It can be really difficult to sleep with someone who snores a lot. But, it may be more harmful to the snorer's health than just being a plain disturbing sound. Producing a loud sound while breathing during sleep classifies as snoring. It is caused due to blockage in the throat that results in a constriction in your wind pipe. The snoring sound is produced when the uvula or the soft palate sticks against the back of your throat and creates obstruction in the pharynx. Did you know? A person whose neck circumference is bigger than 16 inches is more likely to snore. Also, shorter and over-weight women snore more than others. Snoring sounds measure between 50 to 100 decibels. Snoring may occur due to allergies, cold, sleeping position, alcohol, smoking, nasal and sinus problems. Recent researches have been aimed at investigating the link between snoring and heart diseases.
Snoring and Heart Attack Risks
Snoring disrupts your body's natural cardiac rhythm while you are sleeping. It creates a state of hypertension in the body due to the lack of oxygen which decreases the body's immunity. We sleep for about one-third part of our lives. Thirty minutes of snoring cuts the supply of oxygen to your brain for ten seconds. This can create several health disorders in the long term. It increases the risk of carotid atherosclerosis that causes blockage in carotid arteries. Narrower arteries reduce blood flow in the body and the heart starts pumping faster to elevate oxygen level in the body. If you snore at night, it can increase your risk of getting a heart stroke by 67%. It has been observed that snoring increasing the chances of a heart attack by 34% in loud snorers. Unfortunately, snoring and heart diseases work hand in hand. If you have one, you will soon get the other. It also leads to enlargement of the heart, as it is a muscle. Allow me to add another piece of information to these facts. The tendency to suffer a heart attack, stroke or heart burn is the highest between 3 A.M. To 5 A.M. Snoring also causes other health issues which, in some cases, can be taken as the pointers to heart health.
High blood pressure
When a person snores, the oxygen level in the body dips while adrenaline is secreted in higher amounts. This causes the blood pressure to rise, the heart has to pump the blood harder leading to heart problems. A snorer is 40% more likely to have high blood pressure, relatively to a non-snorer.
As I mentioned earlier, the adrenaline levels rise when the body is in a state of snoring, it spikes the blood sugar levels and causes diabetes. In absence of sufficient oxygen, the excess sugar settles in to various body parts like belly, thighs and buttocks. Also, secretion of catecholamines creates insulin resistance, adding to the overall effect.
Fairly with respect to the cardiovascular effects of snoring, the respiratory sleep disorder, causes sleep deprivation, high cholesterol both and clogging up of arteries. A snorer and his/her partner will not get restful sleep. Sleep is necessary for the body to function well. This is totally unrelated, but your sleeping habits can cause disharmony in your relationship and widen the distance between both of you. So if your wife or girlfriend woke up in a cranky mood, blame it on your snoring and not premenstrual syndrome!
The likelihood of a person, beyond the normal body weight limit, to snore is three times more than a leaner person. As the body works overtime, metabolic functions slow down and stimulates fat accumulation while the muscles start to become flabby. More weight gain further increases the pressure stresses the body and snoring gets louder and harder. It is a vicious circle.
Snoring increasing tension in the respiratory system causing all organs to work over time. The muscles tense up to keep the airflow consistent. Ultimately, it obstructs and inflames the wind pipe, causing chronic bronchitis. Although, scientists are still researching on the definite relationship between snoring and bronchitis, health experts advocate this theory.
While sleeping, muscle relaxation is essential for mental and physical de-stress. Ever heard a snorer complain about migraines or severe headaches? Of course, the frequent episodes of morning headaches have a reason. Snoring creates constant vibrating movement in your body. Add to that, the depleted levels of oxygen for the brain for the entire time you were sleeping and you frequently wake up during your sleep. This leads to poor functioning and the brain produces stress hormones to counteract sleep deprivation.
Snoring decreases the duration of your breaths so you breathe harder and gasp for oxygen. What I am about to tell you might gross you out, but, this is exactly what has been happening while you were snoring your nights away. So, here it goes, when you breathe harder, the mucus in your nasal cavity gets sucked into the esophagus and goes down in to your stomach. Yes, it is the dirty greenish brown goo found in your nose that mixes with your stomach juices when you ingest it. End result? Nausea. You may have often noticed a snorer coughing and clearing throat while sleeping. It is the mucus from your nose that just went into the throat and blocked it.
This is one health side effect that may or may not affect you but most likely affects your partner. Around the world, only 3% people are able to get a night of peaceful sleep while their partners snore away. The rest deal with health problems like fatigue and exhaustion during the day due to sleep deprivation. On an average, a snorer's partner will get about 3 to 5 hours of sleep while sleeping together.
Prevention is Better than Cure
Although light snorers are at no significant risk of heart diseases, it is advisable that you take appropriate steps to stop snoring now before it gets worse.
- Do not sleep on your back.
- Avoid alcohol consumption before bed time.
- Cut down on smoking.
- Weight loss, in case of snoring in obese people.
- Rest your head on a higher elevation than the level of the rest of your body.
- Use Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device to reduce snoring.
- Practice meditation to strengthen the respiratory system and improve blood circulation.
- Keep your nose clean before you are off to sleep.
Snoring is mainly common in overweight and obese people. Also, men are more likely to snore than women. As we speak, one billion world population snores regularly. It is also widely observed among pregnant women. It conversely increases the rate of heart diseases, high cholesterol and diabetes among them. Female snorers are twice more likely to suffer from a heart attack or a heart stroke than women who do not snore at all. Aging speeds up the process of muscles collapsing over time, causing the path of air flow to become narrower. This is in turn will worsen snoring. So if you are hoping your spouse will stop snoring automatically someday, forget about it. It will just keep getting worse unless you use a natural snoring treatment to cure it. An alarming fact noted in the researches was that heavy snorers are at a risk of death within a month of the first heart attack. If you are a chronic snorer, do get yourself checked against sleep apnea and heart diseases as they are closely related. Always remember, every health disorder has a cause-effect relationship with your entire body, which is an entity constituting organs and many systems. Neglecting the smaller problems lead to bigger ones.