There are many things that contribute to snoring. Most of them involve the act of breathing in one way or another. Drinking alcohol and overeating are probably two of the worst. But what about cigarette smoke – Is smoking and snoring connected?
Is Smoking and Snoring Connected?
Several factors can influence snoring and make it worse. If you are a smoker, this may not be something you want to hear but tobacco smoke is one of those factors. There is a connection between smoking and snoring.
For any smoker, this is bad news because nicotine addiction is a hard habit to break.
In order to appreciate the way smoking can influence snoring you need to have an understanding of why snoring occurs.
They say knowledge is power. If that is true, the knowledge of why you snore and how smoking can affect it may help you find the will “power” to knock your habit on the head.
If you do decide to make such an important lifestyle change, don’t worry. There will be no need to go it alone. Your doctor will be able to recommend anti-smoking organizations and treatments that can help.
What Causes Snoring?
A little like the raspberries children blow, snoring is a noise caused by vibrating flesh.
During sleep, all the muscles of the body relax. This includes the ones at the back of the throat. In their relaxed state, the muscles and soft flesh that covers them become softer and more pliable.
This alone is not such a big problem. However, the tongue is a muscle too and is apt to drop towards the back of the throat. This creates a partial obstruction to airflow while breathing.
The presence of the obstruction causes air turbulence. It’s this that makes the soft flesh start to vibrate.
Snoring is more likely to occur if you breathe through your mouth. For that reason, any form of nasal congestion or obstruction that prevents nose breathing can contribute to snoring too.
Other factors including obesity, alcohol abuse, and, of course, smoking can come into play too.
In this article, we are going to focus on smoking and how it can make that hacksaw sound at the back of the throat even worse.
How Smoking Can Cause or Aggravate Snoring
You may be surprised to learn there are more than 7,000 chemicals in tobacco smoke. At least 250 of them are known to be harmful. Tobacco smoke contains carbon monoxide, ammonia, and even has traces of hydrogen cyanide.
Not surprisingly, when you inhale cigarette smoke it irritates the lining and cavity at the back of the throat.
This results in inflammation that makes the tissues in the airway lose elasticity and become more prone to collapse and cause obstruction.
Tobacco smoke also irritates the nasal passages, making you more prone to congestion. It can also make allergies worse.
When the nasal passages are obstructed, it necessitates mouth breathing. When combined with swelling in the throat it makes you even more likely to snore.
Even passive smoking can do these things but the negative effects are far more potent when you are the primary smoker.
Steps You Can Take
Obviously, if you want to prevent smoking from aggravating your snoring and damaging your health, the best thing to do is quit. If you can’t do it for yourself do it for your family, who have to live with your snoring and second-hand smoke.
If you are unwilling to stop smoking or find it too difficult a task, try to have your last cigarette of the day at least four hours before going to bed. This may allow things to settle down a bit.
Four hours without a cigarette and then off to bed! That may seem like a tall order but it may help you turn down the volume of your snoring. If you are lucky, and there are no other contributing factors, you might not snore at all.
What Happens If You Stop Smoking – Will My Snoring Stop?
Although stopping smoking has the potential to reduce or end your problem with snoring, other problems may take its place—for a little while, anyway.
Giving up smoking often causes sleep disorders. It’s a response to the lack of nicotine but sleep disorder due to stopping smoking rarely lasts longer than three weeks.
Unfortunately, research shows sleep disorders of this nature make people who have quit smoking more likely to relapse.
Nicotine replacement therapy has the potential to interfere with sleep as well and may cause some people to experience nightmares.
None of these things make it easy to stop smoking but, if you do, it will be worth it in the end.
Is Smoking and Snoring Connected – The Bottom Line
There is a relationship between smoking and snoring. If all the bad things tobacco smoke does to your heart and lungs has failed to make you strengthen your resolve and knock the habit on the head, perhaps the thought of a better night’s sleep will.
Smoking is not the only thing that influences snoring but smoking less or stopping completely is a good still a good move. As well as helping you to get your snoring under control, a move to a smoke-free lifestyle will certainly improve your overall health.
Although your sleep may be disrupted for a few weeks if you stop completely, it’s only a temporary thing.
If you stop smoking, you may find it reduces your snoring but does not make it go away. This will mean there are additional factors that contribute to our snoring as well. Using a good anti-snoring device, such as MAD or TSD may take you the rest of the way.
There are also other steps you can take, such as avoiding late-night drinking, using a room humidifier, getting more exercise, and losing some weight. Any change that improves your lifestyle for the better has the potential to silence that noise from your throat.
If you stop smoking you will have taken a very important first step. It may not be the only step you need to take, and you could be in for a long walk, but it will be worth it in the end.