Myths Surrounding Snoring

Snoring is one of the most common conditions so are its myths.

Let's bust some of the myths associated with snoring.

Myth 1: Men snore more than women                      

Well, men are more likely to snore than women, but in some conditions, even women become prone to snoring.

During pregnancy, there are some hormonal changes that make females likely to snore. Also, during pregnancy, the immune system of females is comparatively weaker, which makes them susceptible to catching infections like the common cold.

Weight gain during pregnancy is another factor that makes females more likely to snore. Increased weight means increased tissues (even around the neck), which causes more relaxation. When these tissues relax, they may obstruct breathing leading to snoring.  

Myth 2: Your snoring only affects you

While snoring can affect your sleep and daily activities, your sleep partner can also be equally disturbed because of your snoring. People who snore do not hear their snoring, but that is not true with their partners. The snoring sound can disturb the sleep of your partner. 

Myth 3: People who sleep on their side snore less

Sleeping on your side can indeed reduce snoring, but it is not that people who sleep on their side will never snore. Snoring happens because the tongue, muscles lining the throat and airways relax. Sleeping on your side may only prevent these muscles from blocking the airways and not relaxing them.

Myth 4: A nightcap will help

People take alcohol and other sedatives before bedtime for good sleep. They may help you fall asleep fast but not control your sleep or snoring. But drinking alcohol may disturb the resting tone of the muscles lining the throat and airways and increase snoring.  

Myth 5: It is normal to snore

Everyone snores now and then.

But regular snoring over an extended period can indicate underlying health conditions such as obesity and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). It can also increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterized by repeated obstruction or collapse of the upper airways. This causes decreased blood oxygen flow and awakening from sleep to start breathing.

Myth 6: Sleeping pills can help

Sleeping pills help to keep the mind and body relaxed. In other words, these pills are muscle relaxants. They make the muscles lining the throat and airways more relaxed, making the airways more narrow. These narrowed airways lead to the worsening of the condition.

Myth 7: Only overweight people snore

It is true that people who are overweight are more likely to snore, but even lean people can snore. Also, individuals with issues such as a deviated septum, polyps, allergies, nasal congestion, or others may also snore.

Myth 8: Snoring means you are in deep sleep

Most comic movies show that people who snore are in deep sleep. But that is a myth. In fact, people who snore are likely to have poor sleep quality. They may wake up during their sleep due to difficulty breathing.

Poor sleep quality is common in people whose snoring is associated with Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). People with OSA may wake up multiple times during their sleep cycle because of repeated halting of breathing.

Myth 9: All snoring is sleep apnea

We all have snored at some point in our lives. While more than half of the population snore, only 1-2 per cent of people suffer from sleep apnea.

Snoring is nothing but the harsh sound we make when we are asleep due to partial obstruction in the airflow.

There are many factors that can cause this partial obstruction other than the sleep disorder (OSA), such as

  • Blocked nose or nasal congestion due to a common cold, sinusitis, seasonal allergy and other respiratory conditions
  • Family history of snoring
  • Overweight
  • Lack of sleep
  • Use of alcohol and sedatives at bedtime
  • Medicines such as muscle relaxants (sleeping pills)
  • Structural variation of the nose or soft palates (muscles in the roof of the mouth) such as enlarged tonsils, long palate or uvula
  • Sleep posture- sleeping on your back increases the chances of snoring

Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a serious sleep disorder in which the breathing is repeatedly stopped due to obstruction in the breathing (airflow). 

Conclusion: Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is different. Although snoring can be a symptom of OSA, telling that all snoring is OSA is not true. So, don’t fall under the traps of these myths.

Do consult your doctor to know the right treatment plan for you.

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