Who snores and why?

About 30% of the entire adult population snores constantly during sleep. A snoring person cannot hear himself, but often he gets upset because of the inconvenience that he brings to the people nearby. Sometimes these people themselves regularly remind the “snorer” that he brings discomfort to others …   

Thus, snoring is a social problem that can provoke family conflicts. However, both the snorer and the people around him often perceive snoring as an unpleasant but harmless sound phenomenon. Alas, this is not the case.    

Italian scientists have come to the conclusion that night snoring leads to destructive changes in the brain, contributes to a decrease in mental abilities, and complicated snoring also causes significant damage to health.

Why does snoring occur?

During normal sleep, the muscles of the tongue and soft palate are toned and keep the upper airway open. If these muscles relax too much, the airway narrows and the passage of air is disrupted. When inhaling and exhaling, the relaxed part of the pharynx – the root of the tongue, the soft palate, the walls of the pharynx – begin to vibrate, making an intermittent sound, which we hear when a sleeping person snores. 

Snoring occurs against a background of causes that cause narrowing of the airways or an excessive decrease in muscle tone during sleep. There can be many specific reasons for the appearance of snoring : these are diseases of the nose, pharynx, larynx, and an enlarged uvula, an enlarged and sagging soft palate, a large tongue. A decrease in muscle tone may be associated with age-related changes, obesity, alcohol intake, sleeping pills (especially the phenazepam group), and smoking. In addition, chronic rhinitis and various diseases of the nasopharynx play a significant role in the occurrence of snoring.   

An example of monstrous snoring that went down in history is Winston Churchill. The British prime minister loved cognac and cigars. At night he gave out such trills of snoring that Lady Churchill fled in panic from the marital bed and spent several decades of their long, happy family life in a separate bedroom with special soundproofing.

Snoring can be complicated or uncomplicated. Uncomplicated snoring is called uniform snoring, in which there are no sharp changes in its volume and tone. A person constantly snores, but at the same time his breathing during sleep is not disturbed, he gets enough sleep, he is not worried about daytime sleepiness and other complaints.  

Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome is a complicated snoring. It is manifested by snoring and periodic pauses in breathing during sleep, when loved ones, looking at the sleeping person, can observe periods of frightening silence followed by loud snoring. Sometimes there can be up to 400 – 500 respiratory stops per night for a total duration of up to 3 – 4 hours. 

Frequent respiratory arrests lead to severe lack of oxygen during the night, which significantly increases the risk of developing severe cardiac arrhythmias, myocardial infarction, stroke and sudden death during sleep. A person snores all night and has no idea what stressful state his body is in, especially the cardiovascular system.  

The main “provocateur” of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome is overweight. For men, it is enough to exceed 20% of the ideal weight for them to develop snoring. A woman snores if this value corresponds to + 30-40% of the initial body weight.  

Check out this short video that shows the mechanisms behind snoring and sleep apnea and the consequences for the body.

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