How does smoking make snoring worse?
You’ve probably read that smoking makes snoring worse – but you might not know exactly why. Some people downplay the dangers of smoking, which is understandable. For those who enjoy it, smoking can be a very pleasurable habit.
Plus, let’s not forget that cigarettes contain nicotine – which is not only a stimulant, but also addictive.
But the truth is that cigarettes are actually very bad for you – and in this article, we are going to discuss exactly why smoking can have such a drastic effect on the quality of your sleep.
How exactly does smoking increase your odds of snoring?
Here’s what you need to know.
According to European researchers, smoking is a ‘major contributor’ to the common snoring problem… but what exactly does smoking do to contribute to snoring?
It seems logical to assume that smoking will affect the respiratory system – but isn’t the damage done by tobacco-use more related to the lining of the lungs, and less related to constriction in the airways?
The statistics seem to paint a pretty consistent picture of how smoking is affecting sleepers. If you take a look at the numbers, you will easily see that there is a strong correlation between a frequency of smoking and a frequency of snoring.
Statistics even say that non-smokers are more likely to snore when they are exposed to second hand smoke within their own homes.
Is smoking really dangerous?
Yes. According to heart.org, smoking is the ‘most preventable cause of death in the United States.’ Nearly one out of every three coronary heart disease deaths can be attributed to either the effects of smoking or second-hand-smoke, and smoking is linked to just under 90% of all lung cancer cases in the US.
On average, smokers die more than 10 years earlier than non-smokers. But this isn’t really so surprising. There are more than 5,000 different components in cigarette smoke, and hundreds of them are very harmful. Some examples of types of materials that can be found in cigarette smoke include arsenic, benzene, cadmium, chromium 6, carbon monoxide, and tar.
Theories about why smoking affects snoring
One theory that researchers have come up with to try to explain these numbers is that smoking inflames the upper airway passages. Inflammation could obviously cause airway constriction, so it’s reasonable to assume that this could have a negative effect on how well the sufferer is able to breathe while sleeping.
When you take into account the many harmful substances that can be found in cigarette smoke, this certainly isn’t a far-fetched theory, either. Arsenic alone is toxic, not to mention carbon monoxide and the myriad of other chemicals that could potentially inflame the lining of the airway.
Another theory, however, suggests that nicotine withdrawal might have more to do with snoring than previously believed. This theory suggests that smokers suffer from sleep instability as a result of their nicotine cravings, and that this contributes to an increase in the risk of airway obstruction.
Another theory suggests that smokers might drink more alcohol than non-smokers, and this might play a bit of a role as well. Alcohol, as a depressant, relaxes the muscles in the body – including those around the throat. If smokers do tend to drink more alcohol than non-smokers, than it wouldn’t be surprising to learn that at least some of these statistics are influenced by it.
Is there anything you can do to minimize you risk of snoring while smoking?
Unfortunately, it seems that quitting smoking might be the only way to really negate its effect on your quality of sleep. Not drinking alcohol can also decrease your odds of snoring, but quitting smoking is probably your quickest route to a better night’s rest.
If you’re having trouble quitting, you might want to try picking up a smoking cessation product. Nicotine gum, nicotine patches, and even electronic cigarettes can all play a positive role in helping you to quit… though obviously, different methods will tend to work better for different people.