Do Men Snore More Than Women?
Yes, men are more likely to snore than women, and by a significant margin. No, it’s not a misrepresentation of stereotypes, it is the reality. A study shows that men are almost twice as likely to snore as women. The thing is, there are different reasons for snoring in women and men.
Men are anatomically susceptible to snoring
Men’s air passages are typically a lot narrower than women’s. This is because men have thicker soft tissue around their necks that constricts the air passage when they sleep. Men typically have a larger cross-sectional area of soft palate tissue that flaps around and makes more noise.
When air is forced through this narrow opening, the tissues that surround the air passage vibrate harder, resulting in loud whistles, wheezing, or rattling sounds.
Men’s airways collapse more
And since there are thicker tissues around the air passage, the airways are more prone to obstruction. Men have larger epiglottitis and harder palates that relax while they are asleep. When this happens they can collapse too far back down the throat, resulting in the airways being blocked.
Men carry more fat
Fat is distributed differently on men’s bodies than on women’s.
Men store more fat in the upper chest and neck areas, which can press against the airways and narrow the air passage. The chances of airways collapsing are higher in heavier individuals since they have more fat around these areas. Women, on the other hand, store their fat around the hips, buttocks, and thighs.
Reasons for Snoring in Women
Imbalances in the production of hormones, especially during the transitional phases of pregnancy, and menopause, change women’s metabolism. These hormonal changes typically slow down women’s metabolism, causing them to gain weight. Excessive weight gain leads to a buildup of fat around the neck, causing the narrowing of the air passage which hinders the natural flow of air, resulting in snoring.
Snoring is common among pregnant women. This is due to the expanding blood vessels around the nasal cavity.
Changes in hormones during pregnancy cause the dilation of blood vessels leading to mucous membranes in the nose swelling. This narrows the nasal passage, causing congestion in the nose, making it harder for women to breathe normally while sleeping, which leads to snoring.
The hormones estrogen and progesterone aid in keeping the muscles around the airways in good shape. During the menopausal stage, there is a shortage in the production of these hormones. As a result, muscle tone around the nasal area is reduced, causing it to collapse easily when lying down. And as hormone levels further drop, many women tend to develop sleep apnea.
Snoring is a lot worse when you are exhausted. This is because your body is trying hard to put you in a deeper sleep, causing your muscles to relax a lot more. This leads to muscles in your airways collapsing, blocking the air passage, which in turn, results in loud snoring.
How to Stop Snoring in Women Naturally
It is natural for women to feel embarrassed about issues that are typically associated with men. Fortunately, there are ways women can stop snoring naturally. Simple lifestyle changes like avoiding alcohol before bedtime, cutting cigarette smoking, and observing a good bedtime routine can make a huge difference in the occurrence of snoring in women.
Other natural ways to stop snoring in women naturally, include:
Choose a healthy sleeping position
Your sleeping position has a big impact on the occurrence of snoring. Sleeping on your back, for example, causes the tongue and soft palate to crumple back and collapse, blocking your airway. The result, of course, is snoring.
Sleeping on your side can easily minimize this problem, as it significantly reduces the compression in your airway.
Get good-quality pillows
Good pillows can make a huge difference to snoring. Pillows that are too soft, fluffy, or too firm, put your spine out of alignment, which ultimately puts your neck in a disadvantageous position. You probably notice this when you wake up with a stiff neck, neck pain, backache, headaches, sore jaws, and feeling tired after a full night’s sleep. To avoid this, invest in quality pillows that will elevate your head without hurting your neck. There are many pillows out there specifically designed to address snoring, such as orthopedic neck pillows.
Also, replace pillows every 6 months to get the maximum benefit. You can also put your pillows in a fluffy cycle every couple of weeks to get rid of dust mites that contribute to allergic reactions, which leads to swelling of your nasal passages at night which results in snoring.
Lose excess weight
While easier said than done, losing weight can tremendously help you minimize the risk of snoring. When you lose excess weight, you also trim down fat tissues around the neck, leaving your airways with more space.
Keeping your body hydrated will help improve snoring to some degree. This is because when you have enough liquids in your body, your body will not be forced to increase the secretion of mucus around the throat and mouth.
Take care of your nasal passages
By taking good care of your nasal passages, you are allowing air to move in and out freely, preventing the likelihood of snoring. Some common ways to keep your nasal passages clear include:
- Nasal strips – these can help improve the space in your nasal passage and effectively reduce snoring.
- Nasal dilator – this adhesive strip comes with embedded splints that can help decrease airflow resistance and help keep your airway open.
- Antihistamine pills – blocked airways are often a result of allergic reactions. Nasal sprays and antihistamine pills can help your body minimize allergic reactions and help open up your airways.
Have good sleep hygiene and routine
Observing good sleeping habits can improve your quality of sleep. This includes:
- Consistent sleep schedule – going to bed at the exact same time every night will help your body get used to a sleeping schedule. This will teach your body to wake up at the same time each morning, even on weekends.
- Make your bedroom conducive for sleep – make sure your bedroom makes you feel relaxed and comfortable. Keep it dark and cold to induce sleep. Invest in blinds and blackout curtains, and remove distractions like TV and computers from your bedroom.
- Exercise regularly – being physically active during the day will help you fall asleep faster at night.
- Prep your body for sleep – avoid big meals before bedtime, and stay away from alcohol and caffeine.
Snoring is not just a bedtime nuisance, it can also be a sign of bigger health problems such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which is a precursor of more serious health issues like obesity, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, heart problems, etc. Thus, if your snoring doesn’t seem to go away, even after following these natural solutions above, it will be best to be professionally diagnosed and treated by a sleep specialist.