Why Do People Snore?
When the structures of the upper airway vibrate, usually as the person inhales, the vibration produces the sound we call snoring. This is the basic answer to the question “Why do people snore?” The verb snore itself is etymologically related to a couple of Old English words that respectively mean “sneezing” and “to breathe heavily.”
Any of the membranous parts of the airway that lack cartilaginous support can vibrate. The parts involved in finding answers to “Why do people snore?” include the tongue, soft palate, tonsillar pillars, uvula, and pharyngeal walls.
When a person is asleep, his or her muscles become hypotonic, which simply means that muscle tone throughout the body decreases. Relaxation of muscles in the upper airway can decrease the airway space and thus cause limitation and turbulence of airflow. When turbulent airflow is combined with hypotonic airway structures, the result is a harsh vibratory noise.
After asking “Why do people snore?” you might then ask whether snoring is an illness. It is not considered an illness but a symptom. Snoring can be a symptom of a disorder called obstructive sleep apnea, which we can consider as another possible answer to “Why do people snore?” Other symptoms that characterize obstructive sleep apnea are labored breathing and recurring obstructive pauses or gasps while a person breathes during sleep.
Snoring that is not accompanied by other symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea may be a sign that the snorer is at risk for hypertension. How snoring, by itself, could cause problems remains mysterious.
The answers when asking “Why do people snore?” can be influenced by factors like age, weight, allergies, nasal obstruction, alcohol consumption, smoking, and use of sedatives or muscle relaxants. When you know some possible causes of snoring, the next thing you could ask about may be remedies to the problem.
Snoring has been known to decrease when one sleeps on one’s side or in a semi-upright position instead of on one’s back. Encouraging either of these two favorable positions can involve solutions like wedge-shaped pillows that prop you up in bed.
Some people use a simple noninvasive device to open the nasal passages, which is known as a nasal strip or an external nasal dilator. Like a bandage, it attaches to the outside of the nose and gently lifts or opens the nasal passages.
An oral appliance or a nasal continuous positive airway pressure device may be used for preventing one’s tongue and soft palate from collapsing into the upper airway. If the less invasive measures do not do the trick, you may have to consider surgical procedures.