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.
Snoring during sleep may be a sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
What are the Symptoms of Snoring?
It is important to understand that snoring is a medical condition that deprives the body of appropriate rest. Aside from the audible sounds of snoring, there are several symptoms that may indicate a chronic snoring problem. These include:
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Sore throat
- Restless sleep
- Gasping or choking at night
- High blood pressure
- Chest pain at night
- Noise during sleep
What Causes Snoring?
Snoring is caused by many factors. When you are sleeping, the muscles in the roof of your mouth, known as the soft palate, tongue and throat relax. Sometimes the tissues in your throat can relax so much that they partially block your airway and in turn, vibrate.
The main factors that contribute to snoring include:
Your mouth anatomy: Having a low, thick soft palate can narrow your airway. People who are overweight may have extra tissues in the back of the throat that may narrow their airways. Additionally, if the uvula is elongated, airflow can be obstructed and vibration increased.
Alcohol consumption: Consuming alcohol before bedtime can also cause snoring. Alcohol relaxes the throat muscles and decreases the natural defenses against airway obstruction.
Nasal problems: 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 during sleep, preventing you from breathing.
The good news is that for many people, snoring can be treated with minimally invasive procedures that are routinely performed in an office setting, allowing patients to return to normal activity that day.
Treatment options depend upon the source and site of your obstruction(s).