If you ever slept in a room with an uncle or an aunt who snores, you would know how annoying it can be. The person causing all the noise sleeps like a log, while the room partner spends the night tossing and turning; waking up bleary-eyed the next morning.
Did you know that snoring is a common ailment all over the world? Believe it or not, but on an average one in every four adults snores, says the website sleepquest.com, a site listed by Britannica.
Why do people snore? Why doesn’t a little baby snore? Well, snoring is caused by the flapping of soft tissue in the throat. When we sleep, the muscles in our bodies relax and the soft tissues become slack.
The wind pipe and snoring
When we breathe, the air passes through the wind pipe on its way to the lungs. At the same time, the muscles around the wind pipe contract making the wind pipe narrow. Since, the wind pipe is narrow, the air passing through it is under a greater pressure.
Normally, while we are awake, this is not a problem. However while we sleep, the soft flabby tissues in our throat is slack. The gush of high pressured air causes these flabby tissues to vibrate producing a rattling snore.
It is really very difficult to cure snoring. There are several flabby tissues in the airway, mouth and throat and finding out which is the errant flapper is quite difficult.
And the older a person gets, the looser the tissues in the throat and mouth become. This explains why elderly people snore more than young children.
A snore meter
British researchers are trying to develop a ‘snore meter’ that aims to identify which tissue is vibrating and causing the problem. Most scientists are of the belief that a snore is a mixture of different sounds, created by different tissues flapping around.
For instance, sometimes the flabby tissue of the throat and the mucous lining in the nose region vibrate together to produce an ear-splitting snore. Once the loudest flapper of the lot is identified, high-tech laser surgery would be used to harden the tissue so that it doesn’t flap anymore.