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Does Drinking Alcohol Cause Snoring?

Most adults have experienced that sleep — the type of sleep that follows consuming too much alcohol. That type of sleep when your jaw goes slack and you snore from deep within your throat.

 

Maybe it was the night after a wedding with an open bar. 

Maybe it’s the night after your school reunion and the class clown still knows how to line up a crowd to take shots.

Maybe it’s the night after celebrating an anniversary with your spouse and they asked you to finish off the bottle of wine at dinner because they were driving home.  

Or maybe it’s just a good nap after overindulging at Sunday brunch. 

Most adults have experienced that sleep — the type of sleep that follows consuming too much alcohol. That type of sleep when your jaw goes slack and you snore from deep within your throat. 

Even if you’re not a regular snorer, it’s likely that you’re similar to most of the population who snore more when they’ve had a few libations. And if you’re already a chronic snorer, alcohol will certainly make it worse.

Why? Because alcohol disrupts the normal sleep cycle.

After a few hours of sleeping with your mouth agape, you usually wake up with it extremely dry and a swollen uvula — painfully engorged, feeling like you’re going to choke on it, from beating it up like a punching bag all night long. Your throat is sore and you’re dehydrated

Alcohol makes you snore more...although it’s not the actual alcohol that causes the snoring. 

The sedative and depressant nature of alcohol relaxes the body, including the throat, making you much more likely to breathe through your mouth.

On top of that, many people experience nasal stuffiness after consuming alcohol because it causes the tissue inside the nose to swell. This means less room for air you need to breathe.

If you’re already a chronic snorer, or if you even suffer from sleep apnea, your throat is already tight and closing up while you sleep. Essentially, your throat is too small for your body. Your compromised airway is further impacted with every drink you have. 

The muscles in your throat continue to relax more and more, and eventually they relax too far. This is when your body goes into defensive mode, trying to protect your airway. This is why snoring — the vibration of the tissue in your throat — becomes more pronounced after a few cocktails. 

There’s no denying that alcohol is a large part of our culture and social drinking often comes with the territory. But if you’re someone who already suffers with snoring or sleep apnea, it’s important you are aware of the extra work your airway has to put in when you consume alcohol...not to mention the long-lasting damage that snoring can cause to your body.

...And you may want to acknowledge your sleep partner is likely suffering even more on the evenings you decide to partake. 

It’s a sure bet that anytime you introduce anything into your system like alcohol — or caffeine or medications — it will compromise your sleep. It will affect your sleep cycle, likely leaving you with more than just a hangover in the morning.