Are You Overweight?
Overeating and/or lack of exercise leads to an increase in fat around the throat. If you have a collar size of 16Â½” or greater, you may not have the muscle tone needed to keep the airway open sufficiently at night to allow normal breathing, and the narrow airway is more likely to vibrate. A patient with a short fat neck is likely to suffer obstruction in the oropharynx during sleep which gives rise to the noise of snoring.
Excess body fat seems to be more of a problem for men than for women. Men tend to put on weight around their necks and waists, whereas women seem to put on weight around the thighs. This means that when you lay on your back your the fatty tissue adds pressure onto the airway blocking it off. In women, the cross sectional area of the upper airway is greater and the airway walls may be less flexible and therefore less prone to yield to pressure. As a result, collapse of the airway is resisted when muscle tone falls during sleep. This means that women are less likely to snore than men. However, this situation very often changes for women following the menopause. Like men, as women get older their muscle tone tends to diminish and they put on more weight. By the time women have reached the age of approximately 70 years they are just as likely to be snorers as men of the same age. You may wish to consider consulting a GP, dietian or even a fitness programme.
Do You Want To Stop Smoking?
Cigarette smoke irritates the lining of the nasal cavity and throat causing swelling and catarrah. If the nasal passages become congested it is difficult to breathe through your nose because the airflow is decreased. The likelihood of snoring increases as more cigarettes are smoked per day because the congestion increases with each cigarette. Even passive smoking can cause chronic inflammation of the nose and throat passages, thus increasing the risk of snoring. Children of parents who smoke are more likely to be affected by snoring than children of non smoking parents.
Alcohol and Sedatives
Alcohol travels to all areas of the body and slows the brain’s responses, causing the muscles to relax. Alcohol also acts as a depressant. The relaxation of the musculator causes the oropharynx to collapse causing snoring. Additionally alcohol can induce obstructive sleep apnoea (where breathing stops for short periods during sleep) in individuals who are otherwise just snorers.
Some anti-depressants and other drugs can also act in the same way. This is because drugs themselves contain sedative properties. It may be wise if you are on medication to consult your doctor regarding this issue.
Alcohol causes nasal airway irritation which increases the airway resistance when breathing. The consumption of alcohol affects every organ and system in the body. It can damage heart tissue and elevate blood pressure. It also has a high caloric content, and people who are heavy drinkers are often overweight.
Nasal stuffiness is another common reason for mouth breathing, as we tend to breathe with our mouth open to compensate for not being able to breathe through the nose. You may also like to try some steam inhalation.
Allergic Rhinitis is a common cause of snoring. This allergic inflammation of the nose can cause the partial obstruction that gives rise to snoring sounds. Dust and the dung of the house dust mite can cause nasal congestion similar to the symptoms displayed by those individuals who smoke. The allergy related conditions of asthma and eczema are also associated with snoring problems.
Your nasal problem could also be caused by physical abnormalities such as polyps. Polyps are a collective of mass tissue resembling a bunch of grapes. Their presence essentially blocks the airway. If you believe that you may suffer from polyps you should contact an ENT surgeon who will be happy to give your nasal airway a full examination.
Sleeping position can sometimes be the cause. The main reason for this is that when you lay on your back your tongue is more likely to fall back into the throat blocking off the airway. Also the fatty tissue around your neck can add pressure on the airway.