We have all slept with that person, that guy or girl that can inhale every drape in the room while inhaling, then exhale those drapes covered in snot and slime. It occurs when air flows over relaxed tissues in the nasal pathways causing these tissues to vibrate. Snoring can happen to anyone, but it can manifest itself as a chronic sleep disorder that needs medical attention for some people. But generally, snoring is often thought of as a nuisance to bed partners or as a lack of quality sleep.
On the other hand, sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which prolonged pauses when breathing occurs more often than average. The pauses in breathing can last from a few seconds to minutes, and they occur several times a night. It manifests itself when someone gasps for air during sleep. That said, we shall narrow down the possible causes of snoring and sleep apnea.
Causes of Snoring
According to one professional at McMahons Point Dental, snoring can be caused by several factors: mouth and sinus anatomy, allergies, being overweight, or excessive alcohol consumption. The tissues in the mouth, throat, and tongue relax when you’re in a deep sleep. The relaxed tissues can relax enough to partially block your airways, which results in vibrations. Nonetheless, the following conditions cause snoring by interfering with the flow of air:
- Drug and alcohol consumption – excessive intake of alcohol can make the throat and tongue muscles overly relax.
- Sleeping position – ever wondered why you snore while sleeping on your back? Snoring becomes frequent and loudest when someone sleeps on their back. The reason being, gravity acts on the throat muscles, causing them to relax and block the airways.
- Blockage of nasal airways – some people only snore because of blocked nasal airways. That is common in people who experience allergies or sinus infections.
- The mouth anatomy – This has to do with having a low, soft, and thick palate that tends to narrow the airways. It manifests mostly in obese and overweight people as they have extra tissues that congest their nasal pathways.
Cause of Sleep Apnea
The most common type of this sleep disorder is obstructive sleep apnea. Similar to snoring, it occurs when throat muscles relax to cause the uvula, tonsils, and side walls (triangular tissue) to narrow as you bring in. The narrow triangular tissue implies that you can’t get sufficient air. At that point, your brain detects your inability to breathe, hence rousing you from sleep. The brief awakening only enables you to gasp for air. That said, the following are risk factors that can cause sleep apnea.
- Obesity – being overweight can increase this sleep disorder’s risk because of the fat deposits on the upper palate. The extra fat narrows the airway, hence obstructing breathing.
- Smoking – Smoking increases the risk of inflammation or fluid retention in the upper tissues of the throat. Besides, research shows that smokers are three times more likely to experience sleep apnea.
- Congestion in the nasal pathways – nasal congestion can occur because of factors such as allergies or your anatomy. Either way, if you have nasal congestion or can’t breathe through your nose, you will likely develop sleep apnea.
A Better Night Rest
Snoring and sleep apnea are both characterized by a lack of quality sleep. Regardless of the causes, the two conditions occur because of constrictions in the breathing pathways that lead to interference in normal breathing. There are many reasons this may affect you, but it is pretty easy to figure out why and address the problem at the end of the day.