Snoring is one of the most common and annoying problems your bedtime can encounter. You’ve probably snored once or twice, or have slept next to someone whose chest rumbles like a dying old car. According to a study that surveyed thousands of people, around one fifth of them snored regularly. Even though this problem is very typical, if it’s particularly strong, it can affect your sleeping habits, which in turn affect your overall health.
Popular Science reports that snoring occurs when the tissues in the back of people’s throats obstruct their airways, vibrating as they inhale and exhale and producing that low rumbling sound.
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While snoring is different than sleep apnea, the former is a symptom of the latter. Sleep apnea is much more serious, and it occurs when peoples’ airways close completely, leaving their brains depleted of oxygen for a few seconds which then jars them awake. The more this brain shutdown occurs, the larger the damage is.
According to sleep physician Neil Kline, differentiating sleep apnea from common snoring can be done by paying attention to certain factors. “If you have snoring accompanied by excessive daytime sleepiness, witnessed pauses in breathing during sleep, gasping during sleep, or the presence of other health disorders, a visit to the doctor is recommended,” he says.
If you’re experiencing some traditional good old snoring, there are a few things you can do to help you stop it or control it a much as possible. Changing your sleeping position can help, especially if the snoring is mild. Most snorers sleep on their backs. Consuming alcohol also increases the likelihood of snoring, especially when consumed before bedtime, so try to avoid doing that if you’re sleeping with someone and they’re exhausted of the sounds you make while sleeping.
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Other factors that influence your snoring is being overweight because more tissue surrounds your airways, causing stronger vibrations. There are also anti-snoring mouthpieces, which won’t make you look cute, but will widen your airway and help manage your breathing.