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What Causes Snoring In Women?

a woman sleeping on her stomach

Are you lying awake at night, tormented by the continuous sound of snoring echoing through your room? Or perhaps you’re the one accused of sending out those nightly vibrations. You may ask, “What causes snoring in women?” Take a deep breath. You’re about to explore why snoring, a common condition shared by women worldwide, occurs.

As you dig deeper, you’ll discover it’s more than just a bedtime disturbance; it’s a fascinating insight into sleep and health.

What Is Snoring?

The noise created as respiratory structures vibrate is known as snoring, primarily occurring when there is an obstruction or resistance to the flow of air through the airways during sleep. Namely, it’s a common condition affecting many women and is often symptomatic of sleep-disordered breathing. It is a common condition affecting multiple individuals, both men and women and tends to become more prevalent with age.

Is Snoring Normal?

Here are five points to consider when determining if snoring is normal:

  • Prevalence. Snoring is a common condition among adults, affecting approximately 24% of women and 40% of men. This indicates that snoring is a widespread occurrence.
  • Occasional Snoring. Occasional snoring, especially during periods of nasal congestion or after alcohol consumption, can be considered normal. In these cases, snoring is usually temporary and not indicative of an underlying health issue.
  • Intermittent Snoring. Intermittent snoring that occurs in certain sleeping positions or situations may also be considered normal.
  • Mild Snoring. Mild snoring, characterized by low-level sound and infrequent interruptions, is generally within the normal range. It may not significantly impact sleep quality or pose significant health risks.
  • Contextual Considerations. Snoring that occurs in specific contexts, such as when sleeping in an unfamiliar environment or due to temporary factors like nasal congestion, may not necessitate medical intervention.

What Causes Snoring in Females?

Here are some of the factors that trigger snoring in women, which could well be the answer to the question, “What causes loud snoring in females?”

Pregnancy

As pregnant women’s body undergoes transformational changes due to hormone fluctuations and extra weight, it’s quite common for the muscles around the airway to relax. This relaxation disrupts normal airflow during sleep, causing a resounding vibration, often understood as snoring. Moreover, the blood arteries in the nasal passages may grow as a result of the elevated blood volume that occurs during pregnancy, leading to nasal congestion.

Menopause

As women go through menopause, the decrease in female sex hormones can result in various health alterations. A crucial change includes a reduction in throat muscle tone, which contributes to an increase in snoring. Unfortunately, the relaxation of these crucial muscles also elevates the risk of developing sleep apnea. Furthermore, factors like hot flashes linked to menopause can cause sleep disturbances that result in restless sleep.

Overweight and Obesity

Excess weight or obesity and weight gain, particularly around the neck, can add pressure on the airway, narrowing it and causing turbulent airflow. This disruption in airflow often results in the vibrations recognized as snoring. This underlines the importance of weight management in preventing or minimizing snoring. It’s no surprise that weight loss programs are often recommended to address chronic snoring in overweight individuals effectively.

Nasal Issues

Chronic nasal congestion or conditions such as a deviated nasal septum can significantly obstruct the normal airflow through the nose. When obstructions or congestion occur in the nasal passages, individuals are often forced to breathe through their mouths while sleeping. Mouth breathing, in turn, increases the likelihood of snoring as the air travels over the relaxed tissues in the throat, causing vibrations and the characteristic snoring sound.

Lifestyle Habits

Lifestyle choices like drinking alcohol and smoking, as well as the use of sedatives, can relax the muscles in the throat and tongue, thereby contributing to snoring. Smoking may also make snoring worse, maybe as a result of short-term nicotine withdrawal from abstaining from smoking at night or increased nasal congestion.

Hypothyroidism

An underactive thyroid gland is an indication of hypothyroidism that can lower female hormone levels, which, in turn, might relax the muscles by slowing down the nervous system. This relaxation can decrease the muscle tone within the airway, inducing snoring.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

This common condition that causes ‘pauses in breathing’ during sleep can lead to incidents of heavy snoring. Women with a sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnoea reportedly experience frequent awakenings and loud, restless sleep. These interruptions can result in reduced oxygen supply to the brain, prompting the individual to wake up often during the night. Hence, sleep apnea not only fosters heavy snoring but also disrupts overall sleep quality.

How to Stop Snoring (or Help Your Bed Partner Stop)

  • Maintain a Healthy Weight. Overweight, particularly in the vicinity of the neck and throat, can contribute to snoring. Snoring can be less likely if you consume a healthy diet and work out regularly to keep your weight at a healthy level.
  • Sleep on Your Side. The tongue and soft palate can avoid slumping over the back of the throat when you sleep on your side, reducing the chances of snoring. Consider using pillows or positional aids to encourage side sleeping.
  • Elevate the Head of the Bed. Elevating the bed’s head using additional pillows or an adjustable bed can help improve airflow and minimize snoring.
  • Clear Nasal Passages. If nasal congestion is contributing to snoring, consider using saline nasal rinses, nasal strips, or decongestants to alleviate congestion and promote clear airflow through the nose.
  • Avoid Alcohol, Smoking, and sedatives. Alcohol, smoking, and sedatives can relax the muscles in the throat, leading to increased snoring. Minimizing or avoiding these substances before bedtime can help reduce snoring.
  • Practice Good Sleep Hygiene. Create a sleep-friendly environment and stick to a regular sleep schedule to encourage restful sleep. Assuring a comfy mattress and pillows is part of this, as well as maintaining a cool and dark bedroom and avoiding electronic devices before bed.
  • Consider Medical Intervention. If snoring persists despite trying various self-help strategies, it may be necessary to seek medical intervention. A medical practitioner or sleep specialist can perform a thorough assessment and suggest suitable treatment alternatives, such as (CPAP) continuous positive airway pressure therapy.

The Best Sleep Positions For Snoring

  • Side Sleeping. Sleeping on your side is often recommended for individuals who snore. This position can help keep the airway open and reduce the likelihood of the soft palate and tongue collapsing onto the back of the throat, which can obstruct airflow.
  • Avoid Sleeping on Your Back. As mentioned, sleeping on your back can cause the palate’s soft part and base to relax and collapse into the back of the throat, and this makes snoring more likely. Instead, try to train yourself to sleep on your side or elevate your head to minimize snoring.
  • Pillows and Supports. Certain pillows and supports can assist in maintaining proper alignment and reducing snoring. Anti-snore pillows, for example, are designed to help keep your head, neck, and airway in alignment, promoting open airflow during sleep.
  • Tennis Ball Technique. To discourage sleeping on your back, try sewing or patching a tennis ball onto the back of your nightgown pajamas or wear a special shirt with a pocket to hold the ball. The discomfort of the ball pressing against your back will prompt you to shift to side sleeping.

Say Goodbye to Snoring: Consult With Our Sleep Specialists at Healthy Sleep Midwest

Remember that understanding what triggers snoring in females is the first step to addressing it. Age, body weight, lifestyle habits, medication, and hormonal changes are major contributors to snoring in women. It’s crucial to seek medical advice to find out if sleep apnea is the cause of your snoring or other health conditions. So don’t let bothersome snoring ruin your restful sleep.

Schedule your consultation with our sleep specialist today for personalized tips.