Snoring is a common sign of sleep apnea, especially obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Despite being a possible indication of sleep apnea, many people do not see snoring as a reason for medical concern. Popular media and cultural stereotypes have normalized snoring and turned it into more of a joke than a concern. As a result, many people shrug off these sleep sounds as “just snoring” rather than considering it as a possible sign of this serious medical condition.

Snoring in Movies and Television

Movies and TV shows rely on certain conventions to help them tell stories in familiar and engaging ways. When Characters are hungry, for example, many directors will indicate the intensity of their hunger with the sounds of a grumbling stomach. Likewise, snoring appears in scenes of slumber. Many shows also use these sleep sounds for comedic effect, where one character is kept awake by the snoring of characters around them and struggles to sleep. As a result, snoring is considered more funny than alarming.

Written Media Shows the Snooze

Books also use snoring to demonstrate when characters are sleeping. Comics and graphic novels even utilize a range of snoring onomatopoeias in panels to show when a character has fallen asleep. When people read “ZZZ” on the page, they recognize that someone is sleeping soundly. Unlike TV and movies, snoring in graphic novels, comics, and books is often used whenever a character falls asleep regardless of comedic value.

Snoring Characterized as “Unfeminine”

Woman covering her ears to avoid husband's snoringThe media depicts snoring as a male-dominant sleep sound. More men than women are depicted as snorers. A large number of old cartoons depict male characters of snoring deeply, sometimes so deeply that they inhale their nightcaps. Female characters often display more dainty, lady-like snoring. When women are depicted with big snores to match their male counterparts, they are depicted as sloppy sleepers who may not be as lady-like as they first seemed. Although women do often snore more softly than men, the depiction of male-dominant snoring has created a cultural acceptance of snoring as a male sound in the United States. Women who snore may feel too embarrassed to admit to snoring, making them unlikely to think of it as a sign of sleep apnea.

Understanding Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea snoring is not the same as nose snoring. Snore sounds from sleep apnea result from vibration of soft tissue in the throat as you struggle to breath. Snoring accompanied by choking sounds or moments where breathing stops may indicate obstructive sleep apnea. OSA is characterized by narrowed airways and obstructions caused largely by relaxed soft tissue in the mouth and throat. The brain responds to the resulting drops in blood oxygen levels by waking you up in order to restore normal breathing functions.

Constant sleep disturbances leave you fatigued, could decrease your work performance, and may increase the possibility of being involved in a vehicle accident. Sleep apnea has also been linked to hypertension, diabetes, and heart failure. Professional sleep apnea treatment can help prevent serious health complications. Oral appliances worn at night can help open up your airways in order to restore your sleep. Depending on the severity of your sleep apnea, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) may also be prescribed to keep your blood oxygen levels level throughout the night. Your sleep is important, and sleep apnea treatment can make drastic improvements to the amount of sleep you are able to get at night.

To learn more about how sleep apnea treatments can help you manage your sleep apnea, please call (407) 834-6446 to set up an appointment with Orlando sleep dentist, Dr. Michael L. Weinstock today.