Air should be able to move freely through your mouth, nose, and throat. At times during sleep, air doesn't move as freely as it should. It 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
Larger than normal tonsils or adenoids around the throat
Taking medicines that slow down the nervous system
Lying on your back while sleeping
The main symptom 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. This is mainly true with sleep apnea symptoms such as gasping for air or having 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 health history. A physical exam will be done. Your doctor will check the throat, neck, mouth, and nose.
Tests may include a
in a laboratory to determine how much the storing is disrupting your sleep.
Lifestyle changes may relieve symptoms. More severe cases may require surgery or devices.
Changes that may help stop snoring:
If you are overweight,
talk to your doctor about how to
Treat causes of nasal congestion such as allergies or colds.
Raise the head of the bed up about 4 inches. Use extra pillows or put something under the mattress.
Try using nasal strips to help keep the airway open in your nose.
Your doctor may advise using a special mouthpiece. This will hold the soft palate and tongue in place. It may help you breathe better.
Surgery may be done to remove excess tissue in 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. These are mainly reserved for severe and disruptive cases of snoring.
Another procedure is used to try to stiffen the roof of the mouth.
To help lower your chances of snoring:
Maintain a healthy body weight.
Treat cold and allergy symptoms.
Avoid drinking alcohol or taking sedatives for several hours before bedtime.
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. Updated June 2018. Accessed August 23, 2018.
Snoring. Kids Health—Nemours Foundation website. Available at: https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/snoring.html. Updated January 2014. Accessed August 23, 2018.
Snoring and sleep. National Sleep Foundation website. Available at: https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/other-sleep-disorders/snoring. Accessed August 23, 2018.
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 August 23, 2018.
Last reviewed May 2018 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Marcin Chwistek, MD
Last Updated: 8/23/2018
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