Did you know that almost 80% of people snore at least some of the time? Most of them don’t seek medical help for snoring. And while there are certainly some medical conditions which can directly cause snoring, several snoring risk factors are actually lifestyle-driven.
Snoring occurs during sleep breathing when air flows past relaxed tissues in the mouth and neck, causing them to vibrate. Some risk factors for snoring can’t be changed. These include being male and being aged between 40-64, as well as individual anatomy like narrow airways. Nasal issues, sleep deprivation, and allergies can also cause snoring.
Other factors can be altered for better sleep, better health, and less snoring.
Is Your Lifestyle Making You Snore?
Statistically, men snore more than women do and the highest number of habitual snorers are aged between 50-59 years. There are several specific lifestyle factors which dramatically increase the risk of snoring. It’s important to recognise and understand these, as they are modifiable – and by making some changes, you can reduce or even eliminate your snoring habit.
Why do you need to stop snoring? Aside from being annoying and disruptive for your sleep partner (and even others in nearby rooms), snoring can lead to:
- Chronic sore throat (especially on waking)
- Morning headaches
- Poor, restless sleep quality
- Nighttime wakefulness
- Daytime sleepiness
- Lack of energy
- High blood pressure
- Moodiness, depression, or anxiety
- Memory, performance, concentration, and even behavioural issues
- Further unhealthy lifestyle choices – lack of exercise, poor diet, sedative use, etc.
- Increased accident risk.
- Development of obstructive sleep apnoea can be related to snoring – this is a major medical condition which needs to be professionally addressed.
What are the Main Snoring Risk Factors?
- Smoking – this is perhaps the biggest snoring risk factor, and even for people who later quit smoking, the risk declines but remains higher than for those who have never smoked. Smoking causes inflammation and swelling of the airways, narrowing them and reducing airflow.
- BMI – being overweight (BMI over 25), and especially obese (BMI over 30), significantly increases snoring risk. This is often related to increased neck circumference. If you have a neck circumference over 40cm (16 inches) you are 2.5 times more likely to snore. This is directly related to fat deposits on the neck, which can compress and weaken the airways. This impinges on the smooth flow of air through the mouth and neck into the lungs and snoring is the result.
- Alcohol and Sedative Use – these impact snoring risk regardless of body size – very lean people can be affected by these as much as people who are overweight. Any substance which has a sedative effect disrupts natural sleep cycles and can also cause the neck and oral tissues to over-relax and collapse, impeding the airways.
- Sedentary Lifestyle – men and women who exercise little and who lead a sedentary lifestyle are likely to snore.
- Genetics and Family History – if your parents snore, it’s more likely that you will too. Snoring susceptibility also has a racial aspect, with studies demonstrating that, for example, people of Indian (subcontinental) descent are more inclined to snore than Chinese Asians.
- Daytime Mouth Breathing – increases snoring risk by seven-fold.
- Chronic Sore Throat – whether it’s caused directly by snoring, by allergies, by postnasal drip, by gastro-oesophageal reflux, by mouth breathing, or another cause, sore throat results in swollen, irritated airways and this promotes more snoring.
- Asthma – people who suffer from asthma are at increased risk of snoring.
- Living with others who smoke increases the risk of snoring due to passive smoking.
- If you snore in childhood, it’s more likely you’ll snore as an adult. This is one reason why it’s important to address medical issues which may require removal of the tonsils, adenoids, or surgery to the ear before adulthood.
Modifying your lifestyle in a variety of ways can improve your sleep and reduce snoring risk factors for greater wellbeing.
How Can SnoreMD Help?
Making some simple lifestyle modifications can turn your life around in terms of sleep quality and snoring – lose weight, avoid alcohol, quit smoking, sleep on your side, drink more water, and get regular exercise.
One other way to stop snoring is to adopt SnoreMD into your nightly bedtime routine!
SnoreMD is the Australian brand of the top medically proven solution to help you stop snoring. It is a comfortable oral device which is worn in the mouth as you sleep, gently repositioning the jaw slightly forward to open the airways and promote easier, snore-free breathing.
You can also call us on 07 5370 9323.