Almost everybody has heard a snore that I need no definition of it. 30% of women and 40% of men are habitual snorers with the average of 38 decibel – comparable to the hum of a refrigerator but I’m sure many snores of men travel beyond the walls of the room.
Is snoring normal or is it something to be concerned about?
I found that snoring happens when there’s blockage of air passageway. When the tongue recedes to the upper throat, the brain recognizes the restricted airflow and prompts the chest to work harder. This causes the vibration in the palate and throat – the brewing sound at night.
This sleep apnea can potentially be fatal as people suffering from these stops breathing frequently. Every pause in the breathing pattern could be long enough to keep someone from waking up.
There are risk factors to snoring and sleep apnea. Men, we are more susceptible because we have bigger space behind the tongue, making it easier to fall back. Overweight people’s fatty double chin weights down the throat; coupled with their weaker muscle tone, it’s common for them to snore. Alcohol intake, smoking and certain medications relax the throat and increase the occurrence of snoring. And few people are born from a family history of sleep apnea or nasal and sinus problems.
My sleeping position, a soldier or lying on my back like a corpse, also relaxes throat with gravity pulling the tongue inside. Maybe it’s time to adapt.
Neuroscience professor Dr. Sudhansu Chokroverty warned about taking pills to treat sleep apnea since there’s not much scientific study to back their claims.
But there are self-treatments we could start implementing. To prevent sleeping like a soldier, Dr. Chokroverty suggested taping tennis balls on our back to remind ourselves not to take that sleeping position. Snoring expert Dr. Daniel P. Slaughter says that a clogged nose helps produce snoring. To open the nasal passages, take a hot shower at night and rinse the nose with saltwater. Dr. Slaughter also advised to take lots of fluids within the day as dehydration makes the secretion in the nose sticky.
And of course, losing weight and avoiding alcohol and smoking will reduce the risks of snoring.
A young version of us won’t sleep in darkness. We’re afraid of an entity that lurks in the shadows and could attack us while we’re unaware. Children’s imagination usually crosses their reality. But this fear fades out as we mature because brows are raised to those adults who are still paralyzed in the dark. But it is not unheard of.
A 2012 survey of Go Glow found that “40% of us are scared when walking around the house with the lights off”.
Our body needs the dark to prepare itself for sleeping mode; but for people with insomnia, the dark is the problem. A study in Ryerson University Sleep & Depression Lab in Toronto asked 93 undergraduates about their sleeping patterns. Half of them admitted to be poor sleepers and has a fear of the dark. A cause for this difficulty of sleeping is anticipation of a bad occurrence, which increases their arousal while in bed.
Humans have a heightened visual acuity. Most people take up to 30 min to adapt to darkness. And from thereon, they are more sensitive to movement.
There are two types of photoreceptors in our eyes’ retina – cones and rods. Cones detect color and function best in light while rods rule at night. Rods are more sensitive than cones. They also outnumber the cones, with 120 million rods to 7 million cones. This is the reason why we have a decent resolution at night; and since rods are savvy motion sensors, we are notice the slightest movement like a bump in the cabinet’s door.
It gets even better. Evolution helped primates like humans to be aware of predators paroling at night. Humans need to cope against predators like snakes that have superior visual system. Show a picture of a snake to an eight month old baby and they’ll recognize it faster than any other objects shown. Neurological studies also found that the visual system is connected to a group of brain structures responsible for “fear”.
Fear is normal. We feel it in danger so we can fight or flight and thus, increasing our survival. And along with our response of fear, there is dark. Darkness cannot be avoided. The sun has to retire and so does the lights.
With unalterable fear and darkness, the only way to avert it is to accept it. The person should learn how to calm themselves even in the darkness. Turning the lights on at night won’t help since it only reinforces the association of fear with dark and relief with light.
Are you still afraid of the dark?
Air is coming in, it’s coming in, it’s coming in. Now it’s in the highest of high stretching my fully expanded mouth. I closed my eyes, stretched my arms and exhaled air back out. Yaaaaawwnnn. Ah, that’s satisfying.
We’re told guesses on why we yawn. It is a response when the brain needs oxygen. People think that it preludes sleep. But contradictories dismissed them. We don’t yawn while we’re exercising – the time when oxygen use is expeditious. Singers yawn before taking the stage – which doesn’t sound like a drowsy person.
But yawning has an alerting effect. It keeps us wake and more responsive. And it just felt damn good.
It may cool our brain as it sends air towards our headspace. Albany researchers found that those with cold packs in their foreheads are less likely to yawn than those with warmer packs. Since our brains burns a third of our calorie intake, it’s hot enough. It needs some cooling mechanism and yawning is some sort of our ventilation.
Yaaaaaaaaawwwnnnn. That’s a long one, really passionate. Writing YAWN couple of times won’t keep my mouth closed.
Everybody yawns. A growing 11 weeks old fetus already knows how to yawn. 50% of those who’ve seen other people yawning did the same. Probability is higher when we have a closer relationship with the yawner, says University of Pisa’s Elisabetta Palagi. Even dogs yawn with their owners, says Lund University’s Elainie Madsen. Many called this an evidence of empathy.
Related: What is the world record for the longest yawn?
An interesting theory thinks yawning is a threat. Since it opens the mouth and exposes the sharp teeth, it may be considered as an aggressive behavior among certain species. The alpha primates yawn more frequently than the beta population. The leader is thought to yawn first while the rest follows to keep them alert in the wild. Thus, yawn is associated with dominance.
Even more intriguing, yawning is claimed to be a sign of sexual attraction. I don’t know but perhaps these scientists are bored.
How many times did you yawn while reading this?