Snoring can be really annoying, both for the person that snores and the people that share areas with loud snorers. It can affect your sleep quality and really bring you down. As a result, you might be questioning why exactly people snore.
Snoring can be described as like a loud, rumbly breathing during sleep. It’s been used in modern media as a way to show someone asleep or to indicate boredom.
What some people might not know is that men snore more than women. Two out of five men are estimated to snore regularly, whereas that number is about three in ten for women. Mostly, snoring is harmless - even if it is annoying - but other times, it can be a suggestion of something more serious.
In this guide, we’ll take you through the reasons why men might snore and explain why men tend to snore more than women.
Why Do We Snore?
There can be a number of reasons why people snore and there are people who would be classified as more likely to snore than others. Generally, there’s a reason involved with the airways caused by a kind of blockage.
Some common reasons why people snore include:
- The use of alcohol or drugs
- Medications that cause dry throats or dehydration
- Weak muscles, generally common with older people
- Regular smoking
- An injury or abnormality in the nasal area
- Illness like the common cold or flu
- Being overweight or obese
- Falling asleep on your back
The reason that men tend to snore more than women though is caused by the “make-up” of a man. In short, men typically have a different structure within their neck muscles and biologically function differently due to their hormones.
We sometimes have to have concerns over snoring when somebody is in the category of, for example, obese because the obstruction in the airway can sometimes indicate that there can be a much more serious problem like heart disease or a higher than normal blood pressure.
What About Sleeping Disorders?
Sleeping disorders can also cause people to snore more. One of the most common sleeping disorders that this is highlighted is sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is when a person’s breathing stops or pauses or changes in pace for around ten seconds. This is often because the muscles within the neck and throat relax too much and cause a blockage to the airways.
Because our bodies have evolved so much to keep us alive, sleep apnea snoring can be described as the brain’s way of forcing emergency breathing.
Basically, because the breathing has been interrupted, levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide within the body drops dramatically and the brain recognizes this and forces the body to breathe again - which can often result in loud snoring. It can sometimes even wake the sleeper.
This might happen infrequently or it can happen multiple times during sleep. Either way, it results in broken sleep which can cause you to feel fatigued and unrested the next day. This in itself, has its own medical repercussions.
You might notice too, some very painful headaches the next day. Sometimes, a doctor can identify this as sleep apnea - but normal diagnosis will occur from an overnight sleeping study.
How Can I Reduce Snoring?
Men are going to be more likely to snore than women, so always bear that in mind. However, you can reduce the chances of snoring by taking some simple steps, if your snoring is caused by a few of the reasons we listed earlier. So, you can:
- Reduce or quit alcohol consumption
- Seek help for drug addiction
- Reduce or quit smoking
- Try not to eat too close to bedtime
- Try losing weight and plan a healthy diet
- Clear the airways before bed if you have a cold or flu
- Place pillows behind you to keep the head raised, reducing blockage
- Try to sleep on your side
Your local drug store can often assist you with some over the counter medications that can help. Along with being able to point you towards cold and flu medications - there are some breathing tools that you can purchase, if this will help you.
These include nasal strips to help normal breathing during sleep and decongestants. Your pharmacist will know much more if you explain your situation to them.
There will however be times where these methods will not work and you might have to seek professional medical help, particularly if you’re in one of the more risk categories (like obese or an alcoholic) or your interrupted sleep is causing problems with your quality of life.
After a consultation with your doctor, they might decide to refer you to a sleep specialist who will be able to help you. They normally book you in for an overnight sleeping session where they monitor your brain activity, breathing and other sleeping patterns and habits.
If the specialist determines a problem that can be resolved by them, they will provide help through either sleeping techniques, breathing exercises, anxiety cognitive behavioral therapy or other treatments.
However, sometimes surgery might be necessary due to a blockage caused by injury or an abnormality from birth. If this is the case, your doctor will likely refer you to the relevant specialist to determine the correct course of action.
Surgery will be booked in and it may take several days, weeks or even months to recover from surgeries. Your specialist will be able to take you through all the processes though.
Men snore more than women due to their genetic and biological structure, but anybody can snore and some factors cause others to snore much more.
Snoring can impact your everyday life due to loss of normal sleep - which can lead to fatigue, eating disorders, depression and more. It can also impact your relationships.
It’s important that you speak with your doctor if you’re concerned about you or your partner’s snoring.