That is a good question. For many of us who either snore or have to endure a night sleeping next to someone who snores, it can be somewhat of a mystery. Sometimes the snoring just appears out of nowhere and often it disappears without a trace. Or does it? Many different possibilities can answer the question of "what causes someone to start snoring?".
A few of them may even surprise you. In this article, we will go over the most common causes of snoring.
What Is Snoring?
Let’s begin looking at what causes someone to start snoring by first understanding what snoring is. It is a loud and vibrating noise that is created by your throat when the windpipe is partially blocked. Typically, people who snore only do so when they are asleep and only produce the snoring noise when there is an obstruction in their airways.
To solve the mystery of why someone snores, the solution lies in finding out whatever it is that is causing that obstruction. There are several common reasons and we will look at each of them below.
Oddly enough, your gender and age can have an impact on whether or not you are going to start snoring. Younger women are less likely to snore than their male counterparts, however, post-menopausal women are as likely to start snoring as their male partners. It doesn't sound fair, does it? You can blame that on the hormonal changes that occur during menopause and this is a proven fact because data shows that menopausal women who undergo hormonal therapy also report that their snoring decreases.
What is not known is how exactly hormones are connected to snoring, and how exactly they end up obstructing airways. The positive takeaway here is that for women who started snoring after menopause, there is a simple solution.
If you are a drinker and have, for some reason, increased the volume of alcohol you consume, you may start snoring. That is because alcohol is a muscle relaxant. What happens when you drink an excessive amount of alcohol is that your throat muscle can constrict which will reduce the amount of air that will pass through your throat naturally.
All you have to do is monitor the amount of alcohol you consume that results in snoring and reduce that volume. If that doesn’t solve the snoring problem, you may be faced with having to find an alternative to alcohol.
Okay, it may sound silly to have getting married on a list of things determining what causes someone to start snoring, but it does belong here. But it is on this list for a reason other than what you may be thinking. Sure, you are not going to suddenly start snoring just because you have legally created a partnership with the person you are lying next to in bed. However, having that legal union with the person you are sleeping next to will now make you more aware of your sleeping habits.
Remember, we told you that snoring only occurs when you are sleeping. Now that you are sleeping with another person in your bed, your snoring is going to either wake that person up or become the topic of several discussions. You may never have been aware of your snoring before getting married. It’s got nothing to do with the stress of starting your life as a couple.
An injury or conditions like Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) or Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) are related to snoring. This is simple to understand as a misaligned jaw impacts the position of the tongue in your mouth.
While sleeping, the poorly positioned tongue can block your throat. Since we all know that an obstructed airway results in snoring, the blocked throat will produce the snoring sound. Jaw misalignment is best remedied by a dentist and once the jaw is repaired and is positioned correctly, your snoring should come to an end.
Lack of Exercise
When you think about it, not getting enough exercise can contribute to many different health issues. As it turns out, snoring is also on that list. The reason for this is that muscle mass in your neck and throat is lost when you do not lead an active lifestyle. With less muscle mass, it makes sense that airways can collapse when you are sleeping which results in snoring.
What this means is that exercise is good for your overall health, although it will be difficult to pin down whether or not a lack of exercise is causing you to snore. But it won’t hurt you to start going to the gym, just because.
Do you read the small print on the sides of boxes and bottles that contain various medications? If you haven’t, you may be shocked to learn that in the list of side effects that should appear on those labels, snoring tends to appear. The reason for that is logical, most medications are muscle relaxants. For individuals who require anti-anxiety medications such as diazepam or lorazepam, they often report snoring as a new part of their sleep routine.
Think of these medications as causing the same conditions as alcohol - the contract throat muscles which obstruct airways. The quick solution is to stop taking these medications but you should consult with a medical professional first to confirm that the medication may be the cause of your snoring.
This one is right up there with a lack of exercise. If you have suddenly put on some extra weight, believe it or not, that extra weight has also increased around your neck and throat. Only it won’t be muscle mass and the extra fat cells that are gathering in the area will increase your chances of having your airways collapsing when sleeping. The solution to prevent this from happening is the same one for a lack of exercise - start getting active.
Several oral issues can result in snoring. One common one is partially erupted wisdom teeth. What happens when a wisdom tooth breaks through gum tissue is that if the tooth does not fully erupt, it causes something called pericoronitis. Pericoronitis is where the tissue that covers part of the wisdom tooth becomes infected. The infection will lead to swelling and inflammation which results in snoring.
That is because the swelling will partially obstruct your airway. Your dentist will be able to determine if you have pericoronitis and can remedy the situation. It is also important to note that even if the partially erupted wisdom tooth is not causing your snoring, it should still be treated to prevent other health issues from developing.
What causes someone to start snoring? It comes down to one source - an obstructed windpipe. What is interesting about that is the many different ways that a windpipe can be blocked. Things like alcohol, aging, a lack of exercise, weight gain, medication use, jaw misalignment, erupting wisdom teeth, and even getting married (although not exactly what you may be thinking) can all contribute to someone suddenly starting to snore.
The best part of this mystery is that there is a simple solution. By figuring out what is causing the airway blockage will solve the problem with snoring.