Many people snore every night and don’t give a second thought to the whys or hows. Many scientists believe that snoring is possible partly thanks to gravity, and if this were true a lowered state of gravity would mean it is impossible to snore. Do astronauts snore? This question has been discussed since mankind has pushed into the final frontier. Luckily we have had many opportunities to test out this theory.
Upon the completion of two studies on space sleep and snoring, both showed that five astronauts completely stopped snoring while in space. In addition to that, several astronauts who suffered from sleep apnea (a condition in which a person stops breathing momentarily in their sleep) were cured of all symptoms while in space. Many scientists thought that they had the answer to their question and without a certain amount of gravity snoring is highly unlikely.
In 1998 another sleep study was done aboard the shuttle Columbia. Scientists wanted to see how an artificial environment would affect how the astronauts slept and their breathing. The result? The astronauts snored and in addition actually breathed less, prompting many to think that breathing is more difficult in space. However, there are many factors that can contribute to a person snoring, such as high weight, large neck size, and alcohol consumption. Typically these traits are not typical of the physically fit astronaut. It is also possible that motion sickness plays a part in snoring which has nothing to do with gravity.
Unfortunately there is no conclusive research that can determine whether or not all astronauts snore and under what conditions. Many scientists are in disagreement over the research collected but almost all can agree there isn’t enough to make any definite conclusions. There are many correlations between snoring and gravity, but there are so many extenuating circumstances this question may be unanswered for many years to come.
John Lenaghan writes about snoring treatments and other snoring-related topics for the Snoring Solutions website. Get more helpful advice at http://www.snoringsolutions.org