During sleep, the throat relaxes and the tongue falls into the airway in the back of the throat causing a vibration in the soft tissue. Snoring is caused by the vibration of tissues in the back of the nose and throat. This vibration is often caused when there is an interruption to the free flow of air through the nose and throat. There are many reasons why air may block breathing so people can snore for many different reasons. For example, a person’s weight can make a difference, injuries in the nose and throat can cause blockages in the airways, and some people are born with narrow passages.
Disruption of Airflow that Leads to Snoring can be Caused by Some of the Following:
Deviated Nasal Septum A nasal septum consists of bone and cartilage, and its function is to separate the nasal cavity into right and left partitions. A nasal septum may take on an abnormal shape from a birth defect or when the nose is broken. A deviated nasal septum is one that has an uneven shape that may block breathing. Nasal Polyps A polyp is a small benign tumor that grows inside the nose or sinus cavity. One or more polyps may block breathing through the nose.
Nasal Turbinates Nasal turbinates are bulgy structures inside the nasal cavity made of ridge-shaped cartilage or soft bony tissue. They are covered by mucous membranes that clean, moisten, and warm inspired air. If the mucous membranes become infected or inflamed, the air passages in the nose can become constricted and breathing may be blocked. Sinusitis or Sinus Disease A prolonged bacterial infection in the nasal passages can cause a nasal obstruction and a nasal obstruction can also cause an increase in the growth of bacteria.
Abnormally Relaxed Muscles Relaxed throat and tongue muscles can potentially block breathing during sleep. A Large Tongue or Tonsils If the tongue or tonsils are large in comparison to the windpipe, breathing may be blocked. Shape of the Head and Neck The shape of the head and neck may be small. Excessive Weight Extra soft fat tissue can cause a narrowing of the windpipe.
Smoking Smoking leads to irritation and dryness of mucous membranes. Alcohol, Sedatives, and Sedating Antihistamines Alcohol, sedatives, and sedating antihistamines lower muscle tone in the upper airways, causing an increased airway resistance and snoring. Sleep Position For some people, and increased amount of obstruction occurs when they sleep on their backs. Described as positional snoring, this type of snoring explains a snorer’s common complaint of being “frequently assaulted” through the night and implored to roll over.
Sleep Apnea Sleep Apnea is the most common sleep disorder, and it’s also the most dangerous. People who suffer from sleep apnea stop breathing dozens of times during sleep and may not breathe for as much as three fourths of the time they’re asleep. Symptoms of snoring Snoring and Sleep Apnea Symptoms Because snorers are asleep while they snore, they’re usually unaware of their problem. However, symptoms of snoring can adversely affect a snorer’s waking life in both their work day and in their relationships. It may also be difficult for them to make a connection between snoring and daytime symptoms.