Being a snorer and being overweight are interchangeably linked. In other words, obesity can cause snoring and snoring can cause obesity. Health experts say that 99 among the 100 snorers are obese. They recommend adopting an appropriate lifestyle
Snoring can affect one’s mental well-being causing crankiness due to lack of sleep and even lead to depression. Photo Courtesy: iStock
Sedentary lifestyles are a major factor in today's worrying rise in health concerns among a broad section of the population. High blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, cholesterol, obesity, and other common health issues are associated with sedentary lifestyles. Snoring is one such health issue. While there are several causes of snoring, weight gain is by far the most prevalent.
The rattling and shaking of tissues close to the airway in the back of the throat causes snoring, which is characterised by a loud harsh sound. If you snore and your family member sleeps in the same room as you, you run the risk of regularly disturbing them. Less frequent snoring won't cause much of a problem, but persistent snoring may need to be addressed. Speaking with health professionals helped us understand the causes of snoring as well as how adopting the right lifestyle choices might help control it.
Dr Samir Garde, Director of the Department of Pulmonology and Lung Transplant, Global Hospitals, Parel lists down the common causes of snoring
1. Nasal congestion: A cold, sinus problem or allergies lead to snoring due to blocked airways
2. Alcohol: Consumption of alcohol before you go to sleep causes snoring
3. Sleep position: Sleeping on the back narrows airways which induces snoring
4. Smoking: It causes upper airway inflammation and thus leads to snoring
5. Sleep apnea: It is caused by narrowed or blocked airways and makes you snore
6. Weight gain: Being overweight is the most common of all reasons and needs to be addressed
Additionally, any bone or muscle obstruction in the nose can cause snoring. Dr Nayana Karodpati, ENT Professor, DPU Private Super Specialty Hospital, Pune says, “Besides the common causes, the anatomical shape and structure of the nose, tongue and overall facial bones can also be the reason why some people snore.”
Snoring is not a sign of deep sleep
Although snoring is mistakenly believed to be a healthy sign of deep sleep, doctors say the opposite. “Snoring is not healthy and will indicate sleep apnea. Sleep apnea due to snoring can affect one’s mental well-being causing crankiness due to lack of sleep and even lead to depression. Those who snore or have sleep apnea can experience irregular heart rhythms or arrhythmia as well,” says Garde.
Karodpati adds, “Snoring hampers quality deep sleep. The individual’s sleep gets disturbed throughout the night. This leads to them feeling sleepy and lethargic the next day. It also affects the concentration capacity of the person. Sometimes, snoring gets so heavy that the patient wakes up in the middle of the sleep due to lack of oxygen supply to the brain, leading to hypercapnia, which refers to the excess CO2 to the brain. This forces the patient to wake up.”
People who are overweight, consume alcohol, smoke, are on sedatives, have large roof of the mouth, have nasal congestion or are exhausted, stand a high chance of snoring.
Tips to reduce snoring and improve quality of sleep
1. Set a routine. Try sleeping early.
2. Avoid consuming any beverage especially tea or coffee before you sleep
3. Avoid using your phone or any electronic gadgets an hour before you sleep so that your mind can enter a relaxed state and prepare to sleep
4. Practice simple and light breathing exercises like Pranayama to ensure a good sleep.
5. Avoid thinking of any matters that might trigger stress. Make sure you complete all your work during the day so you don’t have to stress about it while going to bed.
6. Play soothing music keeping the volume to minimal. Instrumental music is known to relax the mind and put one to sleep.
7. Try reducing body weight and keep it under check. Follow a healthy and balanced diet that will help you reduce the extra weight.
8. Cut down smoking and consumption of alcohol.
9. You can also use nasal strips or mandibular advancement devices or MADs to manage snoring.
10. Sleep on one side, elevate the head of your bed by a few inches to control snoring.
Exercises that help snoring
To correct snoring, Garde suggest few exercises like nose touch, chin touch and tongue push that can help manage snoring. The doctor also says holding spoon in the mouth can also prove to be beneficial.
On the contrary, Karodpati says, “There are no direct exercises as such that help cure snoring but one can practice yoga to maintain the overall health of the body and manage weight that can help correct the condition.”
If there is a bone or muscle obstruction in the nasal path or the mouth, one must always consult a doctor instead of trying to correct it at home. Besides this, if snoring persists for a long time, it’s best to see a doctor.