It seems like every sitcom about married life features a snoring man and an exasperated woman trying to get some sleep over all the noise. But how true is this stereotype that men are the ones who snore?
It’s actually pretty accurate! According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, an estimated 40 percent of adult men in the United States snore, while only 24 percent of adult women snore on a regular basis. So, men aren’t the only ones who snore, but they certainly are more likely to snore than women. Let’s find out why.
Men Snore More Than Women Because of Biological Reasons
To begin with, what is occurring when someone snores, exactly?
When we lay down and go to sleep, the muscles in our throat relax. Sometimes, they can relax too much and block the airway. This can make the tissues of the mouth or throat vibrate and in turn create a loud sound we all recognize as a snore.
Several of the reasons that men are much more likely to snore than women have to do with biology and the size and shape of the throat and airway. For instance, women have smaller throats, so when their tongues block the airway, it’s usually blocked completely, which causes them to wake up. In comparison, men’s throats are larger, so when the tongue blocks their airways, there’s enough space for air to escape and cause snoring.
Another difference between men and women is that men have a greater change in lung volume on a regular basis, and when they lie down, they have a greater change in their airway size.
Although it’s true that not everyone who snores has sleep apnea, snoring is certainly a common symptom, and anyone who snores should at least be evaluated for the sleep disorder. Obstructive sleep apnea can cause serious health problems, especially when it comes to the heart, and can even lead to death when not treated.
For more information on sleep apnea, call Dr. Norman’s office today at (425) 320-3509.