What Is Snoring?

As you lie in bed dozing off to sleep, your muscles relax. You may develop turbulent airflow in your upper airway, which vibrates your soft tissue and produces a sound called snoring. Habitual snoring affects approximately 30% or more of adults, depending on age and gender, and more than 7% of children.

Snoring can be mild or heroic, varying from soft and intermittent to thunderous and constant. It can occur with your mouth open or closed.  Frequently snoring is positional, being most pronounced when sleeping on your back. Often times, it disrupts your sleep and that of your partner, making everyone feel exhausted and irritable the next day. Snoring can be a strain on even the healthiest of relationships.

Causes

Some of us snore simply because of how we’re built. A deviated nasal septum, enlarged tonsils, narrow airway or largeness of the soft palate at the back of the roof of your mouth can vibrate and cause snoring. Being overtired, drinking alcohol close to bedtime and taking sedating medication such as muscle relaxants can also trigger snoring.

Snoring can be a sign of a serious health condition. Snoring plus symptoms including excessive tiredness, sleepiness, chronic fatigue or daytime exhaustion could mean that you are suffering from the Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS).  If you stop breathing or have partial blockage of airflow lasting 10 seconds or more for an average of five times per hour or more of sleep, you could have a condition known as obstructive sleep apnea, which cannot be diagnosed just by watching someone sleep.