According to Snoring New Zealand up to a staggering 60% of men and 40% of women snore. That’s quite a nocturnal orchestra! So is it a serious health concern?
Why do people snore?
According to Simple Sleep, snoring is caused by turbulent airflow due to an obstruction or narrowing in the mouth, nose or throat. When you inhale during sleep, air enters the mouth or nose and the back of the roof of the mouth, on its way to the lungs. At the back of the mouth, where the tongue and upper throat meet, the soft palate and uvula are collapsible. This area becomes narrow or blocked. That’s where the noise often begins. Although there are many reasons why the airway can get blocked and we end up snoring.
Different reasons why people snore
Many of us who have put on a few kilos may start to snore as a result. The stigma of people who are overweight and snoring does have some basis in fact. The increased pressure of fat tissue in the body causes your airways to narrow. However, don’t forget that this is only one of many reasons why you or others are snoring. According to Medicine Net, various reasons for snoring include; mouth breathing, narrowed airways, different stages of sleep, sleeping position, ageing also plays a part.
1. Mouth breathing
Your nose acts as a natural filter, like a dehumidifier, for incoming air. Everyone wants to breathe normally through their nose but some people can’t for various reasons, whether it’s a deviation in the nasal canals, allergies, sinus infection, large adenoids or swelling of the turbinates. Because the air flow through the mouth causes greater vibration on the tissues in the mouth and throat ‘mouth breathers’ are more likely to snore.
2. Narrowed airways
The tonsils, located at the back of your mouth are there to detect and protect you from infections. When fighting infections, the tonsils become enlarged. That’s why when people get sick they often snore, their airways are partially blocked by their tonsils. Often tonsils don’t return to their normal size once you’ve finished fighting an infection as well.
Your tongue, given that it’s such a large muscle can also cause snoring. The tongue is a heavy muscle and can drop backwards once we drift off to sleep and narrow the airway.
3. Stages of sleep
When in a slumber you go through many stages. During the REM stage of sleep, your brain sends a signal to our body to relax so when our mouth, throat, tongue and palate relax their relaxed state can narrow the airway causing an obstruction which can cause snoring.
- Sleeping position
As you’re well aware, when someone is on their backs they tend to snore more. This is because gravity acts to pull the palate, tonsils and tongue backwards which often narrows the airway enough to cause turbulence in the airflow, tissue vibration, and snoring. Therefore, if the snorer is reminded to roll on their side either by a tickle or elbow to the ribs from their bed partner, the tissues are no longer being pulled backwards and the snoring can hopefully lessen in intensity.
How it can affect your health?
Your nightly sonatas may be disturbing not only your own sleep but your family’s as well. Occasional snoring is usually not very serious and is probably more of an annoyance to the person who gets to sleep next to you.
However, according to WebMD if you are a habitual snorer, you not only disrupt the sleep patterns of those close to you but you also impair your own sleep quality. Habitual snorers can be at risk of serious health problems, including; interruptions of breathing, light sleeping, frequent waking through the night which you may not even realise, strain on the heart, poor night’s sleep, low oxygen levels on the blood, chronic headaches, obesity, daytime sleepiness and fatigue.
Good news: Use proven interventions to control snoring
The Patney is the anti-snore sleep positioner that replaces your existing pillow. The sleeping aid was created by Waikato’s Frances Anderson. She was a life-long bad sleeper and snorer herself and spent decades looking for the right solution to no avail until she created Patney. Now she is quietly changing the lives of people who are suffering from fatigue.
An independent clinical study conducted by the WellSleep Centre at the University of Otago found 89% of the partners of the people who completed the study experienced a reduction in their partner’s snoring.
It’s designed and developed in New Zealand, the Patney sleep positioner works by supporting an open airway and promoting a good sleep posture and a good night’s rest.