Snoring definition and facts:
- Snoring is caused by vibrating tissues within the airways of the nose and throat.
- The vibrations that cause snoring are caused by turbulent airflow through narrowed airways.
- Snoring is affected by the stage of sleep and sleeping position.
- Snoring also may be a sign of an underlying medical problem.
- Medications and alcohol and increase snoring.
- Snoring may be a problem for family members and sleeping partners of the snorer.
What is snoring?
Snoring is caused by vibrations of soft tissue in our throat. The vibrations occur when there is a constriction of the airway and the air has to move faster through the constriction in order to take in the same amount of air with each breath.
While we sleep, turbulent airflow causes the tissues of the palate (roof of the mouth) and throat to vibrate, giving rise to the sound of snoring. Basically, snoring is a sound resulting from turbulent airflow that causes tissues to vibrate during sleep.
How common is snoring?
Any person can snore. Normally, people who do not regularly snore will report snoring after after drinking alcohol in the evening, allergies or being under the weather.
People who snore can have any body type. We usually think of a large man with a thick neck as a snorer. However, a thin woman with a small neck can snore just as loudly. Also, as people get older and as they gain weight, snoring will worsen.
What causes snoring?
While we are breathing, air flows in and out in a steady stream between our nose or mouth and our lungs. There are few sounds when we are sitting and breathing quietly. When we exercise, the air moves more quickly and produces some sounds as we breathe heavier and deeper. This happens because air is moving in and out of the nose and mouth faster. This results in more turbulence to the airflow and some vibration of the tissues in the nose and mouth.
When we asleep, the area at the back of the throat can narrow or collapse as the muscles around the airway relax. The same amount of air must get to the lungs. Because the airway is now smaller the air must move faster causing the tissues surrounding the opening to vibrate. This vibration causes the sounds of snoring.
Snoring Symptoms and Signs
Snoring is a sound resulting from turbulent airflow that causes the tissues of the nose and throat to vibrate during sleep. The turbulent air flow is related to a narrowing at some point in the nose, mouth, or throat.
Snoring and your Health
Why do people snore?
When breathing at rest, it is ideal to breathe through the nose. The nose acts as a heater, humidifier, and filter for the incoming air. When we breathe through our mouth, these alterations to the air entering our lungs occur to a lesser extent. Therefore, our bodies naturally want to breathe through the nose if possible.
The nose is made up of two parallel passages, one on each side, called the nasal cavities. The nasal cavaties are separated by a thin wall (the septum), which is a relatively flat wall of cartilage, bone, and lining tissue (called the nasal mucosa). On the lateral side of each passage, there are three nasal turbinates, that are long, cylindrical-shaped structures that lie roughly parallel to the floor of the nose. The turbinates contain many small blood vessels that function to regulate airflow. If the blood vessels in the turbinates increase in size, the turbinate as a whole swells, and the flow of air decreases. If the vessels narrow, the turbinates become smaller and airflow increases. The turbinates may also swell from allergic reactions or external stimuli, such as cold air or dirt.
Humans naturally want to breathe through our noses. However, some people cannot breathe through their noses because of obstruction of the nasal passages. This can be caused by a deviation of the nasal septum, allergies, sinus infections, swelling of the turbinates, or large tonsils.
In adults, the most common causes of nasal obstruction are septal deviations from a broken nose or tissue swelling from allergies.
In children, enlarged adenoids (tonsils in the back of the throat) are often the cause of the obstruction.
People with nasal airway obstruction who must breathe through their mouths are therefore sometimes called “mouth breathers.” Many mouth breathers snore, because the flow of air through the mouth causes greater vibration of tissues.
If you snore, doctor Nugent can help you. He can make a custom dental appliance that opens up your airway during sleeping. When the airway is opened up there is less to no vibration of the soft tissue in the back of the throat. Sleep better and snore free with Dr. Nugent Call our office today at 832-487-0647. We are located at 3421 Burke Rd #1, Pasadena, Texas 77504.