Snoring is a common sleep phenomenon. But while some may think that it means that someone is sleeping soundly and sweetly, it’s actually the opposite.
Snoring can be a health warning.
Snoring happens when one’s upper respiratory tract is obstructed and must breathe hard during sleep. It’s the sound of inhaled air vibrating with the soft tissues of the respiratory tract.
According to statistics, about 20% of adults snore. About 60% of middle-aged to elderly (41-65 years old) men and 40% of women have habitual snoring.
Snoring can be divided into physiological and pathological.
Physiological snoring is generally caused by excessive fatigue during the day, which leads to a sound sleep at night. Physiological snoring is brief, and the sound is not very big. As long as one changes sleeping position, for example, switching from lying on one’s back to sleeping on one’s side, he/she will stop snoring. Such snoring is not too big a thing to worry about.
Pathological snoring is usually big in sound, often accompanied by respiratory tract obstruction. In severe cases, sleep apnea can even occur. The chronic deficiency of qi in people who snore can result in reduced blood oxygen and hypercapnia, which will have a negative impact on the heart and lungs. According to literature reports, people who snore are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, heart disease, and cerebrovascular diseases.
Snoring During Adolescence
If snoring starts in adolescence, it can have serious health consequences. In addition, poor sleep quality caused by snoring will also affect one’s study, and even lead to emotional disorders.
It’s worth noting that obstructive apnea syndrome in children, usually characterized by daytime restlessness, inability to concentrate, behavioural problems, and learning disabilities, is often misdiagnosed as hyperactivity.
When the Elderly Snore
Snoring in the elderly can affect life expectancy. The slow metabolism of the elderly makes their heart and brain prone to hypoxia. Snoring in sleep can further aggravate hypoxia in the heart and brain, thereby increasing the incidence of hypertension, stroke, heart disease, cardiopulmonary insufficiency, and other diseases.
Women who snore tend to age. Female snoring leads to insufficient blood oxygen in the body and poor qi and blood, which is easy to cause loose and rough facial skin, leading to crow’s feet prematurely. Poor sleep quality caused by snoring can also lead to dark circles, big bags under the eyes, menstrual irregularities, and other symptoms.
Causes of Snoring
- Obesity: Among many causes of snoring, obesityis the most common one, accounting for about 70% to 90%. The pathology is that too much fat in the neck will narrow the respiratory tract.
- Reduced muscle tension: It is generally believed that the muscle tension around the throat decreases with age, making it easier to close, and the tongue tends to block the airway to the rear. However, traditional Chinese medicine usually believes that it’s “qi deficiency” which leads to insufficient muscle tension.
- Structural abnormalities: Any factors that can cause constriction of the respiratory tract can lead to snoring, such as turbinate hypertrophy (common in allergic rhinitis), nasal septum deviation, tonsillar hypertrophy, large tongue (the tongue is easy to expand in case of Qi deficiency), short chin, etc.
- Nasal congestion: Inflammation and edema of the nasal cavity occurred during a cold or allergy narrow the respiratory tract; or excessively dry air breathed in at night thickens and dries out the mucus in the nose and throat, blocking the flow of air.
- Smoking: Smoking can irritate the upper respiratory tract and inflame it.
- Drinking: People who do not usually snore can snore like thunder after drinking alcohol, and the symptoms of people who snore will be aggravated after drinking. The rate of drinking affecting snoring is about 65%.
- Medication: Sedatives for insomnia and anxiety, and muscle relaxants for back pain and arthritis, for example, may relax the muscles in the throat more than usual, narrowing the airways and exacerbating snoring.
- As obesity is an important reason for snoring, weight loss is the first thing to consider for obese people who snore.
- People who have the habit of smoking and drinking can try to give it up.
- Sleeping on one’s side can alleviate the problem of tongue blocking airway, thus reducing the chance of snoring.
- One of the causes of snoring is insufficient muscle tension, which is mainly caused by qi deficiency in traditional Chinese medicine. Therefore, taking qi tonic Chinese medicine or more exercise to increase the strength of the body can reduce snoring.
- Traditional Chinese medicine believes that upper respiratory tract obstruction, which is caused by turbinate hypertrophy, tonsil hypertrophy, and nasal allergy, is due to sputum stasis in the lung channel. Therefore, one can take some Chinese medicine or acupuncture treatment to treat upper respiratory tract obstruction.
Collective Spark articles are for informational purposes and are not a substitute for individualized medical advice. Please consult a trusted professional for personal medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment.