More than half of the word population snores and about 25% of them are habitual snorers. Snoring is often viewed as a harmless habit. A person is laughed at for his nightly symphonies. What we do not realize is that snoring is not just a funny habit. It has some unpleasant consequences. Let’s understand how dire the consequences of snoring can be.
What is snoring and what causes it?
Snoring is caused when the tissues of the nose and throat vibrate due to turbulent airflow. If the air passage of the nose, mouth or throat is narrow or narrowed, it causes snoring. There are many reasons behind snoring; the common ones are
- Obesity or weight gain,
- Alcohol, sedatives, tranquilizer consumption,
- Improper sleeping positions,
- Nasal Congestions.
- Old Age
Every person experiences snoring at some point in their life; it can be caused by any of the above reasons. If snoring is temporary, it should be divested before it becomes permanent. Snoring is not benign.
Reasons Why We Should Not Ignore Snoring?
Snoring is not only annoying and embarrassing; it is definitely harmful to your health. Snoring often indicates to some underlying health complications, which the body is not comfortable with and is giving warning signs like snoring. Let’s look at some major reasons why snoring should not be ignored, health-wise and socially too.
In some people snoring takes the form of a sleep-disorder called Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA). This condition arises when a person is a permanent or long-time snorer. In Sleep Apnoea, the air passage into the lungs is blocked completely, owing to various factors. The breathing is stalled and you wake up with a start to catch your breath several times in a night.
In some severe cases, the stoppage of breathing occurs for up to 10 seconds, and 5-7 times an hour. This leads to sleeplessness, light sleeping, reduced work performance, and energy. Such a condition is also extremely dangerous, as the person is never well rested, he tends to sleep anywhere and at any time, including even when behind the wheel! Proper Medical guidance is required to treat apnoea.
Around half of the over-weight people in the world also suffer from sleep apnoea. The weight that collects around the neck makes it impossible to breathe gently and without effort. Losing weight will definitely be an improvement in the sleep disorder and give a peaceful sleep sans the snoring.
Heart Disease and High Blood Pressure
Permanent snoring, if not leading to sleep apnoea may indicateconditionslike heart disease and high blood pressure. People with prolonged snoring are twice as likely to have nonfatal heart disease events and fatal heart attacks. As the air passage is narrowed, the heart does extra work to pump blood, causing stress to the heart and definitely leading to high and low blood pressure.
The intensity of snoring is related to the risk of carotid atherosclerosis, in which arteries of the neck are narrowed due to fatty acids called plaque. It can cause a stroke. Putting it simply, the louder and longer you snore, the higher the risks of stroke. The symptoms to watch out for are loud and uneven snoring, sleepiness in the daytime, and getting fatigued easily. Sleep apnoea is also a factor in causing a stroke. Medical advice must be availed of a cure.
A gastroesophageal reflex disease is common in people with chronic snoring and sleep apnoea. A person who snores loudly and has apnoea may also have GERD due to the choppy way in which the air moves in and out while sleeping, causes pressure changes that can suck the contents of the stomach back up into the oesophagus. GERD is also a by-product of obesity.
Snoring is most irritating for people who have to endure it. The spouses, room or bed partners develop a kind of horror for sleep-time. Snoring can make a relationship lose mutual love and respect. The non-snoring partner may often complain of never being well rested. The results are insomnia, permanent tiredness, and in some sad cases, depression. The snoring partner often sees himself as a victim, because of being blamed for an involuntary activity. They are mostly reluctant in accepting that they snore and have a problem worth discussing. It creates friction among partners.
Loud snoring not only keeps your partner awake but sometimes it wakes you up too, unknowingly. Not taking ample sleep can cause insomnia, reduced working capacity, an over-burdened mind and sleep deprivation. Sleeplessness is a big problem and leads to numerous other illnesses including mental illness and headaches. A normal person needs to sleep at least for 7-8 hours a day. If the sleep time is hindered continuously, you are very likely to get other complicated health troubles.
Sleeping is an important part of our life. A normal person sleeps for about 25 years in his life of 75 years. Ensure that your sleep remains peaceful and restful. Even though snoring seems like a small problem, it can lead towards bigger and more complicated problems.