B] Causes/Reasons for Snoring
1. Mouth Breathing
If you’ve ever wondered why snoring occurs, then one of the reasons for it could be mouth breathing. Ideally, the healthy way of breathing is inhaling & exhaling through the nose with the mouth closed. However, if there is an issue with the functioning of the nose, it could disturb the balance between the nose and the oral cavity leading to noisy breathing, snoring, and eventually sleep apnea.
2. Narrow Airway
Incorrect breathing habits can worsen sleep disorders (in this case snoring) by leading to muscular dysfunction and postural imbalances. In some cases, restricted or low tongue posture can cause the upper jaw to become narrow, thereby disturbing the orofacial system and narrowing the airway. When the upper jaw becomes narrower, it invariably pushes the lower jaw back, thereby further compromising the airway which presents itself in symptoms like snoring, poor sleep, fatigue, teeth clenching and grinding.
3. Enlarged adenoids and tonsils
Adenoids and tonsils are tiny tissues located behind the nose and the back of the mouth (both sides of the throat), respectively. If either or both of these tissues are enlarged (swollen) due to an infection, it could cause airway obstruction leading to snoring.
4. Nasal Blockage
As mentioned above, breathing through the nose is a healthy way of breathing. Thus, if a nasal blockage blocks the smooth airflow during sleep, it may contribute to snoring. Other nasal problems include deviated nasal septum (a crooked partition between nostrils) or nasal congestion.
Obesity is another likely cause of snoring as the excessive fat in the neck and tongue can restrict the airflow. It can increase the risk of SDB, especially obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). However, while it may be a cause for snoring, it is not a prerequisite as thin people can also snore.
6. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
OSA is a condition in which the throat closes completely during sleep, making breathing difficult. It is estimated that in this condition people can stop breathing up to 400 times in a single night. The intervals can last from 10-30 seconds, followed by a snort that indicates a person is breathing again. Here, snoring can be a symptom in people suffering from OSA.
7. Tongue tie
Tongue tie can cause the tongue to sit on the floor of the mouth rather than the roof (which is an optimal position). This can affect breathing, posture and jaw growth, and make drinking, eating and swallowing difficult. If a tongue tie is not treated, it could lead to snoring and slowly progress to sleep apnea. To prevent this and other health issues, treating tongue tie is essential. This could help open up the airway and improve nasal breathing.
8. Poor muscle tone
Our muscle tone tends to weaken as we age. If the muscles in the face, throat and tongue become too relaxed, it could narrow the airway, causing obstruction and leading to noisy, loud snoring.
9. Lack of tongue space
When jaws become narrower or start to recede, it could result in insufficient tongue space in the mouth. This could cause airway obstruction, which would eventually affect the airflow and cause snoring.
10. Backwardly positioned lower jaw
A narrow upper jaw or lack of muscle strength can cause the lower jaw (and the tongue) to drop backwards during sleep, collapsing into the airway. This makes the body work harder to pass the airflow through the blocked tissues in the throat, causing vibrations that sound like snoring.
11. Allergies and Asthma
Allergies could lead to inflammation in the nose & throat, making breathing difficult, thus increasing the risk of snoring. Asthma, on the other hand, may affect normal breathing as it blocks the airway partially, which could result in snoring.