Psychosomatic and physiological causes of snoring during sleep

For a long time, doctors did not pay enough attention to the phenomenon of snoring, but recent studies have shown that it can precede the development of serious respiratory disorders . The main causes of snoring are deformities of the nasal septum, obesity and psychological problems.

Snoring is a specific process that can accompany breathing in a dream; it has a pronounced low-frequency rattling sound and vibration. It manifests itself as a result of excessive relaxation of the muscles of the tongue, soft palate, uvula, and other parts of the larynx and pharynx. Currently, there has been a significant increase in the number of clinical studies specializing in the study of the phenomenon of snoring. This is due to the fact that unfavorable environmental conditions, as well as frequent cases of obesity, provoke an increase in breathing disorders during sleep.

According to statistics, over 30 percent of adults suffer from them, and this figure increases over time. So, in the age group over 60, night snoring is observed in 65 percent of cases. Further, all the possible causes of this condition are considered in detail, as well as effective preventive measures and methods of treatment.

About the phenomenon of snoring

It has long been believed that snoring is one of the signs of good health. It was customary to consider it as an annoying everyday manifestation. However, to date, medicine has made great strides in rejecting such conclusions. It was found that during sleep, the intensity of sounds made by a snoring person reaches 70-80 decibels (for comparison, the intensity of noise from a working jackhammer ranges from 80-90 decibels).

Snoring can be accompanied by sleep disorders, decreased performance, and fatigue. Based on the above considerations, modern experts in the field of somnology began to view snoring as a serious disease. Against the background of it, obstructive sleep apnea may develop . So, 21% of snoring patients are diagnosed with OSA.

What is snoring? Ronchopathy , or benign nocturnal snoring, is a common pathology, it manifests itself in unpleasant sounds made by a sleeping person. It is customary to distinguish between two types of ronchopathy :

  • no episodes of apnea;
  • accompanied by apnea (periodic stops of breathing).

A number of scientists and researchers defend the hypothesis that loud snoring is a kind of symptom that signals the development of obstructive sleep apnea. Pathology provokes the cessation, stopping of pulmonary ventilation while the person is in a sleeping state. Stopping breathing can last from a few seconds to three minutes. In rare cases, the syndrome can be fatal. 

The diagnosis and treatment of this disease is dealt with by specialists in various fields of medicine: neurology, therapy, endocrinology and many others, but it has not yet been possible to thoroughly study the features of the etiology and pathogenesis. As for the causes of snoring, they are psychosomatic and physiological.

Features of the development mechanism

To date, it is known for certain that the pathogenesis of ronchopathy is based on the loss of tone of the muscles of the larynx, pathological relaxation of the tissues of the soft palate. The development of the disease can be influenced by airway obstruction caused by some obstruction (for example, it can be located in the nasal mucosa ). Instead of directly passing into the lungs, the air stream swirls, provoking vibrations in the soft structures of the pharynx, the upper oral cavity. This is accompanied by characteristic rattling sounds.

Ronchopathy can be chronic or temporary. For example, it is common for snoring to occur with a cold. Breathing problems are caused by a runny nose or excess phlegm in the throat. The disease does not require any special treatment; it disappears on its own after recovery. However, a person who has a cold should contact an ENT doctor to prescribe therapy for the disease that provoked the appearance of characteristic sounds during breathing in order to exclude possible side effects.

The reasons for the development of pathology

Snoring can be triggered by some kind of mechanical obstacle, due to which there is a twisting of air currents. Snoring can be caused by:

  • swelling of the pharynx and larynx caused by allergic reactions;
  • inflammation of the nasal mucosa, which occurs with rhinitis;
  • adenoids or polyps in the nose;
  • deformation and curvature of the nasal septum through mechanical action;
  • Thornwald cyst formation ;
  • congenital pathologies associated with disorders of the upper respiratory tract;
  • narrowing of the lumen of the pharynx, deposition of fat in the walls of the pharynx, provoked by obesity, obesity;
  • tumors and neoplasms in the area of ​​the nasopharynx, respiratory tract.

Also, snoring through the nose can develop due to frequent tonsillitis, chronic tonsillitis. These diseases provoke deformation of the tonsils, which leads to disruption of the respiratory tract.

The psychosomatics of snoring

It is impossible to cure ronchopathy with the help of drugs and medication, so doctors advise people suffering from it to agree to surgery. However, such a proposal is not relevant in all cases – often the disease develops due to psychological reasons.

The psychosomatics of snoring is usually caused by frequent stress and anxiety, nervous strain and overwork. At different ages, various psychological causes of the disease can be distinguished. For example, children may make snoring sounds during sleep due to family conflicts, strained relationships with parents or peers.

Psychological factors of snoring in women:

  • negative attitudes that prevent you from moving forward, low level of motivation;
  • heavy experience of personality crises and old grievances;
  • the habit of “keeping everything to yourself.”

When negative emotions do not spill out, and a woman keeps all her stresses and experiences deep inside, this leads to the development of many diseases, in particular, prolonged snoring at night, which is practically unavoidable, since it is not corrected by treatment.

Psychological factors of snoring in men: 

  • blocking, suppression of negative feelings and emotions that cannot find a way out, which gradually leads to the concentration of negative energy;
  • isolation and secrecy, the inability to share your own experiences with someone;
  • low level of motivation, a feeling of unfulfillment.

These factors lead to the fact that the male body begins to need an emergency discharge, trying to throw out the accumulated emotions. This is what causes snoring during sleep.

Damage to the nasal septum

The most common causes of snoring, which are found in all age groups, are associated with curvature and deformity of the septum. The nasal septum is a plate that divides the nasal cavity in half. Mechanical trauma or damage can distort the septum, making it difficult for air to flow into the lungs, provoking the development of chronic diseases associated with the release of excess mucus in the nasopharynx, such as rhinitis. In this case, a rattling sound when breathing comes from the nostrils. A person can publish it not only during sleep, but also in a waking state.

In such a case, ronchopathy can be cured only by surgical intervention . The operation that is performed to correct the position of the nasal septum is called septoplasty . It involves the following actions: 

  • incision of the mucous membrane and perichondrium;
  • removal of the curved part of the septum by removing the cartilage;
  • removal of bone ridges;
  • suturing.

Despite the fact that this operation is considered effective, it does not give one hundred percent guarantees. In rare cases, after septoplasty , signs of ronchopathy may still appear , and in any position of the body.


According to statistics, people who have problems with the thyroid gland or are overweight suffer from ronchopathy much more often. This is due to the fact that fatty tissue is deposited in the neck, squeezing the upper airways, narrowing the throat.

It was noted above that snoring may precede the development of obstructive sleep apnea. Obesity is one of the factors that provoke the disease. Snoring with a closed mouth, accompanied by attacks of respiratory arrest, is usually diagnosed in people who have problems with overweight.

Thus, snoring due to being overweight is a serious problem that needs to be addressed immediately. Ignoring it can lead to a lot of negative side effects, up to prolonged respiratory arrest during sleep with a fatal outcome.


A smoker is often diagnosed with swelling and inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nasopharynx caused by chemical compounds of tobacco smoke. Such reactions of the body can lead to a narrowing of the pharynx, disruption of the upper respiratory tract.

In the course of large-scale clinical studies, a stable correlation was revealed: the higher the smoking experience, the greater the likelihood of ronchopathy . According to statistics, the percentage of snoring among smokers is much higher than among people who do not have such bad habits.

Snoring due to smoking does not require any special treatment or surgery. You can get rid of it simply by stopping smoking. If it is not possible to completely abandon the bad habit, then there are a number of recommendations that will also allow you to normalize breathing: 

  • try not to smoke two to three hours before bedtime;
  • after a cigarette smoked before going to bed, rinse the throat with a solution of warm purified water and vegetable oil.

These manipulations should prevent snoring.

Cervical osteochondrosis

Surprisingly, snoring and osteochondrosis also have a strong relationship. With disorders and injuries of the cervical spine, a person may experience a feeling of suffocation, lack of air.

Cervical osteochondrosis makes it difficult to inhale, provokes shortness of breath. These symptoms are most acute at night. Snoring caused by this disease is dangerous by respiratory arrest. Lack of oxygen causes irreversible processes in the brain. That is why, after sleep, a person still feels tired and sleepy.  

Some useful information

A person may not make snoring sounds in all positions. There is an opinion among the people that if a snorer rolls over from his back to his side, he will subside. In some cases, this rule does work, but few people know that the position in which a person begins to snore can signal the causes of the disorder.

Snoring on the stomach occurs:

  • due to displacement of the lower jaw;
  • due to lengthening of the uvula;
  • due to deformation of the tonsils;
  • with the formation of adenoids and polyps.

Side snoring occurs:

  • due to curvature of the nasal septum;
  • due to congenital features of the nasopharynx;
  • due to age-related changes in the nasopharynx.

Back snoring occurs:

  • due to being overweight;
  • due to smoking abuse;
  • due to problems with the cervical spine.

Back snoring and nasal congestion are also linked. For example, a person can make rattling sounds in a dream during a cold, progressive viral diseases and infections that provoke a runny nose.

Korean study

In the course of a comprehensive clinical study, Korean scientists managed to find out that people who snore in their sleep are more susceptible to bronchitis. Another statement is also correct: snoring can occur due to bronchitis.

The study lasted for four years, during which time more than 4 thousand people took part in it, among whom were both those who complained of nocturnal ronchopathy and those who did not experience such problems. During the observation period, 314 participants were diagnosed with bronchitis or bronchial asthma.

After a detailed analysis of information about patients (their age, bad habits, chronic diseases and disorders), scientists came to the conclusion that snoring contributes to the development of bronchitis. So, in people who snore, this disease was diagnosed more often than in those who did not have such problems. The reason for the relationship has not yet been established.

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