The connection between snoring and sleep disorder generally is explained by the condition known as sleep apnea, which is a disorder that affects one’s breathing during sleep. When a person suffers from this problem, he or she not only snores chronically and severely but also stops breathing for periods of time throughout the night. Though snoring is common and not necessarily indicative of a serious problem, sleep apnea can result in a number of other issues, such as uneven sleeping patterns and extreme tiredness throughout the day.
Snoring occurs when the soft tissues in the back of the throat vibrate because of obstructed air flow. Many people snore periodically for a variety of reasons. For instance, if a person suffers from allergies and has clogged or swollen nasal passages, breathing can be hindered during sleep, which results in snoring. Having very large tonsils can also induce snoring as the large tissues in the back of the throat block air flow during sleep. In either case, snoring generally is not severe and can be remedied with appropriate treatment.
Snoring and sleep disorder are usually linked if a person experiences sleep apnea in addition to snoring. Sleep apnea — which can occur in two forms — causes a person to stop breathing for several seconds at a time, up to 100 times or more in one night. The first form, obstructive sleep apnea, causes severe snoring, because the airway is blocked when the soft tissues in the throat collapse and relax. The second form, central sleep apnea, is less common in the disorder and occurs when the brain does not send signals to the muscles in the throat to facilitate breathing during sleep. In both cases, sleep apnea disrupts a person’s sleeping pattern and can lead to several other serious health issues, such as fatigue, heart disease and high blood pressure.
Though sleep apnea can occur regardless of gender or age, snoring and sleep disorder generally appear more frequently in males because their necks and throats are thicker and contain more loose tissue. The condition can also affect people who are overweight, those who are older than 50 and those who have poor sleep and exercise habits. Furthermore, the use of alcohol or antidepressants can contribute to snoring and sleep disorder because they cause the muscles in the face and neck to relax considerably, which makes the tissues in the throat slump and construct air flow.
Snoring and sleep disorder can be treated by modifying lifestyle patterns, such as developing regular sleep and exercise habits and decreasing the use of alcohol and antidepressants. Nasal reconstruction surgery can also be helpful in certain cases of obstructive sleep apnea. A common form of treatment that sufferers of snoring and sleep apnea utilize is the continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask. The CPAP mask is placed over the nose and mouth during sleep, and it allows oxygen to continuously flow to the lungs, helping to prevent snoring and sleep disorder.