Snoring is a very common issue for many of us. Did you know that up to 45% of men and 30% of women snore? For obvious reasons to our partners, snoring is very disruptive, though many of us have no idea it is happening because we are asleep.
So what causes this snoring?
Physically, the muscles in our throats relax when we begin to sleep. This can create a more narrow space for air to get through to the lungs. If we are overweight, the tissue in the throat and neck tend to be a little heavier, so the pressure from this tissue will contribute to the narrowing of the airway even further.
Like a woodwind instrument, the throat then causes a loud sound that we are all familiar with as snoring. It is known that when we sleep on our backs, in the supine position, this snoring is even more likely. Doctors even include treatment recommendations such as changing sleep position to sleeping on one side or the other to reduce snoring.
Allergies and Snoring
This time of year, there are some other snoring culprits out there besides sleep position and weight. They are known as seasonal allergies and they affect many of us. Does this really cause snoring you ask? Well simply, yes! These allergies can clog up our airways and cause us to have seasonal snoring throughout the warmer months when pollen and dust are more prominent.
“Allergies can cause a stuffy nose, which can disrupt sleep. Think of the human upper airway as a collapsible tube in three places – nose, soft palate and tongue. If you suck in through one end (the lungs), and pinch the other end (the nose), the middle sections can cave in. In the same way, allergies can aggravate partial or complete soft palate or tongue collapse, leading to snoring or apneas. Partial nasal obstruction causes the soft palate to collapse and loosen, and as your muscles relax during deeper levels of sleep, the free edge of the soft palate begins to vibrate.”
(Thus causing that horrible, nighttime music we are all so familiar with.)
Related: Stop snoring with CPAP
Six Tips to Stop Seasonal Snoring
- Change any clothing you have worn outside in a room other than your bedroom. This prevents you from being the vehicle that brought the irritants indoors in the first place.
- Wash your bedding and pillow cases frequently. The allergens caused by the dust mites in your bedding will be reduced with this.
- This sounds contradictory, but try using a dehumidifier in your bedroom to prevent mold spores, and be sure to use the humidifier with your CPAP machine to prevent the dry nose and throat problems we are all familiar with.
- Try staying indoors on days when the allergen and pollen counts are known to be high and there is no sign of rain for that day.
- Keep windows closed at night when you sleep as to not invite the allergens in.
- Try taking a bath or shower at bedtime. This can steam clean your nose, throat and sinuses and get you off to the right start for your night’s sleep by getting you more relaxed.
If your snoring turns out to be something more than seasonal snoring, you may suffer from an obstructive sleeping disorder. If you are one of the millions of people suffering from sleep apnea, a CPAP machine could help improve your sleep quantity and quality.