Cartoons and movies might make snoring look funny, but it’s actually a serious condition. Not only can it affect your quality of sleep and the quality of sleep of anyone who is in the same room as you, but it can also lead to health complications. So what exactly is snoring? It’s the sound of air trying to leave your body. If your airway isn’t clearly open, it can result in snoring which is the sound of your tissues vibrating as you breathe.

One of the best ways to combat your snoring problem is by identifying its cause. If you’re not sure what’s causing your snoring, check out the 11 most common causes of snoring.

1. Alcohol Consumption

young woman laying on her stomach, snoringIf you’re drinking alcohol late in the day, it can affect your sleep and cause you to snore. This is because alcohol is a relaxant and relaxes the muscles in your throat. When you sleep, the relaxed muscles can obstruct the airway and cause you to snore. Alcohol also disturbs your sleep cycle. Overall, drinking alcohol is not good for your quality of sleep. Pay attention to whether or not you snore on nights you drink alcohol. If you notice you only snore when you drink, stopping drinking can help you find relief from nights of snoring.

2. Weight

Carrying excess weight can impact more than your heart and your joints, it can also impact your sleep. Fat usually doesn’t deposit in just one spot on your body; it distributes throughout your body. One of the areas it can accumulate within your neck. As your neck grows in girth, the extra fat will begin to put pressure on your throat which can then cause your airway to become obstructed. Losing weight can help you stop snoring at night.

3. Nasal Problems

Allergies, colds, the flu, and a deviated septum are some of the nasal problems that can cause you to snore at night. Addressing the main cause of your nasal problems can help you stop snoring at night. For instance, taking medicine for allergies, your cold, or the flu can help you breathe at night. A deviated septum usually requires surgery to fix.

4. Sleep Position

The position you sleep in can play a huge role in your quality of sleep and whether or not you snore. For instance, when you sleep on your back, gravity causes the soft tissues in the throat to fall back and obstruct your airway. Simply switching your sleeping position from your back to your side can stop you from snoring. To get used to sleeping on your side, tape a tennis ball to the back of your shirt. If you roll over onto your back at night, the tennis ball will make you feel uncomfortable and then cause you to roll back to your side. Eventually, you will train yourself to stay on your side.

5. Age

Sleep habits can change with age. Falling asleep might take longer and it might not feel as restorative as you age. Aging can also cause you to snore because your tongue and throat muscles begin to relax more with age. As they relax, they cause mild obstruction to your airway and cause you to snore.

6. Smoking

Smoking anything from cigarettes, pipe tobacco, and cigars can cause inflammation to the tissue that lines the airway. As a result, it can cause swelling, narrowing, and postnasal drip. The disruption can then cause snoring during sleep. The only way to find out if smoking is the cause of your snoring is to quit smoking to see if your condition improves.

7. Throat and Nose Conditions

Medical conditions in your throat or nose can also cause you to snore at night. For instance, if you have a deviated septum or nasal polyps, you won’t be able to breathe properly through your nose which can cause you to snore. On the flip side, if you have enlarged tonsils or adenoids, it can obstruct your airway and cause snoring. The best way to find out if a nose or throat condition is the cause of your snoring is to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist. You may be recommended surgery to fix your problem.

8. Medications

Taking certain medications like muscle relaxers can cause the muscles in your throat to relax which will result in snoring. Take note of whether or not you snore when you take muscle relaxers. If you do snore when you take them, then you know not to take them unless absolutely necessary.

9. Pregnancy

Nearly 30% of pregnant women begin to snore in their last trimester. This is due to the uterus pushing into the diaphragm. Snoring should stop after giving birth.

10. Anatomy

Your anatomy including your jaw, throat, neck, or tongue can be the cause of your snoring. A low and thick palate can cause your airway to narrow. Your tongue might also not rest in the correct position. Oral appliance therapy can often help resolve snoring as a result of mouth anatomy.

11. Sleep Apnea

The last most common cause of snoring is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a serious condition that causes you to stop breathing throughout the night and is a result of an obstructed airway. Other symptoms of sleep apnea include waking up feeling like you didn’t sleep, weight gain, morning headaches, loss of focus or motivation, and frequent urination at night.

If you think you might have sleep apnea, it’s important to seek diagnosis and treatment immediately. Without treatment, the condition can increase your risk of health conditions.

Once you receive a sleep apnea diagnosis, Dr. Pribyl can help you find the right sleep apnea treatment for your needs. We offer a wide range of oral appliances that will help you sleep snore-free. If you don’t have sleep apnea but still can’t find a snoring treatment that can help, please don’t hesitate to visit us for a consultation. One of our oral appliances might be just what you need to sleep snore-free.

Please call (816) 795-1000 to book an appointment at the Center for TMJ & Sleep Apnea in Lee’s Summit, MO today.