Why do we Snore While Sleeping?

Snoring is a common sleep-related issue that occurs when there is an obstruction in the free flow of air through the nose and throat during sleep. This disruption in airflow is typically attributed to the anatomy of the upper airway, encompassing the nose and throat. The primary culprit behind snoring is the partial closure of this upper respiratory tract, resulting in restricted airflow. The primary factor leading to snoring is the excessive relaxation of the muscles in the neck. When these muscles relax too much, the upper airway narrows, allowing only a minimal amount of air to reach the lungs, thus producing the characteristic snoring sound. 

What Causes Snoring ?


Reasons of Snoring: Now, let's delve into the main reasons for snoring: 

  1. Body Weight

    Excess body weight is one of the foremost causes of snoring. If your Body Mass Index (BMI) is on the higher side, you are more likely to snore. Extra weight, particularly around the neck, can put pressure on the airway, making it more likely to collapse during sleep. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle through regular exercise, a balanced diet, and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule can aid in weight management and reduce or eliminate snoring. 
  1. Smoking, Alcohol, and Drugs

    Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can adversely affect the muscles in the throat and upper airway. These substances can induce muscle relaxation, leading to breathing difficulties and, ultimately, snoring. Additionally, certain drugs and medications can have a similar effect by causing excessive muscle relaxation. 
  1. Anatomy and Body Structure

    The physical attributes and body structure of individuals play a significant role in snoring, it is one of the main reason for snoring. Men are more prone to snoring than women, primarily due to having narrower air passages. Genetic factors can also contribute to snoring, such as inherited conditions like a narrow throat, cleft palate, or enlarged adenoids. 
  1. Age

    As individuals age, changes in the throat's structure and muscle tone become more pronounced. The throat naturally narrows with age, and the muscles in the throat tend to lose some of their tone this become reason for snoring. These age-related changes can increase the likelihood of snoring. While aging is an inevitable process, it's possible to manage and reduce snoring through lifestyle adjustments, establishing healthy bedtime routines, and practicing throat exercises. 
  1. Nasal Congestion:

    Environmental factors, such as changes in climate and exposure to allergens or pollution, can often lead to nasal congestion or a blocked nose. Conditions like the common cold or allergies can cause difficulty in breathing through the nose, making it harder to draw in air. This creates a vacuum effect in the throat, promoting snoring reason as the air struggles to pass through the narrowed airway.

Now that we have talked about the reasons for snoring, in the next sections - we will be discussing: "Impact of Snoring", "Snoring Myths" & "How to Stop Snoring".


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Sleep Revitalizes your Mind, Body, & Heart

The body goes under many transformations, while it is in the state of rest during sleep. There are many essential functions that take place in the body such as tissue repair, memory and energy restoration, release of essential hormones, muscle relaxation, and others. While you are asleep, the brain releases indispensable hormones that promote tissue growth. This process helps your body rejuvenate from the daily hustle bustle. Moreover, tissue growth aids in the recovery from wounds or cuts. Sunita Kumar, Co-Director, Centre for Sleep Disorders, Loyola University Medical Centre, aptly remarks that during sleep the body produces more white blood cells, to fight countless bacteria and viruses1. The heart rate also registers a dip during sleep, which according to Ms. Kumar, strengthens the heart as it is at rest with lowered activity. Moreover, a good night’s sleep also reduces the chances of getting afflicted with heart diseases.

Good Sleep = Sharp Memory

Sleep is a time, when becomes sharp and strong. Sleep quantity and quality play a fundamental role in determining what one remembers and what one doesnt. Therefore, development of long-term memory (LTM) from short-term memory (STM) happens during sleep.  Scientific researches state that the brain follows a different mechanism for storing memories through the hippocampus and neo-cortex areas. Hippocampus helps you to remember your life experiences (childhood memories), while the neo-cortex is responsible for remembering the concepts you learn (name of a color). Communications and sync between the two, helps in learning new data and updating old ones.

Sleep Steers Hormonal Hunger

Sleep not only affects your energy levels and mental functions, but also regulates your body weight. Improper sleep is related to the increasing cases of obesity, worldwide2. Many hormones which regulate the feeling of hunger (ghrelin) and signal the feeling of being full (leptin), are all influenced by the quality of your sleep.  Leptin: This is also known as satiety hormone, which is produced by the fat cells of the body. It prevents overeating by sending signals to the brain that the body does not require more food, as there is enough to fuel the body.  Ghrelin: This hunger hormone is produced in the gastrointestinal tract, which signifies the body that there is need for food. This hormone rises in the body, when you feel hungry and decreases when you have consumed some food.  Studies show that people who have disrupted patterns of sleep - have larger appetite, because of higher ghrelin secretion and lowered secretion of leptin. This imbalance in the secretion of these hormones is a result of improper sleep patterns3.