A lot of people snore. As a matter of fact, a big percentage of the American population snores.
An estimated 40% of adults in the U.S. snore. And, men, you tend to out-snore women. (Yes, this may explain why you get kicked or shoved at night!)
Contrary to what other people think that snoring is a sign of deep sleep, it’s not.
And despite the myth that snoring is a sign of deep sleep, there’s really no upside to it.
“Snoring really does not demonstrate anything good, ” says Erich Voigt, an ear, nose, and throat doctor and sleep specialist at New York University Langone Health. “You can have beautifully deep sleep in a silent sleep.”
Snoring can be a sign of a more serious health condition but that doesn’t mean everybody who snores is in trouble. There are some cases where snoring is harmless. Nonetheless, there are some cases where snoring is an indication of something more serious.
Snoring is never great news, but often it’s harmless (other than the pain your sleeping partner may feel). In some cases, though, it’s a sign of something serious.
Snoring happens when the airways in the nose and in the mouth become narrow. With the airways obstructed, the tissues in the said areas end up vibrating. That vibration contributes to the sound of a snore.
When we sleep, if the air that moves through our nose and mouth has a clear passage, we can sleep silently. But when the airways are narrowed, we snore.
“Snoring is basically a vibration of the tissues inside of the airway,” Voigt explains — that is, the roof of the mouth and the vertical folds of tissue that surround the tonsils.
Alcohol intake is one of the many reasons why people snore. If alcohol intake is limited, it can lessen the snoring. That just shows that snoring can be controlled and treated.
A lot of factors can contribute to snoring, says Voigt. We can control some of the underlying triggers. For instance, drinking alcohol is linked to snoring. Alcohol tends to make the tissues within our mouths swell a bit, and alcohol can also change the quality of sleep.
“Your brain is sedated from alcohol, so the combination can make you snore worse,” Voigt says.
Weight gain could also contribute to snoring. That means shedding off some pounds could help lessen the snoring.
Being overweight can also increase the likelihood of snoring. So, when people lose weight, this can reduce the amount they snore.