Wondering how snoring affects sleep? Snoring is the most prevalent form of sleep-disrupted breathing. Obstructive sleep apnea is less frequent but is commonly associated with snoring, as it involves the airway becoming obstructed via a relaxed tongue and airway muscles.
People of all ages and genders can be affected by snoring, but it is most prevalent in men.
However, in other situations where the snoring has been going on for some time, the interrupted sleep caused by the noise or sleep apnea may be leading up to long-term health consequences and putting a strain on relationships.
What causes snoring?
While we sleep, the muscles around our airways are relaxed and can collapse to such a degree that the upper airway (as in the nose and throat) becomes partially obstructed and restricts the flow of air to the lungs.
How snoring affects sleep
If no effort is made to stop snoring, the interruptions to sleep can have dramatic long-term influences on both the health of the snorer and put a strain on relationships if there is a partner involved.
Daytime tiredness is often accompanied by irritability and a short temper, but it can also have an impact on work-life as creativity is hampered and it becomes a struggle to concentrate and stay focused. Sleeplessness can also lead to depression and anxiety.
Sleep cycles follow a natural progression which can be interrupted by snoring. Even though the snorer remains oblivious to the snoring, the quality of sleep is still not what it should be. In a lot of relationships, it’s the partners who are kept awake by the noise who can suffer the most from being deprived their sleep.
Recent sleep studies have shed light on exactly how snoring affects sleep. According to a study conducted on 30 pairs of twins, lack of sleep also compromises the mitochondrial DNA replication of cells. It seems that with 7 hours of sleep there were less mitochondrial DNA copies in the blood of the test subjects. The number of mitochondrial DNA copies is thought to affect whether we wake to feel groggy or refreshed. [link]
Without enough sleep, our immune systems will start to struggle as our ability to fight off viruses such as the common cold can be diminished.
Driving while tired also has severe repercussions, as it is just as likely to cause an accident as driving while under the influence. In a North American poll, 60% of drivers admitted to driving while feeling drowsy, and about one-third of those reported falling asleep at the wheel. [link]
Admittedly, the survey does not cover snoring specifically, but it’s fair to assume that many long-term snorers are regularly getting behind the wheel when they are not as alert as they should be.
If your snoring is having a negative impact on your life, health, and relationships check out our sleep health section of our website for the latest in stop snoring devices and snoring solutions or call our centre on +64 800 111 325 to discuss how stop snoring devices can improve your life.