Snoring is that frightful sound you emit while you sleep. On the surface, it’s nothing more than an annoying feature that your significant other has to deal with nightly. Almost everybody snores now and again throughout their lifetime, and it isn’t something to be worried about if it isn’t a chronic problem.

However, aside from being frustrating, snoring can highlight underlying health issues that you must address right away. If you don’t, they may escalate and lead to ailments and mental health issues you want to avoid.

To do that, you need to understand the main causes of snoring, which can include:

Obstructed airways

Ask an ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor, and they’ll tell you that an obstructed airway is the main cause of snoring. This is because a blockage, no matter how small, can result in an exaggerated vacuum in the throat, pulling the floppy tissues of the throat together. As the vacuum gets bigger and the tissues tighter, you have to breathe harder to get the required amount of oxygen into your lungs, resulting in the classic snorts and grunts associated with snoring.

An airway might be blocked due to an allergy, cold or flu that leads to inflammation of the sinuses and a snotty throat.

A deviated septum

A common reason for airways to be obstructed regularly is a deviated septum. The septum is the wall between your nostrils that acts as a border. However, a deviated wall, one that’s off-center, will ruin the airflow balance. Nasal polyps, teardrop-shaped growths in the nose or sinus, have the same side-effects.

Relaxed throat and tongue

On the face of it, a relaxed throat is a positive sign as it encourages more airflow and prevents blockages. But it also creates a bigger surface area for the throat’s tissues to collapse into, leading to a blockage. Your tongue is another large feature that can easily fill the gap, especially if it lacks definition and muscle tone.

Men who are overweight are more likely to experience these side-effects. Still, it can happen in women, too, since large tonsils and adenoids might get in the way of your air passage while you sleep.

Sleep position

It’s not a myth that you’re more likely to snore if you lie on your back. The position is conducive to snoring as gravity does the opposite of relaxing your throat. By making the airways tighter, the air has a smaller gap to get through, leading to noises and sounds that are synonymous with snoring.

These are the main causes, yet sleep deprivation and alcohol consumption are also known to cause more obstructions.

How to spot the symptoms

Analyzing whether you snore is harder than you might imagine. Many people have a partner to rely on, yet you can’t if you’re single. Alternatively, your significant other might be a heavy sleeper and might not know that you snore. The good news is, there are telltale warning signs you will experience when you’re awake. They are:

  • Tiredness & fatigue: When your airway is blocked, the amount of air getting into the bloodstream is less. Therefore, the level of oxygen absorbed during sleep isn’t as high, which means your muscles and organs are O2 deficient. As a result, you’ll feel groggy and hazy. This is a surefire warning sign if you went to bed early and have a thorough sleep schedule.
  • Waking up with shortness of breath: If you wake up suddenly and experience shortness of breath, there’s a high chance that your airway has collapsed or is blocked. Therefore, you’re struggling to breathe enough to sleep peacefully, which is why you wake up regularly.
  • Difficulty concentrating: Snoring can make it harder to focus due to a lack of quality sleep. Even the simplest of tasks are tough because you don’t have the motivation or willpower to concentrate for short periods.

If any of these are familiar, you should contact an ENT doctor and schedule an appointment for a checkup.

ENT Specialists, providing professional and comprehensive ENT care

When you recognize something is wrong, you need to know the issue will be cleared up at the first attempt. That’s why, at ENT Specialists, we provide snoring and sleep apnea solutions you can rely on. Our examination will uncover any underlying problems, such as an infection or deformity, allowing your ENT doctor to curate a bespoke plan.

To gain access to market-leading ear, throat and nose treatments, please call us today at (402) 983-9948.