Snoring is a significant part of the human experience. However, it is neither a source of joy nor is it good for you. A snore isn’t simply an unpleasant sound; its consequences are far greater than you think. From sleep deprivation to increased risk of stroke, there is more to a snore than meets the eye. Or should that be the ear?
To understand this mass affliction and take preventive and curative measures against it, we must understand its effects. However, to comprehensively do that, we must first understand what a snore is.
Defining a snore
A snore is essentially the result of the vibration of the tissues in your throat as they completely or partially obstruct the incoming flow of air while you breathe during sleep. It is important to note that snoring can range from a soft, bearable sound to the very loud, irritating sound that can drive your roommates to total exasperation.
Other than throat vibrations, snoring can be attributed to a multitude of other reasons. Sleeping face up tends to induce snoring because our tongue rolls back in the mouth thereby blocking the incoming air.
Taking sleeping pills or other drugs before sleeping can also trigger it, while people who frequently consume copious amounts of alcohol also report frequent snoring. Obesity weighs in too because the fat that accumulates in the throat also contributes to obstruction of airways.
Snoring results in sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, which is characterized by the abrupt starting and stopping of breathing, and insomnia, which involves difficulty in falling or staying asleep.
Following are the effects of snoring. As you will see, this simple bodily function can have a tremendous impact on various aspects of our life, from our body to our relationships.
Effects of snoring on our mind
It’s no secret that the one who fails to attain proper sleep due to snoring is prone to bouts of irritation and crankiness. There is certainly a link between sleep apnea and depression, as symptoms of sleep disorder are also associated with feeling hopeless and down. A survey of 74 snorers also found that the greater the number of daytime sleepiness people report, the greater the chances of them suffering from mild anxiety or depression.
Effects of snoring on marriage
Unsurprisingly, snoring has been the cause of many fierce arguments among married couples. In fact, most people first realize that they have a snoring problem when a disgruntled spouse raises the issue. After all, the snoring of one disturbs and dismays the other, and one can only be patient for so long. Eventually, he or she will have to leave the room, which is bad for quite a few reasons.
Many couples describe the intimacy and comfort of sharing a bed as one of the most important aspects of a relationship. In this day and age, neither husband nor wife has any time to have a proper conversation throughout the day, and it’s only during bedtime when they get the peace of mind to discuss critical issues, make decisions and catch up on what’s going on with each other. If a spouse has to leave the room due to his/her partner’s snoring, these important things which strengthen relationships can’t happen.
The snorers suffer too; a study of 827 older men found that the more and louder they snore, the more likely they were to report lower levels of sexual satisfaction. Many people are so deeply affected by their snoring problem that they aren’t sufficiently motivated to have intimate relations with their significant other. This ultimately results in the deterioration of relationships.
Effects of snoring on pregnancy
Pregnancy is both a stressful and an exciting time for a couple, as they wait to welcome a new addition to their life. However, snoring can have adverse effects here as well. For starters, it can result in fetal complications for women. Moreover, pregnant women who also snore frequently tend to give birth to babies who weigh less than average, which at first glance doesn’t seem all that bad, until you realize that thinner babies are more vulnerable to all kinds of diseases than their healthier counterparts.
In any case, considering all the psychological effects involved such as depression and anxiety, pregnancy can be affected by snoring.
Effects of snoring on our body
Throughout history, we have persistently tried to eliminate snoring, and we continue our efforts in this pursuit to this day. Yes, it’s unbearable and annoying, as we have already discussed, but surely it must have other more serious effects for it to be a problem of immense magnitude. As it happens, it does.
For starters, habitual snoring is usually a strong indicator of sleep apnea, which is the stopping and starting of your breathing while you sleep, and the reason why you may feel tired even after a good long sleep. This is a serious problem because it prevents you from indulging in the much needed deep, restorative sleep. You become a light sleeper due to frequently waking up from sleep, which is not good for your health.
Speaking of which, there are a whole host of health problems associated with snoring.
This is by far one of the most common afflictions that snorers have to deal with, and it’s not just because of their roommates or significant others yelling at them to keep it down. A published study of 268 people found that there is a link between frequent headaches and sleep disorders caused by snoring. Furthermore, snorers suffering from frequent headaches reported a lower quality of life than the ones who don’t.
Individuals with long-term snoring and sleep apnea risk the development of an arrhythmia, or irregular heart rhythm. Researchers found that people who suffer from sleep apnea are likely to acquire atrial fibrillation which is a common type of arrhythmia, in contrast to individuals without it. Apnea may also affect the conduction system of the heart.
- Gastroesophageal reflux disease
Also known as GERD, this ailment is typical for people with sleep apnea. Individuals who suffer from sleep apnea may also have this disease because of a disrupted way where the throat closes as the air flows in and out during sleep. This may perhaps is causing pressure changes that can draw the contents of the stomach back upwards into the esophagus together with the stomach acid. GERD is also linked to obesity which seems to moderate as an individual sheds off pounds and return to a normal weight.
Getting up to use the bathroom multiple times during the night is a condition called nocturia. For some people, this includes a loss of bladder control. It is also linked with snoring in both men and women. Research suggests that men over the age of 55 who wake up often to urinate may have both benign prostate enlargement and obstructive sleep apnea.
- Heart disease
Individuals with sleep apnea are twice as likely to have both nonfatal heart disease and fatal heart attacks. Fortunately, effective treatment exists: clinical studies show that treatment of sleep apnea with CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) reduces heart disease risk to a magnitude compared to those without sleep apnea.
Effects of snoring on our daily life
Since snoring drastically decreases the quality of our sleep, we start experiencing unpleasant changes in our life as well. Without a good night’s sleep, we wake up feeling drowsy and irritable in the morning. It’s the kind of drowsiness which makes us overly reliant on caffeine, which in the long run has adverse effects on our health.
The Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle wisely said, “Well begun is half done.” If our mornings are terrible, then we generally feel dull and unmotivated throughout the day, and there is a sharp decline in our productivity.
Snoring can impair our motor skills as well as our ability to perform cognitive tasks involving memory, learning, reasoning, logic and mathematical processes.
Furthermore, being in a state of sheer drowsiness can be dangerous, as proven by the many car accidents that have been attributed to the driver being in a somnolent or groggy condition. In fact, health information and driving data for 618 adults over ten years showed that the sleepier people felt during the day, the greater the risk of accidents.
Having said all that, it is abundantly clear that snoring has terrible consequences for our body and the quality of our life. It is an affliction which has adverse effects both on the victim as well as the people around him/her.
By comprehending these effects, we can properly address this problem and raise awareness, which is important since many people merely fail to grasp the seriousness of the situation.
This was the major problem in the past when people didn’t truly understand snoring and its causes, so they came up with all sorts of weird and ultimately ineffective solutions for it.
However, once we can grasp the seriousness of the situation, we can then explore possible techniques for diminishing the effects of snoring, and subsequently bring about a considerable improvement in the quality of life of all those who are affected by snoring.