Health Library

Health Library

Snoring

What is snoring?

Snoring is the sound that occurs during sleep when flow of air is obstructed in the area where the tongue and upper throat meet the soft palate and uvula. Snoring noises occur when these structures vibrate against each other during breathing.

It is estimated that 45% of all adults snore occasionally, and 25% habitually snore. Snoring is more common in males and people who are overweight, and worsens with age.

Snoring is obstructed breathing. In addition to disturbed sleep patterns and sleep deprivation, other serious health problems may result. Snoring may also be a symptom of other medical conditions.

What causes snoring?

Snoring may be caused by many factors, including:

  • Poor muscle tone

  • Excessively bulky throat tissue

  • Long soft palate

  • Long uvula

  • Stuffed or blocked nasal passages

  • Deformities of the nose

  • Deformities of the nasal septum

Can snoring be prevented?

Mild or occasional snoring may be helped by:

  • A healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and proper diet

  • Losing weight

  • Avoiding tranquilizers, sleeping pills, and antihistamines before bedtime

  • Avoiding alcohol at least 4 hours before bedtime

  • Avoiding heavy meals at least 3 hours before bedtime

  • Establishing regular sleeping patterns

  • Sleeping on your side

  • Tilting the head of the bed up about 4 inches

Heavy or chronic snoring may require medical care.

Treatment for snoring

Specific treatment for snoring will be determined by your health care provider based on:

  • Your age, overall health, and medical history

  • Extent of the disorder

  • Your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies

  • Expectations for the course of the disorder

  • Your opinion or preference

Treatment may include a nasal mask that provides continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), or surgery.

Snoring - WellSpan Health

Online Medical Reviewer: MMI board-certified, academically affiliated clinician
Online Medical Reviewer: Nelson, Gail A., MS, APRN, BC
© 2014 WellSpan Health. All Rights Reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

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