Snoring can be a very disruptive thing when it comes to a person's sleep. Poor sleeping patterns result in fatigue and irritability throughout the day. When the body doesn't receive enough rest, health problems may arise and a person's quality of life can lessen a great deal.
The sound of snoring originates inside of a person's mouth. Some people snore while sleeping with their mouths open, while others snore while sleeping with their mouths closed. Some may only snore while sleeping on their back and others will snore regardless of the position they are in. When the airway in the back of the throat narrows from sleeping in a certain position or there are abnormalities in the throat muscles, snoring will result. An excessive amount of throat tissue or nasal tissue makes a person more prone to snoring.
Each time we inhale in our sleep, the air we inhale enters through the nose or mouth. It then passes the soft palate, which is located in the back of the mouth at the roof. Our tongue and the upper part of our throat meet in the back of the mouth. This area is collapsible, and if the back of the throat is blocked or becomes narrow, the soft palate and uvula vibrate against the throat, causing the sound that is heard when a person snores. The more narrow that a person's airway is, the louder they will snore.
Snoring can be caused by a number of reasons. Some are within our control while others are not. Certain hereditary traits, such as a cleft palate or enlarged adenoids, can cause snoring. As we age, our throats tend to become narrower, making us more prone to snoring. Sinus issues or allergies can block airways and cause a person to snore.
While there are several reasons for snoring that are beyond our control, there are also reasons for snoring that are within our control. There is more fatty tissue in the back of a person's throat when they are out of shape and overweight. A person who smokes may snore because smoking can create nasal congestion and relax the throat muscles.
Drinking alcohol and taking various medications before bed will relax the throat muscles. When a person sleeps on their back, it makes it easier for the throat muscles to relax and block the airway, making them snore. Prolonged snoring may lead to a more serious condition called sleep apnea and may need treated by a physician to eliminate the problem.