Sleep is an integral part of our lives, but sometimes, it is accompanied by an annoying, persistent, loud disturbance that is snoring. Snoring is simply "noisy breathing during sleep." It's a common problem across all ages and genders as it afflicts 90 million American adults.
It can lead to serious problems if it remains unnoticed. It can affect your everyday life when you're sleep-deprived due to intermittent waking up in the middle of your sleep. It can also fall into sleep apnea, which halts your breathing while enjoying a night's rest. Nevertheless, snoring should never be overlooked.
During sleep, the muscles in the body relax. This includes the roof of the mouth, the tongue, and the throat. These can be too relaxed that it causes a blockage of the airway. Because the airway is obstructed, airflow becomes stronger, causing the throat to vibrate.
There are several things that can cause snoring: alcohol consumption, weight, allergies, colds.
- Alcohol consumption: Because alcohol is a depressant, it relaxes the body and makes you sleepy. Going out for drinks right before sleeping can cause the throat to be a little too relaxed.
- Weight: Those who are overweight may suffer from narrower airways, causing it to be more difficult to breathe during sleep.
- Allergies: Allergies can obstruct the airway due to swelling, which is why there are people whose snoring is only seasonal.
- Colds: The mucus and sinus infection from colds narrow the airway. If it's already difficult to breathe when you're awake, imagine what it does when you're asleep.
The risks of snoring
Snoring is a huge inconvenience for everyone within earshot. Sometimes, it even reverberates through the walls. It's just something you can't ignore.
However, snoring does not only disturb other people's sleep, but it also disrupts yours. Worse, it causing other health-related problems as well:
- Sleep deprivation/poor sleep: Because there are times at night when you completely can't breathe (sleep apnea), you tend to wake up in the middle of your sleep. This is the major effect of snoring, and it can branch out to more problems because of sleep deprivation:
- impairs the cognitive processes
- increases the risk of heart diseases, and
- causes weight gain.
When to call a doctor
An otolaryngologist or ENT physician specializes in head and neck disorders. ENT stands for ears, nose, and throat as these three are connected. They do surgeries, diagnoses, and treatments.
They treat "diseases of the sinuses, larynx (voice box), oral cavity, and upper pharynx (mouth and throat), as well as structures of the neck and face." One of the disorders happens to be snoring.
There are ENT physicians in Spanish Fork and other parts of the US that you can call when snoring has become a huge disturbance in your life:
- Sleep deprivation is causing you to be extremely tired that you fall asleep in any situation. Know that this is dangerous as you can fall asleep while driving.
- The snoring is getting loud. The louder the snore, the more obstructed the airway is.
- When there are intervals where the snorer stops breathing, it might develop into sleep apnea.
It's imperative to get checked by a physician when the symptoms get worse. It's also best to have a roommate who can observe your snoring and sleeping patterns so that they can inform the physician.