Snoring: It May all be in Your Head

Chances are you know someone who snores and you may snore too, even if you deny it! A new study now says a certain physical characteristic may be the cause of your snoring symptoms. Researchers in Cleveland say people with rounder heads are more likely to snore, and that could cause you to have a lot of sleepless nights.

Mary Morton, a respiratory therapist at Southeast Hospital's sleep lab says, "It's just your body make-up that you can't control. As far as weight there's the option of weight loss, but if it's the tissue in the back of your neck, or the muscle tone, it's not something you can consciously control." That could lead to hearing a loved one snore all night. Almost half of all adults snore occasionally, a problem that just grows worse with age. Morton says, "Your typical sleep apnea patient is a middle aged, slightly overweight male with a thick, short neck."

We've known for a while that being overweight may cause snoring, but now researchers say people with rounder heads may also be more likely to snore. That's because people with wider heads may have more narrow airways than people with thinner faces do. It's something that could cause a lot of sleepless nights. When you go to bed, your body goes through four to five sleep cycles. This includes REM sleep, the sleep that rejuvenates your body. "Your body has to have that REM sleep," Morton says. "If you're snoring or if you're also having apnea, you're rousing yourself and you're not completing your cycles. That means you're not getting REM sleep." If you don't get your REM sleep, you're more likely to get tired throughout the day. Not getting that sleep is why many people who snore feel sleepy in the daytime.

In some cases, there's not much you can do to stop snoring, but you can make it better. Try to avoid sleeping on your back, that's when snoring is the worst.