Millions of Americans snore during their sleep, and although it is often a harmless (if noisy) behavior, snoring can sometimes signal serious health problems. If you or your partner snores while sleeping, read on for the five facts, you need to know about the habit, including what causes it and when it may indicate a health problem.
A Constricted Airway Causes Snoring
During sleep, your throat muscles relax, which causes your breathing airway to narrow. As you breathe in and out, the relaxed tissue may start to vibrate, which results in the harsh sound we know as snoring. The snoring will get louder and more disruptive as the airway narrows.
The Best Sleeping Position
Sleeping on your back can especially exaggerate the snoring because this position can cause relaxed tissue to “collapse” further toward the back of the throat. Because of this, sleeping on your side is recommended for people prone to snoring.
The Role of Aging, Anatomy, Allergies, and Alcohol
The throat muscles naturally relax as you grow older, which means snoring is more common later in life. Your anatomy can also influence whether you snore or not. Enlarged tonsils and a deviated septum can both narrow the throat, and inflammation of the nose or throat during allergy season can do the same. Because alcohol is a powerful muscle relaxant, drinking before bed can further increase snoring.
It’s More Common Than You Think
Almost half of the population has snored or will snore at some point in their lives. Snoring is more common in men, with about 40 percent of them being habitual snorers compared to about 24 percent of women. You are more likely to snore if your parents snore, as the behavior has been found to have a genetic component.
Lifestyle Changes May Prevent or Minimize Snoring
If you experience occasional snoring, small lifestyle modifications can help reduce the behavior. These modifications can include:
- Sleeping on your side
- Skipping a glass of wine before bedtime
- Focusing on maintaining a healthy weight, as carrying extra weight can thicken the tissues in your throat and narrow the airway
- During allergy season, sleep with a nasal strip or use decongestants to relieve inflammation
- Oropharyngeal exercises, a form of therapy for your tongue and mouth to reduce the behavior
- Over-the-counter devices that keep your airway open
When it May Indicate a Medical Condition
If making lifestyle changes and trying over-the-counter treatments does not reduce your snoring, or if you find yourself awakened at night by disrupted breathing, talk to your doctor. He or she may recommend a test for sleep apnea, a condition in which breathing slows or stops during sleep. If you are diagnosed with sleep apnea, there are multiple treatments, including CPAP machines, surgery, or oral devices, to help ensure that your airways stay open during sleep.
Sleep Well With A Mattress From All American Mattress
At All American Mattress, we have the expertise and great prices to help you choose the perfect pillows and foam mattress for your bedroom. We have mattresses and bed frames available made from a variety of materials to suit your needs, whatever they are. Stop by our showroom, visit us online, or give us a call at (410) 451-9006 to see how we can get your toddler sleeping through the night. We offer brand names at affordable prices, and we will always work hard to keep your whole family comfortable. For more mattress shopping tips, be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.