There are ample jokes about men who snore and memes of women lying wide-eyed in bed next to a male partner who’s doing his best chainsaw impression while he sleeps (and she doesn’t). Jokes aside, the fact is that men are almost twice as likely to snore than women.
To help understand the gender difference when it comes to snoring, Dr. Cecil Yeung and Dr. Marcus Hershey here at Houston Sinus Surgery in Houston want to take a deeper dive into this issue. More importantly, we review how we can solve the problem, allowing everyone to get a better night's sleep.
Snoring by the numbers
Most everyone snores from time to time, whether due to a cold, allergies, or drinking too much alcohol. The number of people who habitually snore, however, is quite high — about 40% of adult men and 24% of adult women.
Behind the snoring
The exact mechanism behind snoring is quite simple. The soft tissues at the back of your mouth and at the entrance of your throat relax while you sleep, which can block your airways slightly. As air passes through these relaxed tissues, they vibrate, which is what creates the sound.
There are many conditions that can lead to snoring, including:
- Obesity: Excess fatty tissue can affect your airways
- Obstructive sleep apnea: The soft tissues in the back of your throat collapse during sleep
- Deviated septum: The strip that divides your nasal passages is off-center
- Problematic uvula: This piece of tissue at the back of your mouth can be too big
- Chronic nasal congestion
- Sleep position: Snoring occurs more in those who sleep on their backs
- Nasal polyps: These are growths inside the nasal passageways
While not complete, this list represents the most common factors that can lead to habitual snoring.
The gender difference in snoring
One of the primary reasons why men snore more than women boils down to anatomy. Both men and women have areas behind their tongues called the oropharynx, which is located just above the larynx. When you sleep, the tissues at the back of your mouth relax and fall into this space, which can lead to snoring. With men, the oropharynx is larger due to bigger upper airways and a lower larynx.
As well, men tend to carry more fat in their upper chest and necks, which can press against their airways.
There’s also a change — in both men and women — in the structure of the airways when going from sitting to lying down, but in men this change is more dramatic.
Getting treatment for your snoring
Aside from disrupting your bed partner’s sleep, snoring may signal a larger problem, such as sleep apnea, which is why you should have your snoring checked out by us.
As Dr. Yeung and Dr. Hershey being snoring specialists, they can perform a thorough evaluation of your nasal passageways and your throat to determine the cause of the problem. Once the issue has been located, they will recommend the best course of action.
It’s hard to say here what that solution may be as it depends on the underlying source of your snoring. Rest assured, whether it’s sleep apnea, a deviated septum, or another issue, we have solutions.
To get to the bottom of your snoring so everyone can sleep more soundly at night, call or book an appointment online with Houston Sinus Surgery today.