10 Causes of Snoring

By nigel
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We all know what snoring is. Whether this is because we struggle with snoring ourselves or because we’ve slept in the same bed or the same room as someone who likes to blow the nasal horn while they’re sleeping is irrelevant. What’s interesting, however, is that while basically everyone is aware of what snoring is, not everyone knows what causes it.

The thing that actually results in the sound of snoring is when the upper airway vibrates. This usually happens near the back of your throat, which is known as the oropharynx. This happens to both humans and animals.

That said, there are a great number of things that could contribute to vibration in this part of your throat. In fact, there are many different causes of snoring. Most of them are simple and don’t indicate any medical health issue. However, some of the more serious causes of snoring can be an indication that you need some medical help. Today we are going to outline the most common causes of snoring so you can decide whether or not you’re actually in need of medical help.

Cause #1: Relaxed Muscles

When we are sleeping, we generally begin breathing through our nose. However, if we’re not able to get enough air in through the nasal passageways, our mouth will open to allow extra air in. This is generally the first step that leads to someone snoring.

Snoring is much more likely to occur if the muscles in the back of your throat relax. Most of our muscles relax when we go to sleep, including those in the back of the throat, but some people are more sensitive to the relaxing of their muscles. In this case, if the muscles relax so much they can cause a mild obstruction in the respiratory pathway. This isn’t usually dangerous and is among the most common causes of snoring.

Cause #2: Swollen or Enlarged Tonsils

The tonsils are very important. They are each a cluster of lymphoid tissues and they are highly involved in the prevention of bacterial infections and the endless fight against germs and pathogens.

Sometimes, if they are processing an infection or fighting off some bacteria, the tonsils become swollen. This can lead to problems like tonsillitis. When the tonsils are swollen, they can obstruct the airways in the back of your throat which can make it more difficult for air to pass through. This can contribute to snoring.


Cause #3: Adenoids

The adenoids function in a very similar manner to tonsils. The main difference between the adenoids and the tonsils is that the adenoids are located closer to the back of your nose instead of the back of your throat. They sit on the roof of your mouth, towards the back.

Since the adenoids are involved in the warding off of infections just like the tonsils are, they can also become inflamed and swollen. And, just as a swollen tonsil can impact the airway and contribute to snoring, so can a swollen adenoid.

Cause #4: Deviated Septum

The septum is the hard part of our nose, made of cartilage, that actually separates the nasal cavity. Because of the septum, we have two nostrils instead of one larger cavity.

A deviated septum is a septum that has some sort of internal damage. Since the septum is responsible for giving shape and structure to the nasal cavity, one can imagine how a deviation in the septum – such as a bump or a concave section – can contribute to snoring by blocking the airways.


Cause #5: Enlarged Turbinates

The turbinates are shelf-like structures that are situated in your nasal cavity. The name turbinates comes from the fact that these little shelves are what create turbulence in your nostrils when you’re breathing in. They are intended to help prevent dirt from entering your lungs as well as to prevent the air from rushing in too quickly before it’s warmed up.

Allergies, infections, and other health problems can cause the turbinates to become enlarged. This can lead to snoring.

Cause #6: Alcohol

If you have friends or family who drink heavily, you may have noticed that there is a correlation between a person’s alcohol consumption and the likelihood that they will snore. This isn’t a coincidence.

Alcohol is known for being a depressant. Depressants are known for relaxing the nervous system and the muscles in our body, and the muscles at the back of the throat are no exception. For this reason, when people have drank too much, the resulting relaxation may obstruct the airways and thus lead to snoring.


Cause #7: Genetics

You may have also noticed that the family members of people who snore also have a tendency to snore. This is because snoring can be genetic.

The genes in our DNA are passed on from parent to child, and there is no exception to the genes that may make you more likely to develop a problem with snoring.

Cause #8: Obesity

Being overweight is one of the leading causes of snoring. An obese person will have more fatty tissues in their necks and the surrounding areas, which can weigh down on their throat.

The result can be that their airways are compressed by this extra weight and it can become harder to take a deep breath without the air being obstructed.


Cause #9: Lack of Exercise

It’s not just important to watch your weight, it’s important to make sure that you stay physically active and healthy. If you don’t use the muscles in your body, they will fall out of use and become a burden.

While it’s not exactly easy to exercise the muscles in the back of your throat, it’s still important to exercise the rest of your body. This will improve blood flow and oxygenation, and thus your overall health, making it easier for you to avoid snoring.

Cause #10: Growing Old

Another thing that you may have noticed is that people are more likely to snore when they grow older. This is because our muscles become increasingly more relaxed as we grow older.

Furthermore, many people tend to put on weight when they get older. This, in combination with the relaxation that our muscles develop, can put pressure on our airways and lead to snoring.

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