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Snoring: Why and What Now?

Aug 18, 2007
Snoring is the noise of the soft palate and the loose tissue in the mouth, nose and throat, like the uvula, adenoids and/or tonsils, vibrating during sleep. It generally occurs when you sleep on your back and during the inhaling process.

As the throat muscles lose their firmness due to age, and relax during sleep, the loose hanging soft tissues cause the air passages to narrow. The obstructing elements in the throat touch one another, causing friction and subsequent vibration. The faster the force of air and the narrower the air passage, the louder and more resonant the snore becomes.

Snoring is very common, affecting up to 60% of males, mostly middle aged, and 40% of females, and is three times more common in obese persons. The latter is considered to be due to an excess amount of fat in the neck.

The reason that men are mostly affected may be related to the fact that they have an Adam's apple; an extra appendage to obstruct their air ducts. Although women also have this thyroid cartilage, the testosterone influx during puberty causes it to grow much more prominent in men. As their waking voice is more sonorous than women's, so is their snoring.

Women, on the other hand, produce the hormone progesterone, which inhibits snoring, and consequently are less likely to snore. Some anti-snoring devices are known to use progesterone as their basic ingredient.

Even babies can display a mild form of snoring. This should be carefully monitored, however, as it may be a sign of obstruction in the baby's respiratory tract.

Occasional snoring in all genders and ages is more likely during a bout of cold, sinusitis or some other reason for a stuffy nose. The degree of snoring ranges from an annoyance to the partner to indicating obstructive sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea refers to the condition of repeated short interruptions of breathing between snores. It can be dangerous for both adults and children in case of severe, prolonged sleep and oxygen deprivation.

Snoring cannot be stopped at will, and there is not one simple cure for it. First the physical abnormality causing it needs to be identified before a control can be found. It is most often more disruptive to other people's sleep than the person responsible!

What Can You Do About It Now?

- The use of antihistamines and/or allergy medications to unclog the nasal cavities affected by allergic reactions to pollen, pets or medications.
- Treat your cold or flu with whatever remedy helps to keep the nasal passages as clear as possible during sleep.
- Reduce your alcohol consumption as alcohol causes the throat muscles to relax.
- Surgery may be required in the case of adenoids, tonsils, thyroid and other growths.
- Restrict the use of nasal sprays and/or perfumes which may irritate the air passages.
- Reduce or stop smoking as tobacco smoke causes inflammation in the air passages.
- Consult your doctor about sedatives and/or medications that relax your muscles.
- Lifestyle changes may be in order if obesity is the culprit of your snoring.
About the Author
Ann Stewart, author, inspirational writer and wellness coach, shares tips on how to fight off disease and feel your best in her weekly newsletter, Youth Makeover: Youth Makeover Who is she? Find out at: As the Eagle. You're welcome to subscribe to her free weekly inspirational newsletter: Life Altering Words
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