The Deadly Side of Snoring: Protect Your Heart!

The Deadly Side of Snoring: Protect Your Heart!:DocTube Blog

How many of you cannot sleep because of your partner’s snoring?

A staggering 57% of the global population, or roughly 4.56 billion people, experience snoring.  That number is huge!

But is snoring something to be concerned about?

Snoring can often be an early sign of a sleep apnea disorder. This condition is characterised by interrupted breathing due to partial blockage of the upper airways, leading to irregular breathing patterns that start and stop throughout the night. Although frequent snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea, not everyone who snores has this condition. 

Simple snoring is typically a result of muscle fatigue and doesn’t significantly affect sleep quality. It tends to be occasional, usually triggered by factors like tiredness or a common cold. However, if a person frequently wakes up gasping for air, feels tired in the morning, breathes through their mouth while sleeping, and experiences constant daytime sleepiness, these could be signs of sleep apnea1. People with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) experience pauses in breathing that last 10-20 seconds, sometimes occurring hundreds of times a night. This frequent interruption in breathing significantly raises the risk of obesity, stroke, diabetes, hypertension, heart attacks, and other cardiovascular issues. Dr. Anil Bhoraskar, a renowned Mumbai diabetologist, spoke with DocTube and emphasised the dangers of OSA (Obstructive Sleep Apnea). He warned that OSA can increase the risk of diabetes, heart problems, and even sudden cardiac arrest during sleep2.

The Silent Threat: How Snoring Could Be Putting Your Health at Risk

Snoring often happens when the tongue doesn’t have enough room at the back of the throat, which is more common in people who are obese, those who have had heart failure, or individuals who sleep on their backs. 

In people who snore, the chemicals in the brain responsible for regulating breathing can be disrupted3. This disruption lowers oxygen levels, triggering a surge in adrenaline, cortisol, and other stress hormones. These hormonal spikes can lead to heart irregularities, high blood pressure, heart attacks, exacerbation of heart failure, and even sudden death4. When oxygen levels drop due to obstructed airways, the body releases adrenaline, also known as epinephrine, which increases heart rate and blood pressure. The constant stop-start breathing pattern causes repeated spikes in adrenaline, placing continuous stress on the heart. 

Over time, this can stiffen the heart walls, reduce their elasticity, and make it harder for the heart to pump blood efficiently, potentially leading to atrial fibrillation—a condition where the heart beats irregularly and rapidly. Moreover, the vibrations from snoring can thicken the walls of the carotid arteries in the neck. These arteries are essential for supplying blood to the brain. As they stiffen, blood flow to the brain decreases, increasing the risk of stroke. In essence, what might seem like harmless snoring could indicate sleep apnea, which silently wreaks havoc on your cardiovascular system. Recognising and addressing this issue is crucial for maintaining long-term health and preventing serious complications.

Sleep Soundly Again: Proven Methods to Stop Snoring

Change your sleeping position 

When you lie on your back, the base of your tongue and soft palate collapse to the back wall of your throat, causing a vibrating sound when you sleep5. Sleeping on your side may be effective in preventing this. 

Lose weight 

In many cases, it has been seen that gaining weight leads to snoring; thus, for these people, losing weight may lead to significant improvements. For example, when you gain weight in the area around your neck, it squeezes the internal diameter of your throat, thereby making it more prone to collapse when you sleep. This is one of the most common triggers of snoring. 

Avoid alcohol 

Alcohol and sedatives decrease the resting tone of muscles located at the back of your throat, thereby making you more likely to snore. Drinking alcohol 4-5 hours before you sleep is more likely to make your snoring worse6. In many cases, it has been seen that people who do not usually snore will snore after they drink alcohol.

Practice good sleep hygiene 

Poor sleep hygiene or bad sleep habits are often linked to snoring. For example, working long hours without adequate sleep can make you overtired. When you sleep, your muscles become floppier, thereby leading to snoring. 

Stay hydrated

It is crucial to drink a lot of fluids. When dehydrated, secretions in your nose and soft palate become stickier, causing more snoring. Simple practices like getting adequate sleep, avoiding alcohol before sleeping, taking a hot shower if your nasal passages are clogged, and sleeping on your side can significantly reduce snoring.

Open nasal passages

If your nose is narrowed or clogged due to a cold or due to other blockages, the fast-moving air will make it more likely to cause snoring7. A hot shower before sleeping may help you to open nasal passages. In addition to this, you may also use a neti-pot to rinse out your nasal passage with salt-water solutions. 

Say goodbye to snoring and hello to safe sleep with these awesome tips! Do share what anti-snoring tricks you follow in the comments.


What are the main causes of snoring?

Snoring is the sound of obstructed breathing, which may be caused by different factors like bulky throat tissue, poor muscle tone or a long soft palate.

What are some of the best ways to stop snoring?

Some of the best ways to stop snoring are losing weight, quitting smoking, sleeping on one side, avoiding sleeping pills and alcohol and elevating the head.

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