Snoring Is Worse For Your Health Than You Think

Snoring might be annoying, but it can also reveal details about your health. Simply put, the sounds made when you snore are the result of air flowing by relaxed tissues in your throat, according to the American Sleep Association (ASA). There is no single cause for snoring, per WebMD. For example, blocked nasal passages or weak muscles in your throat could cause it. The position in which you sleep or havingĀ a soft palate or uvula can also be factors. In addition, sleep deprivation, drug use, and alcohol use might disrupt the flow of air and result in snoring.

Occasional snoring may not be a problem, but if you snore often, it might indicate an underlying health problem depending on what causes it, according to Everyday Health. The ASA reports that around half of the population whose snoring wakes other people up have obstructive sleep apnea, in which the airways not only become blocked, but breathing is interrupted.

Snoring triggers a potentially unhealthy chemical reaction in your brain

While you sleep, your brain releases certain chemicals that stimulate breathing, the University of Michigan explains. If you snore because you have sleep apnea, your brain may not release these chemicals as it should, which can lead to a drop in oxygen. A lack of oxygen sets off an increase in cortisone, adrenaline, and other hormones. These hormones play a role in high blood pressure and a number of heart conditions.

Intense snoring is linked to carotid atherosclerosis, which is the result of plaque narrowing the arteries in your neck. Everyday Health reports this condition can lead to stroke. Sleep apnea is also a factor for high blood pressure, which is a cause of heart attacks. Moreover, long-term sleep apnea may result in the heart developing an irregular heart rhythm, called atrial fibrillation, which can lead to blood clots in the heart, per Mayo Clinic.

Thankfully, sleep apnea is treatable, and most people find that a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure device, or CPAP, reduces symptoms. In fact, a CPAP can improve the function of the heart by 50%, according to the University of Michigan.