Do you wake up to complaints from your husband or wife about your sudden snoring?
This can come as a surprise, especially if you’ve always believed that you sleep quietly at night. Or if your soulmate has never complained before.
But don’t be alarmed; there’s a perfect explanation for the sudden onset of snoring.
You may have made some lifestyle changes recently, like drinking late at night or smoking. Or perhaps age is simply catching up with you.
Either way, the sudden onset of snoring can be controlled and even reversed if addressed immediately.
With that in mind, this post explores the causes of the sudden onset of snoring and potential solutions. You will also learn effective ways to deal with this issue, so you can regain your restful nights of sleep.
Snoring: Brief Overview
Snoring refers to the harsh or horse sounds produced during sleep. It occurs when air flows around the relaxed tissues in the back of your throat, making them vibrate. The vibration can range from soft noises to loud and disruptive sounds.
Snoring is not unique to certain individuals. In fact, research shows that most people snore now and then, especially after the age of 40. But in some individuals, snoring can be a chronic problem, pointing to an underlying lifestyle-related condition or sleep disorder.
Common Causes of Snoring
Snoring can be caused by several factors that make your throat muscles relax at night, including:
- Excess weight
- Alcohol consumption a few hours before bedtime
- Using sleep medication
- Sleep deprivation
- Nasal congestion and allergies
Other common causes include:
Why Did I Start Snoring Suddenly?
If it’s your first time snoring or the intensity of your snoring has exploded, it’s essential to explore the potential causes. Here are a few reasons that might explain this unexpected change.
1. You Have a New Sleeping Partner
Chances are, you’ve been snoring all along. However, there was no one around to tell you. But now, you have a new partner who founds your snoring disrupting.
And if you’re wondering why the snoring didn’t wake you up ( considering it’s loud), it probably did. You have been waking up, but you don’t remember because you often fall back asleep immediately.
Snoring usually stops when you wake up, so it makes sense that you will rapidly resume your sleep. However, other individuals don’t share this luxury.
Once the loud sounds of snoring wake them up, they can have a hard time getting a good night’s sleep. This affects their productivity and functionality during the day and their overall health and well-being.
Also Read: Can You Hear Yourself Snore?
2. Irritants and Allergens
Seasonal changes bring irritants and allergens, like pollen. These could cause inflammation of the tissues in your throat, narrowing your airway and restricting airflow.
When this happens, you might end up snoring loudly, even if you are a non-snorer. Allergens also cause sinus inflammation and nasal congestion.
Common irritants that could cause snoring, include:
- Tobacco and marijuana smoke–If you’re new to smoking tobacco and marijuana, you might snore at night. The smoke irritates the airway and disrupts your sleep cycle. Even worse, nicotine-based smoking products, like cigarettes and vapes, could trigger inflammation in the gut, leading to life-threatening conditions. While quitting smoking can help alleviate snoring, don’t expect immediate relief.
- Dust and debris – When cleaning the house, dust, debris, and pet dander can fill the air which you might breathe in during the night. These irritants will trigger snoring by causing nasal inflammation and congestion.
- New Exposures: Maybe you have introduced a new pet into your home or painted your house. These can introduce you to new irritants that can exacerbate snoring.
Certain prescription medications like Benzodiazepines used to relieve anxiety can increase your risk of snoring. These medications work as muscle relaxant, meaning they influence muscle tone and airway dynamics. As a result, they increase snoring. Benzodiazepines are also used as sleep aids.
Some type of benzodiazepine drugs include:
If you’ve recently started taking these medications, they might be the culprit behind your snoring. Such drugs can also depress breathing, worsening obstructive sleep apnea. So, consider asking the doctor to adjust your dose to reduce cases of snoring.
You also need to watch out for the following drugs:
4. Changes in Habits and Patterns
Another contributing factor to snoring is a change of habit or lifestyle. One such change is increased alcohol consumption, especially before or close to bedtime.
Here’s something you didn’t know:
Alcohol increases the frequency and duration of obstructive events in the upper airways, making mild snoring louder.
So, if your snoring has increased following a change in your drinking habits, try to reduce your alcohol consumption.
You might also experience a sudden onset of snoring if you have moved with someone who smokes a lot. As said earlier, nicotine irritates the nasal tissues, narrowing the airways and making it hard to breathe at night.
Additionally, if you consume foods that you are allergic to, you might find yourself snoring at night. These foods might cause inflammations in the nasal passage and throat, obstructing your airway and forcing you to snore.
Sleeping for less than the recommended hours and exercises might also cause snoring.
5. Sleep Position
Another factor that may cause people to snore is a sudden change in sleep position. If you often sleep on your side, and now you’ve shifted to sleeping on your back, this can be the culprit behind your snoring.
When lying on your back, the base of your tongue and soft tissues in your upper airway collapse back to the wall of your throat. Because of this, you can start to snore loudly.
Fortunately, you can alleviate this issue by sleeping on your side again. For the best result, consider using a gull-length pillow (body pillow) to support your whole body.
Do Women Snore More Than Men?
No! Men are more likely to snore than women because of anatomical reasons. According to research, approximately 40% of adult men snore occasionally compared to 24% of women.
Both men and women have an oropharynx, an oral part of the pharynx. However, the former have a larger oropharynx than the latter because of their longer upper airway, bigger mouth roof, and lower larynx. Because of this, tissues at the back of the mouth have a large space to fall into, which can cause snoring.
Besides that, men usually have more fat in their neck and upper chest, which can press against the air passage and make it narrower.
When this happens, it becomes difficult for oxygen to flow normally when sleeping. And whenever air is forced through the opening, the tissues at the back of the throat vibrate and increase the intensity of snores.
Wait, there’s more:
Men and women experience changes in their airways’ structure whenever they sit or lie down. However, these changes are quite dramatic for men.
Even worse, males are more likely to consume alcohol in excess than females. The same applies to smoking. These leave them vulnerable to snoring.
So, what causes snoring in women? Stick with us and we will provide you with an answer in a few.
Why Did My Wife Suddenly Start Snoring?
Here, we will explore a few reasons women might snore suddenly. Check them out!
Scientists say there’s an association between weight gain and increased odds of snoring in women. They believe women with higher BMI or who are overweight tend to have more fat deposits in the neck, tongue, and throat.
These excess fat or redundant tissues narrow airways and hinder airflow, predisposing them to a higher risk of snoring.
Snoring when pregnant is not uncommon. During pregnancy, blood levels increase by about 45% to support the developing baby. This increases blood flow and can narrow nasal passages. If this happens, it can cause congestion and make it harder for the mother to breathe through the nose while sleeping.
Weight gain is another side effect of pregnancy. As highlighted above, overweight women are more likely to snore because of the excess tissues around the neck and throat that compress the air passage.
Hormones produced during pregnancy like estrogen, and progesterone can also cause snoring. These hormones facilitate fluid buildup in the nasal cavity, reducing the space to breathe and increasing the risk of nasal congestion.
Women who have reached pre-menopause or menopause are highly susceptible to snoring. During pre-menopause, menopause, and post-menopause, women experience significant physiological changes and disturbances as their bodies and brain adjust to this process.
One change worth highlighting is a reduction of estrogen and progesterone, which causes a variety of side effects, including:
- Hot flushes
- Heart palpitation
- Headaches and migraines
- Hair thinning
- Memory and concentration issues
But how does menopause cause snoring?
Well, this biological process reduces muscle tone in the throat, which causes it to narrow and leads to breaks in breathing and snoring.
Sleep apnea, also known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea, is a condition characterized by partial or complete collapse of the airway. Women with this condition usually experience periods of paused breathing throughout the night, which can last up to 10 seconds.
This condition occurs when there’s a severe obstruction of airflow due to the narrowing of a person’s airway. As a consequence, an individual experiences a hard time breathing and sometimes might even wake up in the middle of the night.
One common symptom of sleep apnea is loud snores accompanied by stops in breathing. But you need to also watch out for the following signs and symptoms:
- High blood pressure
- Chest pain at night
- Restless sleep
- Morning headaches
- Sore throat upon waking up
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
How to Stop Snoring
The best way to treat or alleviate snoring is to identify the root cause of the problem. For example, if your snoring results from excessive drinking, minimizing alcohol intake can help reduces cases of snoring.
Below, we’ve highlighted other effective treatments for snoring. Let’s go through them:
- Get checked for sleep apnea: Sleep apnea is arguably the most common sleep disorder after insomnia. It affects about 2 to 4 percent of the world’s population. So, if you’ve suddenly started to snore loudly or have constant chest pain at night, it’s best to speak to your physician or a sleep specialist. These experts will determine if your snoring is related to sleep apnea and provide you with appropriate treatments.
- Change sleep position: If you often sleep on your back, you’re predisposed to snoring. So, we recommend you change your sleeping position. Consider sleeping on your side to avoid obstruction of your airways, which might cause snoring. Sleeping on your side might also help reduce the chances of developing obstructive sleep apnea.
- Avoid alcohol and smoking: If your snoring is alcohol or smoking-related, it’s best to reduce intake (especially before bedtime) or even quit these harmful substances entirely. While the effect might not be immediate, over time, your snore will become mild and eventually, they will stop.
- Treat nasal congestion: Flues, colds, and allergies can cause all kinds of nasal congestion, leading to snoring during the night. By taking medications, you can relieve the congestion and enjoy a good night’s sleep. It also helps to couple up the drugs with a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your room. Showering with hot water or breathing steam from a bowl can also be effective at relieving nasal blockage and snoring. However, if the congestion is constant, we recommend you talk to an ENT (ear, nose, and throat) specialist to get to the bottom of the problem.
- Practice mouth and throat exercises: These exercises might help reduce your snores. Mouth and throat exercises will strengthen your airway muscles. As a result, they will become toned and less likely to collapse when you’re sleeping.
- Address obesity: Its clear excess weight is not healthy, not only for your sleep quality but for your overall well-being. So, if you’re overweight or obese, it’s time to work out and change your diet to shed off the excess fat. This way, you can improve your muscle function and reduce excess fat around your neck to open up your airways.
As we wrap up, it’s clear many people snore at night. However, most individuals don’t even know they snore unless their partner tells them.
Snoring might not sound like a big deal, but it can be a big problem. Not only does it disrupt your loved one night’s sleep, but shows an underlying problem like sleep apnea.
So, if you snore unexpectedly or your mild snoring becomes intense, it’s best not to ignore it. Try to understand the reason behind this change to identify the best solution and restore your peaceful nights.
Oftentimes, sudden onset of snoring occurs after making lifestyle changes, like increased alcohol consumption.
But if you address this problem and the snoring persists, it’s time to seek medical interventions from sleep specialists. By doing so, you can regain control over your sleep and improve your well-being.
With that in mind, thank you for stopping by. If you have any questions, inform us in the comment section below.