onsdag, marts 19, 2008

The value of snoring?

It's funny what strange words one can pick up when in a foreign country for only a short time. In Thor's case, it's so clear that he learned what few Spanish words he knows from doing the Camino de Santiago. He is able to order breakfast ('bocadillo con chorizo y queso', 'cafe con leche) and a drink in a bar ('cerveza', 'vino tinto'). At one point, someone taught him to say something along the lines of 'this village is the most beautiful I've seen on the Camino', which apparently got him a lot of kudos and the occasional free drink, but I'd imagine he's since forgotten that phrase. And I thought that was it. But not quite, shown by his now addressing me in the morning as 'roncadora'. Only someone spending night after night in refugios would pick up the term for snorers (as there were a lot of them in the refugios!)

Yes, apparently I've started to snore. Which is not the end of the world, after all most people do so in certain situations (like when they have a cold). But it's gotten me wondering, why would humans have this snoring tendency? From an evolutionary perspective, it would seem to be a really bad idea to draw attention to ourselves when we're sleeping, and therefore can't defend ourselves from attack.

It's possible that snoring is a recent phenomenon in history (which could be if there is a connection between physical condition and snoring...maybe in ancient times, snoring wasn't as common because people weren't so out of shape and overweight). It's also possible that we snore less than our ancient ancestors, because evolution favored those who didn't snore as often, but that snoring a bit still remains.

Looking it up hasn't helped much (Googling 'snoring evolution' gives articles on the evolution of snoring in individual cases, such as from light snoring to heavy snoring to sleep apnea to impending doom, and 'why do we snore' provides discussions on the biology of snoring), and now I'm really curious to know why we humans snore. I did find one theory that humans evolved to snore in order to scare off wild animals, but I'm not convinced. Another theory says that it has to do with sleep/wake patterns in group hunting animals, and snoring being a signal for sleep, which is somewhat more logical...but if everyone is sleeping at the same time, how would anyone snoring first help? Wouldn't it be enough just to see some starting to sleep?

So, I leave it now up to you, dear readers. Let your imagination, and/or your mad researching skillz, run riot. What is your theory on the evolutionary advantage of snoring? In the meantime, I'll be heading for bed, to hone my new-found prowess as a roncadora.

12 kommentarer:

Devil Mood sagde ...

HAHAHA only you to google "snoring evolution"!!

Well, my 2 cents: I think we must snore less than our ancestors. I'm not 100% sure but I can easily imagine our fellow chimps snoring. I mean, I can't imagine them NOT snoring. And my dog snored a LOT.

And when I listened to my dog snoring, it made me sleepy, that makes some sense. On the other hand, when I hear my Dad snoring I DON'T get sleepy! LOL

jdbauer sagde ...

Snoring occurs as a result of a respiratory mutation, which will eventually affect everyone and we will all grow snouts eventually.

It might have to do with your pregnancy. I found a product that has helped reduce my snoring. It's called Silence and you can pick it up at your local apotek. You spray it into the back of your throat. It's essential oils and stuff. It kind of tatses like Tom's of Maine toothpaste. Check if you can take it though with baby in.

kimananda sagde ...

Ms. Mood, I've decided that the key factoid here is that apparently all pack animals snore. Which makes sense. My previous idea assumes that without snoring, people can hide effectively from possible threat, but it's hard for a whole pack to hide. So, if the location of the pack is open anyway, then snoring shouldn't affect anything evolutionarily. But I'd still like to find some research on this (not enough to actually spend more than the 5 minutes I spent yesterday to find the research, mind you!) It would also be interesting to find out if we do snore less now.

Jonathan, I'm definitely snoring as a result of my nose being stuffy, which is as a result of pregnancy. I'm one of those people who refuses to take anything at all while pregnant (luckily, I haven't had any symptoms bad enough to cause me to question this stance), but if I continue to snore afterwards, this Silence sounds cool. I like the taste of Tom's of Maine toothpaste. As it is now, I'm not sure whether to be depressed or proud that I've now driven Thor to sleep on the couch. He wears earplugs, but claims that they don't work on my snoring. I think I'll chose proud. ;-)

Bluefish sagde ...

Random noter: I recently realize that I snore too but I wonder if there's anything I can do to stop it. I see on commercial that sells a strip that you put on your nose to reduce snoring. I wonder if it works.

kimananda sagde ...

Bluefish, welcome! I think I've heard of those strips, but I haven't tried them. I'll probably just wait until I give birth, and then hope the snoring clears up from that.

Chibithulhu sagde ...

snoring has more to do with respiratory health, which our ancient protohuman ancestors certainly had more of, and sleeping position, which, for them, was likewise different.

From what i have heard from others who witnessed my snoring, the sound was an indicator of life. sort of "Don't eat or dispose of me, I'm still breathing" signal, and i actually scared my former roommates on several occasions with snore-free sleeping.

also, I want my snout now. hands-free eating would be really useful.

kimananda sagde ...

I like that idea, that snoring is proof that you haven't slipped into some sort of terminal coma, for example. And I'm not sure about the hands-free eating, but actually, it'd probably make things much easier with the baby if I had my hands free. Easier multitasking possibilities that way.

Anonym sagde ...

What about the idea of snoring as a single to your mate that you are still there during periods of sleep.

Anonym sagde ...

It is very curious that no one seems to ask this question. In my experience, all the men I've ever had to share a room with snore, and I certainly snore myself. Just as well I'm heterosexual then... except my wife sometimes snores too! But when every man snores, isn't it crazy that we treat all snoring as abnormal?

Anonym sagde ...

I'd imagine snoring would help sleep and hence human evolution rather than hinder. It probably says 'go away im sleeping' more often than 'come here I'm easy prey', hence getting allowing the snorer to get more decent sleep rather than get accidentally woken up all the time by midnight foragers. most animals want to avoid others, especially quite large murderous ones like humans rather than leap on and attack them. I like the idea that 'pack animals are the only ones to snore' but still doesnt say why. I'm a snorer who suffers with severe ridicule from friends and family and am trying to find a reason why in fact I'm a more advanced human being and in fact much better than them. No luck yet but I'll keep looking.

elsa @ help stop snoring sagde ...

The advantage of snoring: to scare your sleeping partner off so you will be able to peacefully sleep...LOL

Doris Pender sagde ...

"...humans evolved to snore in order to scare off wild animals." LOL! I have some ideas why humans snore, but any value of it? Nah.

@Elsa. "to scare your sleeping partner off so you will be able to peacefully sleep..." HAHA! Good point.

Anyway, as I asked my dentist in Memphis, TN about snoring, he said that it's about breathing. It's quite alarming, in fact. The person may have breathing pauses that typically last for 10 to 20 seconds while he's asleep.