Many of us think of snoring as a simple annoyance. It can be frustrating, loud and a little embarrassing but it’s something that most people will experience at some point in their lives, so no big deal right?
Before you dismiss snoring as harmless, you should know that it can quite often be a sign that something isn’t quite right. Whilst snoring once in a while is perfectly normal, regular snoring can be a sign of underlying health issues and it can come with a number of nasty side effects.
Read about some of the common health risks associated with snoring below, and find out what you can do to alleviate them.
Firstly, what is snoring and what are some common causes?
Snoring occurs when the airflow from your nose and mouth become obstructed. There are a lot of reasons this might happen:
Most of us would have experienced the difficulty of trying to sleep with a blocked nose after catching a cold at some point in our lives, so you’ll probably understand what we mean when we say that blocked nasal passages can be a major contributor towards snoring. Seasonal allergies, sinus infections, deviated septums or nasal polyps can all get in the way of airflow and could be the reason why you're snoring during the night. If you feel like you have a stuffy nose, or that it is difficult to breathe at times, ask your doctor to investigate.
Certain sleeping positions can encourage snoring. Back sleepers are more likely to snore than those who sleep on their side, and using a pillow that’s too high or low can also cause snoring.
As we age many of us lose muscle tone around our tongue and throat. This softening of the mouth tissue can cause disruptions to airflow which can cause snoring.
Being overweight can increase the amount of tissue around your throat, which can in turn compress your airways when you’re trying to sleep. Some people also have naturally large tonsils which can cause snoring.
If you’re particularly fatigued due to sleep deprivation, or perhaps through exertion during your daily activities, your throat muscles might relax too much and cause snoring. Luckily, this issue usually resolves itself once you’ve had enough sleep.
Sleep apnoea is a relatively common sleep issue that has been linked to a number of serious conditions including stroke and heart disease. It’s more common in those who are overweight and can sometimes be resolved with lifestyle changes. If your partner has noticed that you stop breathing at night, or you are waking up particularly tired every morning, you should speak to your doctor.
If you are under the influence of alcohol, drugs or medications when falling asleep you might begin to snore! Certain substances can cause your muscles to relax more than usual which can cause snoring.
Snoring every so often is usually nothing to worry about, but long-term snoring can have some serious health impacts.
One of the most common health impacts of snoring is sleep disruption. Those who frequently snore often experience a much poorer quality of sleep and will often find themselves feeling fatigued upon waking. Snoring can interfere with sleep patterns and can prevent you from falling into a deep sleep, which is important for restoration and memory processing.
Long term obstructions from issues like sleep apnoea can put a lot of strain on your heart which can increase your long term risk of heart attack, stroke and high blood pressure.
Snoring can actually increase your chances of developing an irregular heart beat. Those who suffer from sleep apnoea for instance are much more likely to experience arrhythmia as the condition can cause the left atrium of the heart to enlarge over time.
If you regularly experience headaches in the morning, it could be a sign that you are snoring during the night. Morning headaches are often associated with sleep disorders like sleep apnoea and insomnia.
The best solution for eliminating snoring will be dependent on its cause. In some cases it may be as simple as changing your pillow or finding the right mattress, but often it can be a little more complicated than that. If you suspect that your snoring is caused by a sleep disorder or underlying health condition you should consult with your doctor.
If you’re finding that you're struggling with snoring or airway obstructions, then you may want to consider a solution like an adjustable bed. It’s often recommended that you prop yourself up at night to help open up the airways, and an adjustable bed makes it easy to get into the perfect position.
For help and advice on getting the best night’s sleep, visit our friendly bedroom experts in-store or try our online Mattress Selector tool.
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