How Alcohol Produces Snoring as You Sleep
Let’s first take a look at the biology and physiology of alcohol’s effect on the body, and in particular, alcohol’s effect on the respiratory system at night. Everyone knows that alcohol is a depressant. Within ten to twenty minutes after consumption, alcohol begins to affect the human body, and it stays in the body for a very long time. Regardless of how much you drink, it will likely take up to 14 hours for the body to fully rid itself of the alcohol you’ve consumed. As the alcohol makes its way through your body, your muscles will relax and feel less tense; this includes the muscles in the mouth and throat.
When the muscles in the throat become more relaxed, you are more likely to snore because blockages of airways in the nose, mouth, and throat lead to snoring. Alcohol relaxes the muscles so much that the tissue in the throat collapses and blocks your airway. When the tissue is collapsed and the airway is blocked, your air oxygen passageway is no longer open and clear. This is when snoring occurs.
The more alcohol has relaxed your airway, the louder the snoring will be. Snoring is the sound produced when your airway is trying to force oxygen through and is medically known as “respiratory resistance.” Drinking alcohol prior to sleep may cause your respiratory resistance to be as high as eight times higher than the respiratory resistance in someone who does not drink alcohol prior to sleep. Simply put, the muscles in the back of the throat close more quickly in an intoxicated person than in a sober person. The more you drink, the more relaxed your muscles become and the more you will snore.