Can you Inherit the Snoring “Gene”?
Snoring is a problem for quite a few people around the world, not to mention their partners. It is one of the reasons why couples fight, why people are often moody after an 8-hour sleep, and why white noise machines are sometimes a godsend.
But does it have anything to do with our genetics? If our parents and grandparents snored, wouldn’t that make snoring an inherited trait?
Well, the answer to this question is not simple. There are many factors to consider, and we can even connect it to genetics. But it’s often just a sign of a bad lifestyle.
Large Tongues, Overbites, and Airways
If large tongues run in our family, then we could say that snoring runs in the family. When people have large tongues, those tongues can get too relaxed during the night and fall backward.
Another reason why snoring could be hereditary is a narrow airway. If someone has such an airway from birth, they have an increased risk of having issues.
What’s more, we also have to take into account the neural control of the upper airway muscles. That, too, is a genetic component that runs in the family. So if some of our relatives suffer from it, then it’s likely that we will, too.
Finally, having an overbite is another factor that could cause problems. When someone has an overbite, their jaw is pushed back. That causes the airway to become too narrow for normal breathing.
Most of these issues can be solved with a Mandibular advancement device or MAD that helps adjust the jaw and open up the airway. This results in normal breathing.
What About Our Lifestyle Choices
It would be too easy to put blame on our genetics. After all, we have all the power in the world to change ourselves and make our sleeping pattern better.
Thus, when someone’s a snorer, it’s more likely that they are indulging in unhealthy habits. Alcohol, for example, is a liquid depressant that relaxes the tongue.
Moreover, smoking is another risk factor, as it directly influences the way we breathe. In fact, smoking leads to inflammation or the swelling of the airway. Thus, the airway, yet again, becomes too small for the air to go through it.
Now, we could say that sometimes alcoholism and smoking run in the family. But there’s no real evidence that’s true. What’s more, people have free will, which makes them responsible for their bad habits. As such, just because our parents smoked and snored, it doesn’t mean that we will end up like them.
Snoring Isn’t Just Genetic
We know that deviated septums are a common cause of snoring. Sometimes they don’t at all, which just goes to show that other factors have to play a role as well.
Thus, someone with a deviated septum or a genetic craniofacial abnormality would sometimes have to get “the sniffles” or have allergies to cause them to snore.
We also have to pay attention to what we eat and how tired we are. Those who indulge in bad food, as well as frequently stay up late and wake up early are good candidates.
Certain heritable traits may contribute to snoring. However, it’s far more likely that our lifestyle choices are to blame. But don’t worry — that’s good news! After all, we cannot change our genetics, but we can quit alcohol, smoking, and change our diet when we really want to.