What Is Snoring?

. Posted in A GOOD NIGHT'S SLEEP

Snoring is a noise produced during sleep, occurring when you either inhale or exhale through your nose and mouth at the same time. The noise is made by the palate and the uvula flapping as you breathe. The flapping sensation worsens when the size of the breathing passageway decreases due to obstruction, inflammation, or an anatomical narrowing anywhere from the tip of the nose to the back of the throat. The physics behind breathing calls for the lungs to pull against an exact resistance. That is why when your nose is clogged you assist your nose by breathing through a slight opening of your mouth. At night, as the airway decreases, the lungs need to pull harder to get air in and will have to exhale with increased force to blow the air out. This increase in pressure causes the palate and uvula to flap, leading to the sound of snoring. This can sound like a soft purr or like someone is sawing wood.

Often, the muscles associated with the structures at the back of the throat relax, causing the airway to collapse, thereby worsening the
vibration in the soft palate, uvula, or sometimes the tonsils. This collapse can occur when there is either extra tissue in the back of the airway (such as when you have enlarged tonsils), a decrease in the tone of the muscles holding the airway open, or if the tongue is so relaxed it falls back and closes off the airway. While the snoring noise does not come from the nose itself, but from the palate, people with nasal obstruction due to sinusitis, nasal anatomical narrowing, or allergies typically snore more than those who do not suffer from CAID.

Many physicians will argue that sinus or nasal obstruction does not lead to snoring or sleep apnea. I have found that this is not the case: there is a direct link between the two conditions. For many, their nasal valve can be structurally too narrow or easily collapsible; and when this area is opened up with either a mechanical device or surgery, these patients find that their snoring disappears or improves. Typically, the worse the nasal and sinus obstruction, the louder the snoring. Furthermore, the position of your tongue is another important contributing factor.

Sinus Tips:
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