Snoring affects 90 million Americans and most of these people "don't know why snoring or what snoring can indicate for their overall health," according to a board-certified Jagdeep Bijwadia in internal medicine, sleep and pulmonary diseases.
Snoring can be a telltale sign of a major sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, a condition that can pause your breathing while you sleep. But simple, everyday habits or decisions can also make you vulnerable to snoring, Bijudi added.
And while people may accept snoring slightly, the condition can do more than just keep your roommate up at night. Recent studies show that snoring can be at high risk of hardening of the arteries, a leading cause of stroke and common heart problems, said Stephen Olmos founder of TMJ & Sleep International Therapy Centers.
Fortunately, you can control many cases of snoring. The first step is to find out what is causing it and treat the condition appropriately. Here are just a few unexpected things that may be behind your unwanted snoring habit.
. Enjoying an Evening Night Glass
Having a glass of wine at the end of the day may take the edge, but it does not necessarily make your sleeping habits any favors. According to Bijwadia, alcohol relaxes the muscles of the respiratory tract, which can lead to excessive snoring – even if you are not just snoring.
"And the less restorative and deep sleep you get every night, the more it builds up and makes you more disoriented and misty all day," he says.
2. You have a stuffy nose
Having something that blocks your nasal canal can definitely contribute to snoring. This could be due to a possible allergy or a deflected septum, according to Brian Drew, a doctor at Minnesota Nose and Throat Care.
An allergist can help you treat your sensitivity problems like dust mites or ENT doctor can help you find an effective way to reduce the snore that results from nasal congestion.
"Nasal sprays have been shown to increase nasal volume by 20%, which dramatically increases flow," Olmos added. These products can help alleviate soft tissue swelling due to generalized inflammation and sensitivity to the environment.
3. You're a back dream
Sleep on your back can make you much more likely to snore, said Marcella M. Frank sleep medicine specialist at the Deborah Heart and Lung Center at Browns Mills, New Jersey
"When one sleeps on the back, there is a natural tendency for the jaw and tongue to fall into the back of the throat," Frank explained.
According to one study, about 92% of sleep-impaired breathing can breathe better when they are not on their back.
"Sleep on your side helps to reduce snoring for those who suffer from more severe sleep disorders such as sleep apnea. may also help relieve some of these symptoms. It can increase your nighttime oxygen intake and protect your airways from collapse, "Bijwadi added.
4. It may be related to weight
Overweight can lead to poor muscle tone and increased amount of tissue around the throat and neck. Both can catalyze a state of snoring.
Ensuring that you are active throughout your day will set you up for better quality sleep down the line, Bijwadia said, noting that maintaining a healthy weight can reduce your snoring.
5. Your thyroid gland may explode
"With an underactive thyroid gland, there may be changes in the upper respiratory tract that cause difficulty breathing during sleep," says Shoshana Ungerleider intern at Sutter Health in San Francisco.
Studies show that hormonal stabilization in those with a hypothyroid state improves the severity of snoring. Some other signs that your thyroid gland may function poorly include fatigue, weight gain, dry skin, thinning hair, and depression.
6. This may be age-related
Snoring is more common as we age "simply because of floppy tissue" in our bodies, Frank said.
Exercises like singing, believe it or not, can help, Olmos added. Using nasal dilators like Breathing Right Strips can also help with age-related snoring.
7. Your mouth shape may cause the problem
People are all built differently and some of us have anatomy of the mouth that can make us more susceptible to cutting logs. For example, having a lower, denser or softer palate can narrow your airways and snore quickly.
Drew noted that some of these structural differences that can lead to snoring can be treated. For example, personalized night guards or appliances can reduce the problem, he said.
8. You're a man
Sorry, dude. Studies suggest that physical differences between the sexes can contribute to snoring. For example, men have narrower air ducts that could exacerbate the problem. Men statistically drink more alcohol than women, which can lead to inflammation caused by inflammation.
If none of these are to blame, you may need to look into sleep apnea
Snoring can be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea, which is a serious medical condition. The condition can cause you to stop breathing all night when you sleep, because the soft tissues in your throat collapse and block your airways.
"The vibration of these soft tissues is the cause of the snoring noise," says Kimanh Nguyen, an ENT physician at Beverly Hills.
OSA symptoms may include severe snoring, daytime fatigue, morning headaches, restless sleep, and periods where you stop to breathe or wake up, panting for air. The condition, which can be treated by an ENT physician or a sleep specialist, is diagnosed by a test called a polysomogram or sleep test.
If left untreated, it can lead to high blood pressure and heart problems. So, if none of the above issues seem to be the cause of your snoring, talk to your doctor ASAP.
"Living with" is a guide to navigating the conditions that affect your mind and body. Each month in 2019, HuffPost Life will address the many real-world issues that people are experiencing, offering different stories, tips, and ways to connect with others who understand what it is. In July, we cover sleep and sleep disorders. Do you have experience you want to share? Email email@example.com.