Snoring is the usually loud or harsh sound that can occur as you sleep. You snore when the airflow as you breathe makes the tissues in the back of your throat vibrate. The sound most often happens as you breathe in air, and can come through the nose, mouth or a combination of the two. It may happen at any sleep stage.
About half of people snore at some stage in their lives. Snoring is more common in men, though many women snore. Apparently, runs in families and becomes more frequent as you grow old. About 40 percent of adult men and 24 percent of adult females are habitual snorers. Men become less likely to snore after they turn 70.
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Snoring can be an annoyance to your partner and anyone else close to you. You may even snore audibly enough to wake yourself up. Though, in many cases, people do not realize that they snore.
Moderate snoring may not disrupt your overall sleep quality. Heavy snoring may be related to obstructive sleep apnea, a severe sleep disorder and a risk determinant for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and a wide variety of health issues.
Snoring vs. Sleep Apnea
Snoring can be one of a series of signs for obstructive sleep apnea, but not everyone who snores has this particular sleep disorder. Obstructive sleep apnea is a dangerous sleep disorder that causes you to pause breathing when you are asleep momentarily. If you are continually tired throughout the day even though you have had enough sleep or if your snoring comes along with choking or gasping sound, you may have sleep apnea. A sleep medicine physician is qualified to identify and diagnose sleep apnea using an in-lab sleep study or home sleep testing. Sleep apnea is controllable using several approaches including CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure), oral appliance therapy and surgery.
Obesity, Pregnancy and Genetic Factors
Excess tissue in the throat can vibrate as you breathe in air in your sleep, making you snore. People who are overweight, frequently obese or pregnant have extra bulky throat tissue. Genetic factors that can cause snoring include excess throat muscle as well as enlarged tonsils, large adenoids, long soft palate or enlarged uvula.
Allergies, Congestion and Certain Nasal Structures
Anything that stops you from breathing through your nose can cause you to snore and could include nasal congestion from a cold or flu, allergies or deformities of the nose such as a deviated septum.
Alcohol use, smoking, aging and certain drugs and medications, including muscle relaxants
Snore may come when your throat or tongue tissues are relaxed. Substances that relax these muscles may cause you to snore. Which may include alcohol, muscle relaxants, and other medications. Natural aging and the prolonged effects of smoking can also relax your throat and tongue muscles.
If you are experiencing one or more of the following symptoms you may have sleep apnea:
Excessive daytime sleepiness
Choking or gasping while you sleep
Pauses in breathing
Moodiness, irritability or depression
Frequent need to urinate during the night
Check this video with the most common causes of snoring.