February 20, 2023 3 min read
According to the Encyclopedia of Sleep, around half of all adults snore from time to time . Because snoring is so common, many people view occasional snoring as normal. But what if you snore on most nights or every single night? Could frequent snoring signal a health problem or even lead to problems down the line? We talk about that and more in the lines below.
Snoring is loud breathing during sleep that is a result of an obstruction in the upper airways. When your airways are obstructed, air doesn't move freely but is disorganized and turbulent. When this happens, the turbulent airflow makes the tissues in your airways rattle, causing noisy breathing we all recognize as snoring.
Many things can cause airway obstructions that lead to snoring: inflammation from colds and allergies, enlarged tonsils, a deviated septum, weak airway muscles, sedative use and excess neck weight . Many of these culprits can be treated with conservative measures to stop snoring. In other cases, treatment may require help from a sleep specialist.
While snoring is common, it is never really normal.
As already explained, snoring is the result of a problem with your upper airways. In the majority of cases, the problem that causes snoring is temporary. But when the underlying problem does not resolve on its own, snoring can become frequent and is then referred to as habitual snoring.
Habitual snoring is defined as snoring for at least three nights a week. If you snore even more than that, that may be your wake-up call. Habitual snoring is, namely, a common symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). OSA is a sleep disorder characterized by pauses in breathing and disturbed sleep, and it is a risk factor for chronic illness. Habitual snoring can even damage the nerves in the upper airways that contribute to its progression to OSA .
So, snoring every night isn’t really normal. It may not be a cause for concern but oftentimes is. Chronic snoring means that you’re struggling to breathe at night and may even indicate OSA, especially if accompanied by other symptoms, such as morning headaches, sleepiness, fatigue, trouble focusing and weight gain .
If you snore more than three nights a week and if your snoring is accompanied by symptoms of disrupted sleep, then the first thing you want to do is speak to your doctor.
Because frequent and severe snoring that causes health problems may signal sleep apnea, it’s important to first rule out this condition.
If your snoring is a recent problem, you may want to try a conservative approach first to see if it works:
If you are a back sleeper, switch to a side-sleeping position by placing pillows behind your back and using a thick support pillow to prevent neck pain.
February 20, 2024 3 min read
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