Snoring is a sound made during sleep. It is the sound of the throat vibrating as air flows through it.

  • Causes

    Air should be able to move easily through your mouth, nose, and throat. Sometimes, during sleep, air cannot move through these areas easily. This turbulent airflow makes the roof of the mouth vibrate. This is what causes the snoring sound. Smaller airways can lead to louder snoring. Airflow may be obstructed by:

    • Weak muscles in the tongue and throat
    • Enlarged tonsils, adenoids, or other obstructions such as a tumors or cysts

    • Excessive tissue around the throat due to

    • Structural factors:

      • A long, soft palate
      • A long uvula
      • Deformities of the nose or nasal septum
      • Small chin, overbite, or high palate

    • Congested nasal passages from a
      sinus infection, or

  • Definition

    Snoring is a sound made during sleep. It is the sound of the throat vibrating as air flows through it.

    Blocked Airway
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  • Diagnosis

    If your snoring is severe, the doctor will want to make sure you do not have obstructive sleep apnea. Diagnosis may involve:

    • Physical exam of the throat, neck, mouth, and nose
    • A sleep study in a laboratory—to help determine how much the snoring is disrupting your sleep

  • Prevention

    To reduce the chances of snoring, take these steps:

    • Maintain a healthy body weight.
    • Treat cold and allergy symptoms.
    • Avoid drinking alcohol or taking sedatives for several hours before bedtime.
    • Sleep on your side.

  • Risk Factors

    Being over 50 years old and male increase the risk of snoring. Other factors include:

    • Being overweight
    • Family history
    • Use of drugs (central nervous system depressants) or alcohol that act as respiratory depressants
    • Lying on back while sleeping

    • Nasal obstruction (due to a
      sinus infection,
      allergy, enlarged adenoids, or injury that has displaced the nasal cartilage or bones)

  • Symptoms

    The main symptom of snoring is noisy breathing during sleep.

    Snoring may be associated with a sleep condition called sleep apnea. Snoring with sleep apnea may cause these symptoms:

    • While sleeping:

      • Gasping
      • Choking
      • Long pauses in breathing
      • Frequent awakening

    • While awake:

      • Sleepiness and fatigue during the day
      • Slowness in mental functioning
      • Headaches

  • Treatment

    In cases of snoring without sleep apnea, lifestyle changes may alleviate symptoms. More severe cases may require surgery or devices.