Snoring is the vibration of respiratory structures and the resulting sound due to obstructed air movement during breathing while sleeping. The sound may be soft or loud and unpleasant. Snoring during sleep may be a sign, or first alarm, of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Snoring Causes

Snoring is the result of the relaxation of the uvula and soft palate. These tissues can relax enough to partially block the airway, resulting in irregular airflow and vibrations. Snoring can be attributed to one or more of the following:

  • Genetic, a proportion of which may be mediated through other heritable lifestyle factors such as body mass index, smoking, and alcohol consumption.
  • Throat weakness, causing the throat to close during sleep.
  • Mispositioned jaw, often caused by tension in the muscles.
  • Obesity that has caused fat to gather in and around the throat.
  • Obstruction in the nasal passageway.
  • Obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Sleep deprivation.
  • Relaxants such as alcohol or other drugs relaxing throat muscles.
  • Sleeping on one’s back, which may result in the tongue dropping to the back of the mouth.

Snoring Possible consequences

Snoring is more than just a nuisance during sleep; it can lead to various health issues. Sleep deprivation, daytime drowsiness, irritability, and decreased libido are common effects on both the snorer and those around them. Moreover, it has been linked to psychological and social damage. Studies indicate a correlation between loud snoring and increased risks of heart attack and stroke, with some suggesting up to a 46% higher risk of stroke and lack of oxygen. Severe cases of snoring can significantly impair lifestyle, but surgical correction has been shown to improve marital relations, according to various studies. Additionally, research suggests that loud snoring may contribute to the development of carotid artery atherosclerosis. Snoring vibrations transmitted to the carotid artery could potentially lead to damage and plaque development, increasing the risk of ischemic stroke. Although there is evidence supporting snoring as a potential independent contributor to cardiovascular disease.

Snoring Treatment

  • Positive airway pressure – A Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine is commonly utilized to manage sleep apnea and associated snoring. This medical device delivers a controlled stream of air through a flexible hose to a mask worn over the nose, mouth, or both, thus keeping the airway open during sleep. The CPAP mask is connected to a CPAP machine, similar to an air compressor, which delivers the necessary air pressure to maintain airway patency. CPAP therapy is generally considered a safe and effective treatment for sleep-related breathing disorders.
  • Surgery – Surgery is also available as a method of correcting social snoring. Some procedures, such as Abbreviation, attempt to widen the airway by removing tissues in the back of the throat, including the uvula and pharynx.
  • Dental appliances – Specially made dental appliances called mandibular advancement splints, which advance the lower jaw slightly and thereby pull the tongue forward, are a common mode of treatment for snoring.

The most common way to stop the snoring is with a CPAP device and you must be under the doctor’s supervision to monitor the treatment progress.
Snoring is an indicator of more acute conditions so don’t neglect this warning sign.