For many people, snoring is regarded as a minor, sometimes comical, nuisance-something that's annoying but essentially nonthreating.  Recent scientific studies however have cast a light on the dangers of snoring and the problems it can create if left untreated.  Most people are familiar with how snoring sounds but most people are clueless as to why we it happens in the first place.  Understanding the reasons behind it is an important step to stop snoring and finally get that elusive good night's sleep.

So what causes snoring?  Although it's most commonly associated with overweight men,  snoring is a condition that has the ability to affect anyone.  In terms of physiology, the underlying cause of snoring is the narrowing of the passageway between the nose and the throat.  When the passageway is narrow, inhaled air will be concentrated towards the soft palate and the uvula, causing it to vibrate and thus creating that all-to-familiar snoring sounds.   There are several reasons why your passageway may narrow.  Sleep, for instance, causes your throat to relax and decreases the amount of space for air to travel.  Alcohol and certain drugs including muscle relaxers can also have the same effect and bring about snoring.  Lastly, being overweight causes snoring because of the increased fatty tissue in the neck and throat area.

The occasional bouts of snoring is not dangerous to health and, aside from irritating your loved ones, it usually doesn't cause any major problems.  Habitual snoring, however, is definitely a medical problem that can decrease the quality of life for the snorer and the bed mate.  If left untreated, it can lead to a serious condition called sleep apnea in which an individual actually stops breathing for an extended period of time.  This can eventually lead to high blood pressure which places added strain on the heart, increasing the likelihood of having a stroke and a heart attack. 

Despite the fact that it can be a very sensitive topic, snoring is no longer a topic that we can afford to ignore.  Although there's no cure to snoring, there are several lifestyle changes and sleep adjustments that you can make to control your snoring.  One of the best ways to reduce snoring is start a weight loss program.  The decrease in fatty tissue around the neck your neck will increase the passageway and decrease obstruction, making it easier for air to move in and out.  It's also a good idea to avoid any alcohols and muscle-relaxers before going to bed and to sleep on your side as oppose to sleeping on your back.  If your snoring persists, your doctor may recommend palate surgery or a tonsillectomy to treat the condition.  These remedies are invasive, however, so all other treatment options should be exhausted before opting for surgery.

Snoring has the ability to affect the health and overall well-being of the snorer and anyone who sleeps next to them.  The good news is that there are treatment options available to treat snoring and finally get it under control.  Knowing the facts and underlying causes behind it is the key to preventing snoring and getting that quality sleep that you deserve.