Why do we snore? Causes of snoring in adults

05.08.2018 00:00

Why do we snore? Causes of snoring in adults

Snoring is not only disturbing. It puts the nerves of the bed partner to a hard test and - in connection with nocturnal breathing stops - it can also endanger the health. About 10 percent of men and 5 percent of women under the age of 30 snore. Beyond the age of 45, about 62 percent of men and 45 percent of women snore. How does the night-time noise develop and when does snoring become dangerous?

Why do we snore?

A part of the upper respiratory tract, especially the area between the soft palate and the larynx, mainly consists of muscles. If these muscles are tense, the throat area is widened. If the muscles slacken during sleep, the lower jaw and tongue fall back. Especially in the supine position, the upper airways are narrowed. As a result, the breathing air is sucked in faster and with higher pressure. This leads to a vibration or fluttering of the soft tissue (soft palate and uvula) and thus to the typical snoring noise.

Causes of snoring in adults

Habitual snoring (also called primary snoring) can have different causes. One of the most common causes is the sleep in supine position. When people sleep on their backs, the lower jaw and tongue fall backwards and can block the upper airways. Weight and age also play a role. In overweight patients, the fat also accumulates in the mouth and throat area narrowing the airways. With increasing age, the muscle tension decreases. Another cause of snoring is the consumption of stimulants. Alcohol and medication relax the muscles, causing the tissue to slacken. Moreover, smoking irritates the mucous membranes, which as a consequence swell and narrow the throat. There are also reasons that are specifically responsible for snoring in women. You can find out more in our article Women snoring.

When does snoring become dangerous?

Habitual snoring is not associated with breathing interruptions. So, in most cases it is harmless and not harmful to health. It becomes dangerous when the breathing of the snorer suddenly stops. Nocturnal breathing stops can last a few seconds or even minutes. When there are more than ten breathing interruptions per hour, it is called an obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome (OSAS). Note: If you suspect nocturnal breathing stops, consult a specialist.

 

How to prevent snoring and breathing stops? Learn more in our article How to deal with snoring?

 

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