For a generation as blessed with knowledge as we are, the extent and nature of misinformation about sleep are rather surprising. It wasn’t until very recently that we even had research-backed information to explain why humans sleep at all! Sleep has always been such an innate aspect of the human existence that there’s precious little dialog on it.
It’s only recently that ideas such as sleep hygiene, better sleep practices, sleep enhancement products, sleep ailments, snoring aids and other solutions have become a part of the mainstream of idea exchange.
Still, however, there are way too many myths and misconceptions about sleep – and these need to be debunked. In this guide, we’re going to focus our attention on snoring – asleep ailment, and arguable one that’s most ravaged by myths.
Myth #1 – Snoring is Normal Bodily Reaction/Indicator of Good Sleep
That’s crazy, really. If you’re the kind of person who thinks snoring is funny, and nothing else, then you probably need to read this guide more than once! To know better, let’s try to understand why snoring occurs.
When you fall asleep, your throat’s muscles relax. Your tongue tends to fall backward. The throat, in this situation, becomes ‘narrow’. Because of this, the air moving in through your nose causes the throat to vibrate, producing grunting sounds.
This is snoring. The ‘sound’ of snoring (which is essentially what most people consider snoring to be) is an outcome of the narrowing of the throat cavity, which in turn means that the natural flow of air in and out of the body is impeded (and there’s nothing funny about that).
Narrower the airway, more the vibration, and hence, louder the snoring. When the throat walls collapse completely, there’s almost no space for oxygen to flow into the body, which makes the sufferer feel choked.
So, there’s nothing ‘normal’ about snoring, and it certainly isn’t an indicator of good sleep (quite the contrary).
Myth #2 – Snoring is a Men’s Problem, Primarily.
Nothing could be far from the truth. Though there’s no scientific research that has tried to find out why the world believes so, we think it’s high time people stopped believing this idea.
There’s nothing inherent about snoring that should naturally make it more prominent in men. Here are some reasons why the general belief is that women don’t snore:
- Several factors that promote snoring (obesity, stress, alcoholism, etc) are more widely prevalent in men as compared to women.
- As per some scientifically conducted researches, men indeed snore more than women, but that doesn’t make snoring exclusively men’s problem.
- Men are (well, most of them) too polite to tell their wives and girlfriends that they snore!
If any female in your household snores, the best thing you’d do is to tell them about it and insist they adopt some anti-snoring home remedies or consult a sleep expert.
Myth #3 – Snoring is an Old Age Problem, Primarily.
Not many people believe that snoring is an outcome of (or at least heavily correlated with) old age. However, many do believe that almost all elderly people snore. That’s untrue.
There have been well-documented researches that attempted to put this belief to test, and couldn’t find any incontestable evidence that could save the ‘elderly people snore’ myth.
An estimated 6% of children snore– that’s a huge number and ample testimony to the fact that snoring is a sleep disorder not exclusively tied to age. In the age group of 30-60 years, a reasonable 30% of people snore. With age, people develop factors that make snoring more prominent, but it’s a bit too much to say out aloud that snoring is primarily an old age problem.
Myth #4 – Snoring is a Problem of the Obese, Primarily.
This is a bit of an innocuous and harmless myth. Even if someone considers obesity the exclusive cause of snoring, what’s the harm in being motivated to cut on the body fat for better sleep! Here are some important info bits you need to know:
- People with the perfect BMI score also snore!
- It’s perfectly possible for an obese person to not show any snoring, ever!
- It’s more accurate to say that people with abnormal deposits of fat on the throat snore more than others (that’s because the fat throat leaves a smaller passage for air to pass through the body while breathing).
- If you’re underweight or slender and have mild snoring, don’t dismiss it as something else; control it (by adopting home remedies and better sleep practices) before it aggravates.
- Obesity and snoring are absolutely unrelated in cases when snoring is directly caused by factors such as chronic allergies, improper sleep practices, etc.
Myth #5 – If it’s Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), I’d know it.
In most people, OSA manifests itself by making them feel choked and gasping for more oxygen. Because of this, the patient wakes up many times during sleep.
This symptom is prominently observed in patients with OSA, which has contributed to this being considered as a bit of a blanket truth.
However, it’s entirely possible that a sufferer of OSA will not even realize that he/she felt choked during the night (even if it happened for a dozen times)! You’d not want to delay the act of taking your spouse to a qualified doctor, purely because you believe that it’s merely snoring, and not anything more serious.
OSA is a severe ailment that could cause the sufferer’s sleep (and life) quality to plummet and increase his/her exposure to cardiovascular risks.
What’s all the fuss about getting your facts right about snoring? Well, there surely is a reason to be careful, considering how it’s scientifically proven that a good sleep is a daily ritual of healing that benefits almost every vital process within the human body.
Snoring could easily aggravate from infrequent and mild sessions of grunting to severe sleep apnea. When you know how to separate the myth from the reality, you can intelligently evaluate symptoms and decide when it’s time to consult a sleep expert.
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