Is Snoring Bad? 5 Health Hazards of Snoring

August 7, 2021

Let’s talk about something that’s so common we’ve come to think of it as nothing more than a nuisance: snoring.

As irritating as it may be (a leading common search on the subject is actually “does snoring cause divorce?”), it’s actually something to be quite concerned about.

From sleep apnea to heart disease to even a higher risk of being in a car accident, snoring has been linked to some major health risks. Let’s take a closer look at what’s really going on here and what you can do about it.

What is Snoring?

Simply put, snoring is a loud sound resulting from air flow in your throat that causes the relaxed tissues to vibrate.

Snoring typically occurs due to some sort of air blockage. This blockage can result from a stuffy nose, alcohol use (which causes your tongue and/or throat muscles to relax, your sleep position, and more.

Believe it or not, there are chemicals in the brain designed to trigger breathing that can fail in people who regularly snore.

When these chemicals fail to trigger breathing, this can also cause a drop in oxygen levels, which results in a surge in cortisone, adrenaline, and other hormones. [1]

But that’s not all that happens due to snoring. Let’s take a look at four of the top health hazards associated with snoring.


Snoring - Dr. Pingel


4 Health Hazards of Snoring

Here are some of the most prevalent health hazards of snoring.

1. Increased risk of cardiovascular disease

Believe it or not, research has confirmed a link between snoring and cardiovascular disease.

A 2013 study investigated whether or not frequent snoring could predict coronary heard disease and stroke in more than 42,000 postmenopausal women.

The findings? The researchers found that frequent snoring was associated with a 54-percent increased risk of coronary heart disease, a 41-percent increase in stroke, and a 46-percent increase in overall cardiovascular disease. [2]

So, how does this happen? The very same hormones that are triggered by the drop in oxygen that can occur with snoring also cause blood pressure spikes and even heartbeat irregularities. The result? Heart attacks and even heart failure.

2. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)

Some people who snore also have a condition known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is known to stop the breathing process for up to 20 seconds. Unfortunately, these episodes can occur hundreds of times each night.

While not all people with sleep apnea snore, and vice versa, it’s important to note that this condition is on the rise, affecting estimated 26 percent of American adults. [3]

Unfortunately, studies have shown that the following conditions are associated with sleep apnea: [4]

  • Stroke
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Acromegaly
  • Neurological disorders

As you can see, sleep apnea has some very serious consequences if left untreated.

3. Oral health problems

Snoring and, more specifically, sleep apnea, has been linked to teeth grinding, dry mouth, and more oral health problems.

Specifically, a 2018 study revealed that in those with sleep apnea, more than 62 percent have periodontal disease and 34 percent have gingivitis. [5]

Moreover, another study revealed that children with sleep apnea and other sleep disorders experienced three times more cavities than children without sleep disorders. [6] They also had deeper, more invasive cavities and inflamed gums.

4. Higher risk of motor vehicle accidents

Finally, sleep disturbances due to sleep apnea have been linked to a higher incidence of motor vehicle accidents.

A 2015 study followed 1, 478 men with sleep apnea and found that, compared with the average population, those with sleep apnea were almost 2.5 times more likely to cause aa motor vehicle accident. [7]

Specifically, longer driving distances and shorter habitual sleep time (less than five hours per night) along with other factors were all associated with the increased risk. Interestingly, the use of CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) therapy decreased the incident of accidents by almost 70 percent, showing that poor sleep is the most important factor.


How Can You Find Out if You Snore?

So, now that you know more about the risks associated with snoring and sleep apnea, what can you do to find out if you snore?

Don’t worry—you don’t need someone in the bedroom with you watching you as you sleep in order to answer this question.

The truth of the matter is that there are some rather handy apps available that help to track snoring, such as Sleepzy, Sleep Cycle, Pillow, and/or SnoreLab.

You can also watch for symptoms of storing, such as waking up with a dry and/or sore throat and feeling tired or sleepy during the day. You can also discuss your concerns with your doctor and set up a sleep study, if desired.


How to Stop Snoring: 5 Snoring Remedies

There are many snoring remedies available to try. If you suspect you may have something more serious, such as sleep apnea, consider speaking with your doctor as soon as possible. Otherwise, here are some remedies that may help you cut back on snoring and awake feeling refreshed:

1. Treat nasal stuffiness. Whether it’s due to a cold or allergies, a stuffy nose is a common cause of snoring. Eating a diet full of foods known to fight allergies or trying some natural remedies for the common cold could go a long way. You may also want to try OTC nasal strips designed to help support better bedtime breathing.

2. Sleep on your side. Sleeping on your back can actually cause your tongue to move toward the back of your throat, which can obstruct your airway and result in snoring. By sleeping on your side, you reduce this risk.

3. Avoid alcohol before bed. Alcohol is known to cause your throat muscles to relax, which can predispose you to snoring. By limiting your alcohol intake a few hours before bed, you’ll reduce this risk.

4. Get active. Because being overweight is associated with an increased amount of tissue in your throat, maintaining a healthy weight is especially helpful in fighting snoring. One of the best ways to maintain a healthy weight is stay active with something you enjoy doing.

5. Get plenty of sleep. Try not to allow yourself to get overtired, as this is linked to snoring. Because everybody requires a different amount of sleep, start with eight hours and adjust from there.

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