Anatomical Causes of Snoring You Can Modify
There are some anatomical causes of snoring that you can impact by changing your lifestyle. These include:
Obesity can have a significant impact on your snoring. Being overweight, especially if you carry weight around your throat, can contribute to airway collapse. In addition, fat deposits can build up along the airway. The tongue, especially, can grow significantly larger as you gain weight. However, losing weight is not always easy, especially if you have sleep apnea, which affects your body’s ability to burn calories.
Your muscles relax at night, but if they are stronger, they will better keep your airway open even when they relax. Some people recommend airway-specific exercises, but little evidence suggests that they’re better than being more active generally. Muscle tone decreases as we age, which is part of why snoring risk increases.
Other Anatomical Causes of Snoring
There are other anatomical causes of snoring that you can’t do much about. These causes might benefit from professional treatments like oral appliances. Surgery might be advised in some cases, but be aware that sleep apnea can increase surgical risks.
Some other causes of snoring include:
- Deviated septum
- Enlarged turbinates
- Large and/or floppy soft palate
- Enlarged uvula and/or tonsils
- Large tongue
- Recessed jaw
The septum is the divider between your nostrils. If it’s deviated, it may obstruct airflow through your nose. In addition, if nostril structures such as turbinates are enlarged, it may restrict airflow. Sometimes, you can remedy this type of snoring with nasal dilators, but it may require surgery.
Throat structures such as the soft palate (the back of the roof of your mouth), uvula, tonsils, and tongue can contribute to a narrow airway.
Finally, if your jaw is back further than ideal, it can narrow your airway. Since your jaw is the primary bony support for your airway, moving it forward can open it even if your jaw isn’t recessed.