What Causes Snoring?

Snoring can cause trouble sleeping

Snoring has quite a few causes but they all lead to a narrowed airway. A narrowed airway causes the air being breathed in to push against the obstructed portion of the upper airway. This pushing causes a vibration in the airway leading to sound. But what causes snoring?


What Causes Snoring?

There are various causes for snoring that vary from your age to your sleep posture. There are specific causes though, which are:

  • Age
  • Sleep Posture
  • Weight
  • Nasal Congestion
  • Excessive Drinking or Smoking



Age can affect snoring

As you grow older, your tongue and soft palate start to sag which can narrow your airway causing snoring. A sagging airway is, generally, due to a decrease in muscle mass in the tongue as well as the soft palate. The decrease in muscle mass causes the tongue and soft palate’s ability to hold themselves up to also decrease, causing the airway to narrow. This is fairly common, but especially as women hit menopause. Menopause can cause the upper airway to weaken and sag due to the change in hormone levels.


Sleep Posture

Sleeping on your back can cause your soft palate and tongue to sag and narrow your airway. Changing position in which you sleep can help decrease snoring and also increase overall comfort. Another way to reduce or stop snoring due to sleep posture is to use a different pillow. The pillow can tilt your head up more, allowing the soft palate and tongue to sag less and open the airway to allow.



Being overweight can also cause a saggy soft palate and tongue due to an increase in tissue in the throat area. This can be prevented by watching your weight as well as creating a way to decrease weight in a healthy manner. Losing weight can cause the tissue build up in the throat to decrease and possibly be replaced by muscle and decrease the possibility of snoring. Another way to help work out the soft palate and tongue is to use our app, Soundly. The app is a game which requires vocal input, which are words specifically chosen to strengthen the soft palate and tongue to reduce upper airway sagging.


Nasal Congestion

Nasal congestion can increase snoring

Nasal congestion can be due to a buildup of mucus or other bodily fluids. It is generally due to a cold but can be associated with more severe diseases such as a sinus infection. Nasal congestion can cause snoring by narrowing the airway and sometimes blocking it completely in the nasal cavity causing one to breathe through their mouth. Snoring caused by nasal congestion generally goes away since it is generally due to a cold which is not associated with a weak upper airway.




Excessive Drinking or Smoking

Excessive drinking and/or smoking can cause snoring by relaxing the upper airway. This can cause that area to sag and, again, narrow the airway. If you are going to drink any alcohol before bed, it is recommended to finish at least three hours before going to bed. This allows your body to metabolize most of the alcohol before sleep which allows your soft palate and tongue to regain most of their strength. Smoking, on the other hand, causes nasal congestion which also increases chances of snoring. To prevent snoring from smoking it is recommended to stop which will provide many more health benefits rather than just snoring.

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