Snoring can be a nuisance for your sleep partner and can lead to serious sleeping conditions as well.
Sharing a bed with a snorer can disrupt your daily routines as it can rob you of your sleep and even affect your relationship with your partner.
But do you know that there have been reports of people who snore while awake? Yes, it is a possibility and the funny thing is that they themselves can't hear their own snoring sound.
Before we understand how snoring occurs while awake, let us understand some of the causes that lead to snoring.
What Causes Snoring?
There are many factors you need to take into consideration to understand why people snore.
Snoring occurs when the soft palate at the back of your throat vibrates or when the tongue falls back into the throat causing airway obstruction while sleeping.
When you fall asleep, snoring typically occurs as you progress from mild sleep into a deep sleep, throat muscles relax enough which induces snoring.
Loud snoring is often caused when you struggle to breathe through the narrowed breathing passage which increases the tissue vibrations.
Some of the most common causes that lead to snoring are the anatomy of your mouth, nasal congestion, being overweight, sleep deprivation, alcohol consumption, or even your sleeping position can exacerbate snoring in individuals.
Snoring can cause excessive daytime sleepiness, stress, anxiety, insomnia which can lead to lifestyle changes, heart disease, change in blood pressure, etc.
All these factors can contribute to a sleep disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
If you notice sleep apnea symptoms, you must visit a sleep specialist at the earliest to avoid any risks for your health.
What Causes Snoring While Awake?
While it is unusual, snoring while awake can be a symptom of an underlying sleep disorder which we know as sleep apnea.
Men have a higher risk of sleep apnea compared to women, in fact, almost 80% of these people may not realise they have sleep apnea.
When you are awake, the muscle tone in your throat ensures that there is no obstruction in the airway. Sometimes these muscles relax without your intent while participating in yoga or during deep meditation.
These throat muscles relax to such an extent that they no longer hold the soft palate and other tissues from obstructing the airways, causing snoring while awake.
As you know, your sleep position can cause or prevent snoring.
For instance, sleeping upright is uncommon but you are less likely to snore in that position because of gravity.
Gravity ensures that the soft palate tissues stay in their respective place and do not obstruct the airway. Adding a wedge or pillow under your neck can also help reduce snoring.
Cold, allergies, nasal congestion, enlarged tonsils, etc can also lead to snoring while awake but this does not necessarily mean that you have serious sleep apnea symptoms or mild sleep apnea.
This type of snoring is usually due to factors that make your sinuses stuffy and can be treated with over-the-counter medications.
The good news is that you don't have to worry about any long-term sleep problems. Remember above all, OSA can be dangerous and shouldn't be overlooked. Read on to understand more.
Sleep Apnea, the Bad News?
Now that you are aware of what snoring while awake can lead to, you must note down the different symptoms that you have been experiencing.
Sleep apnea is a dangerous sleep disorder that can cause a person to stop breathing entirely.
This is mainly since sleep apnea patients have a narrower airway passage compared to non-apnea patients.
The resistance created can even affect the sound of your breathing even when you are awake.
Snoring, snorting, or gasping is the usual warning sign of someone suffering from sleep apnea. It indicates that the upper airway might be obstructed which causes noisy breathing.
Sleep apnea episodes can reoccur several hundred times during the night and last up to 10 seconds to 60 seconds.
Untreated sleep apnea can increase the risk of several diseases such as diabetes, stroke, drop in oxygen levels in the blood, heart increase, blood pressure, and so on.
There is more than one kind of sleep apnea:
Central Sleep Apnea (CSA)
People suffering from central sleep apnea or complex sleep apnea struggle because the brain does not send any signal to the breathing muscles to inhale.
This type of sleep apnea can be very dangerous to your health.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)
In this type of sleeping disorder, there is an airway obstruction that prevents the patient from taking a breath.
Even though the brain may send signals to inhale, the breathing muscle is unable to take a breath. OSA is often found in obese patients and must be treated at the earliest.
Both CSA and OSA
This is the most dangerous type of sleep apnea that has been found in some individuals which is the combination of both CSA and OSA.
Want to know more about sleep apnea and its effects? Watch this:
Sleep apnea comes in different forms, that's why it is important to treat your sleep disorder in the right manner.
For instance, if you are suffering from mild sleep apnea then you may require only certain lifestyle changes to reduce or treat the symptoms such as lose weight, quit alcohol and smoking, etc.
If you have allergies, colds, nasal congestion, you will need to treat them separately which will result in reduced or snoring.
But if the sleep apnea symptoms show signs of slowing down but increase, there are a number of treatments available.
The most common treatment for OSA patients is a CPAP machine that can open up the blocked upper airway through air pressure.
While it may seem a bit uncomfortable during the introduction stage, it is the most effective device in providing a safe and good quality of sleep.
Snoring while awake is a serious matter but it is often considered funny. The reason is that most people don't even realize that they are snoring or will believe the people around them when they tell you to stop snoring.
So if you are someone who is suffering from sleep apnea, it is very important that you see a doctor or sleep specialist to avoid any health risks at night or awake.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you have apnea with large tonsils?
Adenoids or enlarged tonsils can cause sleep apnea but they may not be a problem if you are standing or awake. But while you sleep or lie down, your narrowed airway can cause sleep apnea.
Is snoring a sign of bad health?
Snoring, in general, can cause problems to your roommate or sleeping partner but it also can lead to serious health conditions. Snoring is often associated with sleep apnea which can have a major health risk such as obesity, stroke, diabetes, and so on..
What are the warning signs of sleep apnea?
If you believe that you have sleep apnea or your sleep partner has noticed your struggle, some of the warning signs include loud snoring, noisy breathing, headache, daytime sleepiness, dry mouth, etc.
What does noisy breathing indicate?
Noisy breathing is caused by a narrowed airway or partially blocked airway. The sound created due to this is often audible and high-pitched that results in wheezing or whistling even while awake at times.
When should you see a doctor about snoring?
The best time to see a doctor about snoring is when your snoring gets loud, you struggle to sleep, wake up abruptly, morning headaches, a chronic feeling of being tired, and so on. the sooner you reduce snoring, the faster you can improve the quality of your sleep.
What sleep position is best for sleep apnea?
People prefer a variety of positions to sleep at night. But patients who are suffering from sleep apnea can consider side sleeping to improve their sleep quality. The reason is that it helps reduce snoring and encourages blood circulation in your body.