It happens to nearly everyone on occasion – a phenomenon known for its harsh, throaty sounds as air passes over relaxed tissues, causing them to vibrate rapidly and loudly. It’s the mystery otherwise known as snoring, and the exceptional ear, nose, and throat physicians here at Houston Sinus Surgery are quite familiar with the condition. Snoring, for many adults, is a chronic problem that prevents you from getting a restful night’s sleep, and often leads to more complicated health conditions down the road.
Chronic snoring isn’t only disruptive to your sleep, health, and overall well-being, but it could be disruptive to those who live with you. Some people snore so loudly, their families can hear them through the walls!
We’ve compiled 8 factors that put you at greater risk of snoring. How many of them apply to you or your partner?
1. Carrying extra weight
Being overweight increases your risk for so many health problems, like diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer. Those extra pounds may also be contributing to your chronic snoring problem. If you’re overweight and your partner hears you snoring most nights, you’re probably not getting the restful sleep you need to help your body stay healthy.
If you rarely feel rested after a full night’s sleep, and you’re overweight, it could be because you snore. Aside from being tired all the time, chronic snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnea – a serious sleep disorder that’s also linked to being overweight or obese.
According to research, there’s a direct correlation between snoring and smoking cigarettes. Smoking causes inflammation in your airways which can lead to obstructed breathing problems and decreased airflow while you’re asleep. If you quit smoking, after four years, your risk factor for snoring drops down to that of someone who never smoked.
3. Being a man
It hardly seems fair to have your gender working against you, but if you’re a man, you’re more likely to snore than if you’re a woman. You’re also more likely to develop sleep apnea as a result. Chronic snoring is something to get a handle on before it turns into something more serious.
4. Nasal problems
It only makes sense that if you have nasal problems during the day, you’ll have them at night, too. If you have a deviated septum that makes it hard for you to breathe easily, or your nose is stuffy all the time, you probably snore at night. Since our team specializes in treating nasal problems, like a deviated septum or nasal congestion, this one is an easy risk factor to eliminate.
5. Consuming alcohol
Alcohol relaxes your throat muscles and decreases your natural ability to correct airway obstructions while you’re asleep. One drink with dinner usually isn’t a problem when it comes to snoring, but if you have a few drinks before bedtime, you significantly increase your risk, especially if drinking before bed is habitual.
6. A naturally narrow airway
Like your gender, sometimes you’re just born with a narrower airway than you need to breathe easily. You may have large tonsils and adenoids or an extra-long soft palate. Any of these genetic conditions can lead to breathing problems, especially at night when the tissue relaxes and potentially narrows your airway even more, so you can’t help but snore.
7. Family history of snoring or sleep disorders
Heredity is a factor when it comes to chronic snoring problems. If you have a family member who snores or has sleep apnea, you’re at a higher risk of developing sleep-disrupted breathing issues, too. It’s important to note that not everyone who snores develops sleep apnea, but chronic, loud snoring is one of the main symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea.
8. Sore throats
People that regularly suffer from sore throats are at a higher risk of snoring than those who don’t have frequent sore throats. Ironically, snoring contributes to sore throats, so it may be hard to know which came first – the sore throat or the snoring. Either way, if you suffer from frequent sore throats, it could be an indication of a more serious underlying health condition. We can determine if your sore throat is causing you to snore, or if snoring is causing your sore throat.
If you experience any of these risk factors, it’s a good idea to come in for an evaluation to understand what’s causing you to snore. Give our friendly team a call today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Yeung or Dr. Burchhardt, or use the convenient online booking tool.