Did you know that on average, 1 in 4 women snore regularly during sleep? There is a common misconception that men are heavy and loud snorers while women are not. However, a new study shows that women snore too and often don’t own up to it. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, out of the 2000 patient participants, 28 percent of the women self-reported that they did not snore at all, but that was true for only 9 percent of them. Furthermore, nearly 40 percent of women who declared themselves to be non-snorers turned out to have severe or very severe snoring intensity.
Along with being unaware (or lying due to embarrassment) about their snoring, it was also found that women tend to understate how often and how loudly they snore. Perhaps this can be attributed to the long-standing assumption that snoring is a man’s problem. However, unawareness of one’s snoring can be potentially harmful for both future relationships and physical health.
Women snorers are at higher risk than men for heart complications
Regardless of gender, both men and women that have sleep apnea tend to have larger left ventricles versus those that do not. The left ventricle, one of four chambers of the heart, is located in the bottom left portion of the heart (below the left atrium). It serves to pump oxygenated blood from the lungs out to the body. Ventricles with enlarged walls are a sign that the heart needs to work harder to pump out blood to the rest of the body.
While snorers tend to have larger ventricles in general, when comparing between non-snorers and snorers of the same sex, a more significant difference was found in the size of the left ventricle between women compared to men. This suggests that women who snore experience earlier heart damage in relation to their male counterparts.
Contributing Factors for Snoring in Women
Amongst youth, men are twice as likely to snore compared to women. However, it has been found that amongst the elderly, and specifically after menopause, women snore in equal numbers as men do.
Regardless of gender, as we age, we tend to snore more frequently due to the loss in muscles in our palates, which become more susceptible to vibration.
It has been proven that snoring and weight gain are closely associated. A heavier person will tend to have more excess fat around the neck area and this narrows the air passage and causes a hindrance in the airflow, resulting in snoring during sleep.
- Pregnancy Status
Since weight gain is a common contributor to snoring, it is no surprise that during pregnancy, women will tend to snore much more frequently and at louder volumes. Another contributor to snoring during pregnancy is the nasal congestion pregnant women feel due to the expanding blood vessels in the nasal cavity.