Thursday, 16 May 2013

Why Do We Snore?

Young children are always playing one version or another of pretend games. One odd thing occurs when they pretend to be asleep; they embellish their faux-sleeping with snores, some loud and long and some accompanied by whistling as they exhale. This may perhaps have been inspired by cartoons, TV shows, and movies since animators, script writers, and directors have often used snoring sleepers as the perfect indicator of deep sleep in characters within the story.

Although some time back snoring was often viewed as a source of humour and generally harmless, research has revealed that there is more to snoring than meets the eye. It is emerging that snoring greatly affects the wellness and well-being of those who snore as well as those who sleep next to them, taking a physical as well as emotional toll on everyone. It is therefore important to understand the causes of snoring in order to be able to manage it.

Snoring is essentially caused by the vibration of soft tissues in the nasal passage. What happens, biologically speaking, is that the nasal airways relax and the upper airways collapse to the extent that breathing causes the soft tissues to vibrate. It is triggered by different factors. Some of these are physical, others health related, while others are lifestyle related. Physical causes of snoring have to do with the positioning of one’s body during sleep. For instance, people who sleep on their backs are more likely to snore. Elderly people also generally tend to snore due to muscular weakness which comes with age.

Health related causes of snoring fall into various categories. The first category consists of factors that cause the blockage or stuffiness of nasal passages such as allergies or minor ailments like colds and flus. Coupled with these are illnesses that affect upper respiratory passages such as bronchitis or nasal polyps. People who are obese tend to snore heavily in their sleep too. People who use sedatives or those who may have temporary prescription medication that contains some form of sedative or another are also likely to snore in their sleep in the duration that they are taking the medication.

In recent years, snoring has increased among the human populace. Research has shown that changes in lifestyle, eating, drinking, and socialising habits have caused snoring to be on the rise. Among these factors are lack of exercise, high levels of alcohol consumption, smoking, and overeating.

All these factors and more tend to lead to even further health and mental conditions and risks, the biggest being obstructive sleep apnoea and fatigue in adults. In children it's attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, as well as decreased mental functionality and learning ability.

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