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Just the Facts: Snoring

By Sara Butler

Men do it more than women. It runs in families. It becomes more common as you get older. Do you know what that is? Snoring! According to the National Sleep Foundation, about half of all Americans will snore at some point in their lives. Here are a few quick facts about snoring and when you should seek help for it.

What Causes Snoring?

When you're asleep, your muscles relax -- including the muscles in your throat. As those muscles begin to relax, your airway actually narrows, causing the tissue to vibrate and snoring to commence. The narrower the airway, the more you will snore and the louder it will be. People who sleep on their back often snore worse than side sleepers, so if you have a proclivity to snore, then you may want to consider sleeping on your side.

The Key Players

Snoring is more than simply a narrowed airway. It can also be made worse by lifestyle choices as well as health conditions. For starters, as you get older, the muscles in the throat naturally relax. That makes snoring something that strikes people later in life.

If you have allergies, then you may snore more too. If your tonsils are enlarged or your throat or nose are inflamed from allergy season, then that can narrow the throat and cause snoring as well. Finally, if you drink alcohol regularly, then it can narrow your throat through the relaxation of the muscles and cause snoring. These are things it's important to be aware of if snoring is becoming an issue in your nightlife.

You Can Do Something About It

If you're an occasional snorer, then you can do something about it! As mentioned, you can switch to sleeping on your side to help reduce snoring, but you can also:

  • Forget the nightcap and refuse alcohol before bed
  • Reach and maintain a healthy weight
  • Use a nasal strip when sleeping during allergy season or work to control your allergy symptoms

If snoring is becoming a chronic problem for you, then you may want to work with a medical professional to help you strengthen the muscles in your throat and consider other devices that help to keep your airway open as you sleep. When you snore, you may stop breathing for a few seconds several times per hour, a condition called sleep apnea. If you suspect you have sleep apnea, then seek out medical help right away.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Sterling, Va.

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