(Jason Amatoury/ Lifehacker) — There’s nothing quite like the sound of snoring as the ultimate sleep interrupter. But snoring can be more than just a frustration to those in your vicinity. Sometimes snoring is linked to more serious health problems, such as obstructive sleep apnoea. An emerging line of research suggests snoring may directly contribute to cardiovascular health problems.
How does snoring occur?
When we go to sleep, the muscles of the upper airway relax, causing it to become “floppy” and partially collapse. This occurs to some extent in all of us.
However, in some people the airway is excessively narrowed, particularly at the level of the tongue and soft palate/uvula (the visible structure you see hanging at the back of the throat). As we breathe in, we produce suction pressures to draw air into the lungs. This further narrows the airway (similar to when sucking too hard on a straw) and can cause upper airway tissues such as the soft palate to vibrate or flutter, like a flag in the wind. This movement creates the noise of snoring. (…)