What Is Snoring?
Snoring is the resulting sound that occurs due to obstructed air movement during breathing while you are asleep. In some cases, the sound may be soft, but in other cases, it can be loud and unpleasant. The condition is very common, affecting 45% of adults occasionally and 25% of adults habitually.
Snoring during sleep may be a sign, or an indicator of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
What Causes Snoring?
Snoring is caused by many factors. While you are sleeping, the muscles relax in the throat, the tongue and the roof of your mouth (also known as the soft palate). In this relaxed state, the tissues are more likely to block your airway, obstructing the flow of air as you breathe and resulting in vibrations that produce the sound we know as snoring.
The following conditions can affect the airway and cause snoring:
- Your mouth anatomy: Having a low, thick soft palate can narrow your airway. People who are overweight may have extra tissue in the back of their throat that may narrow the airway. Additionally, if the uvula is elongated, airflow can be obstructed and vibration may increase.
- Alcohol consumption: Consuming alcohol before bedtime can also cause snoring. Alcohol relaxes the throat muscles and decreases the body’s natural defense against airway obstruction.
Chronic nasal congestion or a deviated septum may contribute to your snoring.
• Sleep apnea: Snoring also may be associated with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This is a serious condition in which your throat tissues partially or completely block your airway, preventing you from breathing during sleep.
What are the Symptoms of Snoring?
Depending on the cause(s) of your snoring, symptoms may include:
- Noise during sleep
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sore throat
- Restless sleep
- Gasping or choking at night
- High blood pressure
- Chest pain at night