Causes of Snoring

Snoring occurs when the free flowing air supply through the passageways in the back of our nose and mouth are blocked. Usually the two structures implicit in the causes of snoring are the uvula and soft palate, but often snoring is due to multiple sites of tissue obstruction found within the airways. During sleeping hours, particularly the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage, the muscles in the upper airway will collapse slightly causes the passageway to narrow and the tissue in them to become obstructive. This is not a problem for many snorers while they are awake because the muscle tone in their airways is sufficient to prevent the excess tissue forming a problem when breathing. Snoring can also be affected and exaggerated by overindulgence in things like alcohol, food and smoking and worsened by allergies as well as the physicality of our sleeping positions. Mouth breathing, produced in people whose nasal passages are obstructed due to sinus infections, allergies or swelling, is also a common cause of snoring as air rushes into the air passage at a far faster rate than into the nose.

Snoring can be an indicator of much more significant problems, such as upper airway resistance syndrome and sleep apnoea, both of which need proper consultation and evaluation. It is therefore important to consider the reasons why you snore, and the severity of the condition to make sure it does not lead onto more serious problems with your sleep.

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