How and why do we snore?

Unfortunately for all of us, snoring is one of the loudest noises a human can make. Noise levels of up to 92 decibels have been recorded which would make it quite impossible to sleep next to such a beast. Even more unfortunately, it’s an automatic version of the noise we use to infer derision or to imitate swine.

The physiology of snoring, what is actually happening is quite simple. Snoring occurs when our air passages are slightly blocked, that is either the nose or the throat. This causes vibration in the soft palate and the ovular which you can see dangling down the back of your throat (those aren’t in fact your tonsils).

There are a number of factors contributing towards the air blockage that causes snoring. It can be triggered by simply sleeping at the wrong angle, or by taking too many relaxants prior to sleeping, i.e. going to bed drunk.

Snoring is not good for you. Snorers have increased risk of stroke and heart attack. In extreme cases snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnoea, which is where your body struggles to intake enough oxygen while you sleep.

Losing a bit of weight can often help with snoring as fatty deposits around the throat contribute to airway blockage. Also try sleeping at a different angle as lying on your back makes you far more likely to snore. There are also surgical procedures available, braces to hold your tongue in the correct position and for severe sufferers of sleep apnoea, pressurised air to ensure oxygen supply.

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