Snoring is a sound produced by vibrations of upper airway soft tissue while you are asleep. When you doze off and progress from a light sleep to a deep sleep, the muscles in the roof of your mouth (soft palate), tongue and throat relax. The tissues in your throat can relax enough that they partially block your airway and vibrate. When you breathe in, it will vibrate and make a noise. The narrower it is, the more easily it will vibrate and the louder you will snore.
Snoring is more common in men, though many women snore as well. It appears to run in families and becomes more common as you get older. About 40 percent of adult men and 24 percent of adult women are habitual snorers. Men become less likely to snore after the age of 70. Occasional snoring is almost universal. About 15% of people snore on most nights.
There is no single cause for snoring. Snoring can happen if you have a problem which causes narrowing of your airways in your nose, mouth or throat. For example:
You are also more likely to snore if you:
Snoring can be a nuisance to your partner and anyone else nearby. You may even snore loudly enough to wake yourself up. Though, in many cases, people do not realize that they snore. Snoring can also cause you to have a dry mouth or sore or irritated throat when you wake up.
Habitual snorers can be at risk for serious health problems, including obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep apnea creates several problems, including:
Snoring can be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea but not everyone who snores has the sleep disorder.
If your snoring isn’t troubling you or anybody else, you do not need to see a doctor.
You should see your doctor if:
Usually no tests are needed. However, you may need:
There are lots of remedies available for snoring. There is no one single treatment that will work for everyone. Which treatment will work for you may depend on the cause of your snoring.
Below are some of the treatment options:
a. Lifestyle modification
b. Devices and medications
a. Tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy
Tonsil and/or adenoids are removed from the back of the throat and nose. This treatment is most commonly used for children and is used in some select adult patients.
b. Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP)
Often prescribed for patients who have moderate or severe obstructive sleep apnea. This treatment tightens and rearranges redundant tissues in the throat and palate.
c. Laser-assisted uvula palatoplasty (LAUP)
A laser procedure that removes an airway obstruction. This treatment is performed under local anesthesia in a doctor’s office and is intended for snorers and for cases of mild obstructive sleep apnea.
A minimally invasive procedure that uses radiofrequency energy to shrink excessive tissue in the palate, uvula and tongue tissue. This treatment can also be used to relieve nasal obstruction.
e. Genioglossal, hyoid, or maxillomandibular advancement
Surgical treatments for sleep apnea that position the tongue forward to keep the lower throat from collapsing during sleep.
f. Hypoglossal nerve stimulation
Involves placement of a device similar to a cardiac pacemaker that synchronizes tongue movement with breathing. This gently moves the tongue forward to keep the lower throat from collapsing during sleep.
g. Septoplasty and turbinate surgery
Reduces the resistance to the flow of air through the nose.
© Copyright 2017 Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi. All rights reserved.
This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, part of Mubadala Healthcare, and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.
Visit our FAQs page for answers to common queries.
Visit our Contact Us page to get in touch.
Search for specialized doctors at Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.