Michael Jubinville, MPH
Snoring is a sound made during sleep. It's the sound of the throat vibrating as air flows through it.
Air should move freely through your mouth, nose, and throat. Air that doesn't move freely can vibrate the roof of the mouth and cause the snoring sound. Smaller airways can lead to louder snoring. Airflow may be disrupted by:
Snoring is more common in men, and those aged 50 years and older. Other things that may increase the risk of snoring are:
The main sign of snoring is noisy breathing during sleep.
When Should I Call My Doctor?
Ask your partner about your snoring patterns. Talk to your doctor if you have regular snoring that is bothering you or your partner. It is important to talk about gasping for air while you sleep or problems getting through the day because you're too tired.
If your child is snoring regularly, talk to their doctor.
You will be asked about your symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. Your doctor will check the throat, neck, mouth, and nose.
A sleep study may be done. Technicians will observe you during sleep at a medical center. They will be able to track changes in breathing and sleep.
Treatment will depend on how severe snoring is. Some steps that may help to ease or stop snoring are:
Surgery may be needed for severe snoring that is preventing good sleep. Excess tissue can be removed from the nose or throat. A laser or scalpel will remove the tissue that's blocking the airway. Laser surgery may be needed a few times. Another type of procedure may be chosen to stiffen the roof of the mouth.
To help lower your chances of snoring:
American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Better Sleep Council Canada
Canadian Sleep Society
How to stop snoring. Helpguide website. Available at: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/snoring-tips-to-help-you-and-your-partner-sleep-better.htm. Accessed September 25, 2020.
Snoring. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/snoring.html. Accessed September 25, 2020.
Snoring and sleep. National Sleep Foundation website. Available at: https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/other-sleep-disorders/snoring. Accessed September 25, 2020.
Snoring and sleep apnea. American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at: https://www.entnet.org//content/snoring-and-sleep-apnea. Accessed September 25, 2020.
Last reviewed March 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board