Snoring is caused when the tissues in the throat vibrate while breathing during sleep. Why do we snore, what does it mean, and what can we do about it?
Anything that creates a smaller airway can result in snoring either by relaxing the throat muscles or creating a smaller passage for air. When the airway is smaller, breathing vibrates the throat tissues creating the snoring sound. Potential causes include:
- Excessive weight in the neck area
- Allergies, having a cold or nasal conjestion
- Sleeping on your back
- Being sleep deprived
- Aging and menopause
- Medications that relax your muscles such as sedatives
- Snoring can disrupt your sleep, leading to poorer quality sleep.
- Bed partners or others in the home can be affected by snoring.
- Snoring can be a sign of a sleep disorder, like obstructive sleep apnea. Check with your doctor if you or your partner notices your breathing pauses during the night, you are sleepy during the day, or have a dry mouth upon awakening.
What to Do About Snoring
- Lose excess weight in the neck area.
- Change sleep positions – side sleeping may reduce.
- Elevate your head with a pillow.
- Make sure you are well hydrated.
- Reduce or avoid alcohol prior to bedtime.
- Avoid becoming overtired by maintaining a regular bed and wake time, and allow enough time for 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.
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The National Sleep Foundation has been the global voice of sleep health for 30 years.