What causes Snoring?

Snoring, though a natural phenomenon, can have certain underlying causes to it. Also, not to mention it might not be a disturbance to you but turn out to be a commotion for your partner or people sleeping beside you!

Here is a fact you ought to know:

Did you know? 

An estimated 45% of adults snore on occasion, while 25% snore on a regular basis, frequently disrupting their bed partner’s sleep and possibly their own.

We suggest you don’t let snoring ruin your relationship or your rest. Learn what causes snoring, the best solutions for resolving the issue, and how you and your partner can sleep better.

What is Snoring?

Snoring occurs when air cannot easily pass through the mouth or nose. When air is forced through an obstruction, soft tissues in the mouth, nose, and throat collide and vibrate. The vibrations produce a rattling, snorting, or grumbling noise.

Some people breathe heavily while sleeping. Others snore loudly while making a soft whistling sound.

Snoring does not always indicate a medical condition, but it can be a sign of a serious sleep disorder, such as sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is distinguished by loud snoring followed by a brief period of silence due to a pause in breathing. The snoring resumes after another loud sound, similar to a snort.

What causes snoring?

Because people snore for a variety of reasons, it’s critical to understand the source of your snoring. Once you get to know why you snore, you can find the best solutions for a more peaceful, deep sleep for both you and your partner.

The following are a few common causes of snoring:

Age – As you get older, your throat narrows, and your muscle tone decreases. While there is nothing you can do to prevent snoring, lifestyle changes, new bedtime routines, and throat exercises can help.

Obesity or being out of shape – Fatty tissue and poor muscle tone both contribute to snoring. Even if you are not generally overweight, carrying extra weight around your neck or throat can cause snoring. Exercising and losing weight can sometimes be enough to stop snoring.

Your physical structure – Men snore more than women because their airways are narrower. A narrow throat, cleft palate, enlarged adenoids, and other physical characteristics that contribute to snoring are frequently inherited. While you cannot change your physical appearance or gender, you can control your snoring by following healthy lifestyle changes, bedtime routines, and throat exercises.

Nasal and sinus issues – Blocked airways or a stuffy nose make breathing difficult and create a vacuum in the throat, resulting in snoring.

Certain addictions and medications – Too much alcohol consumption or smoking can cause snoring as you lose control over your muscles.

Also, medications such as tranquillizers like lorazepam (Ativan) and diazepam (Valium), can cause muscle relaxation, which leads to more snoring.

Incorrect sleeping posture – Sleeping flat on your back can cause the flesh of your throat to relax and close off the airway. Changing your sleeping position can be beneficial.

Other possible causes:

  • Pregnancy in its later stages
  • Face bones that are irregularly shaped
  • Tonsil and adenoidal swelling
  • Sleeping pills
  • Large tongue base or unusually large tongue and small mouth
  • Congestion caused by allergies or a cold
  • Being overweight
  • Swelling inside the mouth (including the uvula and soft palate)

What are the symptoms of snoring?

Snorers produce a vibrating, rattling, and noisy sound while sleeping. It could be an indicator of sleep apnea. Other signs of sleep apnea include:

  • Excessive sleepiness during the day
  • Headaches in the morning
  • Weight gain recently
  • Not feeling rested when you wake up in the morning
  • Feeling baffled in the middle of the night
  • Changes in your level of concentration, attention, or memory
  • Breathing pauses were observed during sleep.
What Causes Snoring

What complications can snoring cause?

Snoring can disrupt your sleep, leaving you tired the next day. Snoring can also cause sleep apnea’, which is a potentially serious condition. It occurs when you stop breathing for at least 10 seconds per episode and has more than 5 episodes per hour on average. Sleep apnea and insufficient sleep can make it difficult to think clearly and complete daily tasks. Long-term complications of untreated sleep apnea can include an enlarged heart and high blood pressure.

What are the methods available for snoring treatment?

Snoring treatment is determined by the nature of the snoring and the problems it causes.

Snoring treatment may not be necessary for people with infrequent or primary snoring unless it is disrupting their sleep or the sleep of someone they live with. Treatments in these cases are typically simpler and less invasive. People with sleep apnea usually require more extensive treatment. Lifestyle changes, anti-snoring mouth devices, mouth exercises, continuous, auto, or bi-level positive airway pressure devices, and surgery are examples of treatments.

An anti-snoring mouthpiece keeps your tongue or jaw stable, so it doesn’t block your airway while you sleep. Anti-snoring mouthpieces are classified into two types.

Mandibular Advancement Devices: These move the lower jaw forward. Many of them are adjustable, allowing you to find a more comfortable and effective fit.

Tongue-Retaining Devices: These mouthpieces help keep your tongue in place so it doesn’t slide back into your throat.

  • Slackening of the muscles around the airway increases the likelihood of snoring. Exercises to strengthen the mouth, tongue, and throat can help to reduce snoring by increasing muscle tone.
  • Anti-snoring mouth exercises are most effective in people with mild snoring and must usually be done daily for two or three months.

Surgery is rarely the first-line treatment for snoring or sleep apnea in adults, but it may be an option if other methods fail.

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty is one surgery that is done to rectify snoring issues. This surgery widens the airway by removing nearby tissue. Nasal polyps, a deviated septum, or other nasal passage blockages can also be treated surgically. Other types of less-invasive surgeries have been developed, but clinical trials have provided limited evidence about their benefits and drawbacks.

Lifestyle tips to prevent snoring

  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Limit the usage of sedatives and alcohol
  • Adapt to correct sleeping posture
  • Increase the height of your bed
  • Get rid of nasal congestion


Get your snoring problems sorted

Dr. Mustafa Kapadia is a known, well-respected, and skilled ENT surgeon with a global clinical practice in Dubai. He is a board-certified Indian ENT specialist with over 10 years of clinical experience and a special interest in Ear and Sinus diseases. He has extensive experience and training in the endoscopic ear and sinus surgery. He uses an endoscope to perform many of his ear surgeries entirely through the ear canal, avoiding any external visible incision or scar.

Book your appointment here.