glass of wine at the end of the day can cut corners, but it does not necessarily do your sleeping habits. According to Bijwadia, alcohol relaxes the airway muscles, which can lead to excessive snoring – even if you are not a regular snorer.
"And the less restful and deep sleep you get each night, the more it builds up and you become more disoriented and foggy all day," he said.
. 2 You have a nasal congestion
Something that blocks your nasal passage can definitely contribute to snoring. According to Brian Drew, a doctor at Ear Nose and Throat Specialty Care in Minnesota, this could be due to a possible allergy or a different septum.
An allergist may help in treating your problems with sensitivities such as dust mites, or an ENT specialist can help you find an effective way to reduce snoring due to a stuffy nose.
"Nasal sprays … have shown that they increase the nasal volume by 20%, which dramatically increases the flow rate," added Olmos. These products may be helpful in relieving soft tissue swelling due to general inflammation and environmental factors.
. 3 You're a Backsleeper
If you're sleeping on your back, the likelihood of you snoring is much higher, said Marcella M. Frank Sleep Doctor at the Deborah Heart and Lung Center, Browns Mills, New Jersey ,
"When someone sleeps on their backs, there is a natural tendency for the jaw and tongue to fall into the throat," explained Frank.
According to a study about 92% of those who suffer from sleep disorders can breathe better if they are not lying on their backs.
"If you sleep on your side, it helps to reduce snoring, and for those who suffer from more severe sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea, it can also help alleviate some of these symptoms. It can increase nocturnal oxygen uptake and protect the airway from collapse, "added Bijwadia.
. 4 It may be due to weight
Obesity can lead to poor muscle tone and an increased amount of tissue around the neck and neck. Both can catalyze a snoring state.
Bijwadia ensures that you are active throughout the day, ensuring better sleep all along the line.
. 5 Your thyroid may have failed
"In an underactive thyroid, there may be changes in the upper airway leading to breathing difficulties during sleep," said Shoshana Ungerleider (19459005), internist (19459004) at Sutter Health in San Francisco.
Studies show that hormonal stabilization improves the severity of snoring in patients with hypothyroidism. Some other signs of thyroid dysfunction include fatigue, weight gain, dry skin, thinning hair, and depression.
6. It can be age-related
Snoring is more common when we age in the body "only because of the flaccid tissue," Frank said.
Exercises like singing, believe it or not, can help, Olmos added. The use of nasal dilators such as Breathe Right strips can also help with age-related snoring.
. 7 Your mouth shape may cause the problem
Humans are all built differently and some of us have a oral anatomy which makes us more prone to sawing logs. For example, a lower, thicker or softer palate may narrow your respiratory tract and cause snoring.
Drew noted that some of these structural differences that can lead to snoring can be treated. For example, custom night watchers or oral devices could reduce the problem, he said.
. 8 You are a man
Excuse me, people. Studies suggest that physical differences between the sexes may contribute to snoring. For example, men have narrower airways that could aggravate the problem. Men statistically drink more alcohol than women, which can lead to inflammation-induced snoring.
If none of them is the culprit, you may need to investigate sleep apnea.
Snoring may be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, which is a serious condition. The condition may cause you to stop breathing all night while you sleep, because the soft tissues in your throat collapse and block your airway.
"The vibrations of these soft tissues cause the snoring sound," said Kimanh Nguyen, an ENT specialist in Beverly Hills.
Symptoms of OSA can be loud snoring, daytime fatigue, morning headaches, restless sleep, and periods when you stop breathing or gasping for air. The condition, which can be treated by an ENT specialist or sleep specialist, is diagnosed by a test called a polysomnogram or sleep study.
Left untreated, high blood pressure and heart problems can occur. So, if none of the above issues are the reason for your snoring, contact a doctor as soon as possible. By 2019, HuffPost Life will be tackling some very real issues every month, offering various stories, advice and opportunities to connect with others who understand how it is. In July, we cover sleep and sleep disorders. Do you have an experience that you would like to share? E-mail to wel[email protected]