On this page:
Snoring is a loud and harsh noise that is produced during sleep due to vibration
of the tissues of the airways in the throat and nose when the air
flows through it during breathing.
Return to top
- The muscles in the roof of your mouth (soft palate), tongue and throat
relaxes as you drift into deep sleep. These tissues may partially obstruct
or narrow your airways, causing a vibrating, harsh sound. As the narrowing
progressively increases, the airflow through them becomes more forceful
and the noise produced grows louder.
- Narrowing of the airways can be caused by low or thick soft palate, enlarged
tonsils, adenoids, elongated uvula which is the elongated triangular piece
of soft tissue hanging from the soft palate.
- Being overweight contributes to narrowing of your throat tissues.
- Consuming too much alcohol as it acts like a sedative and relaxes the
- Chronic nasal congestion or a crooked partition between your nostrils
(deviated nasal septum).
- Sleep apnea which is a rather serious condition in which there is excessive
sagging of throat tissues causing the airways to collapse and narrow or
close, preventing you from breathing.
Return to top
Habitual snoring can be a nuisance. Snoring due to sleep apnea can cause daytime
sleepiness as the episodes of hypoxia during sleep wake you up periodically
and the sleep pattern gets disturbed. Untreated, persistent snoring may raise
your risk of developing such health problems as diabetes, high blood pressure
and even heart failure and stroke.
Return to top
- Lifestyle Changes
- Being overweight is the most common cause of snoring. Throat tissues
that are enlarged and flabby are more likely to vibrate and produce
a harsh noise as you breathe. Losing weight can be very helpful to combat
- Sleep on your side as laying on you back allows your tongue to fall
backward into your throat, narrowing your air passages and partially
- Nasal congestion caused by allergies or the partition between your
nostrils being crooked (deviated septum) can narrow your airways and
limit airflow through them. This narrowing of the airways forces you
to breathe through your mouth, increasing the chances of snoring. Use
Nasal Dilator strips ( Breathe-rite strips) which are adhesive strips
that can be applied to your nose. These strips may widen the nasal passages
and help reduce nasal obstruction due to congestion.
- Avoid excessive use of alcohol and sedatives like sleeping pills.
These substances act on your central nervous system causing excessive
relaxation of you throat muscles and tissues.
- Palatoplasty - In this procedure, the surgeon tightens and stiffens
the palate muscles under general anesthesia. This procedure is quite
beneficial as it reduces the intensity of snoring.
- Laser surgery - This is an outpatient procedure and is also called
laser-assisted uvulopalatoplasty (LAUP). This procedure is performed
by an ENT specialist. The doctor uses a small hand-held laser beam to
remove the excess tissue to shorten the soft palate and remove the uvula.
Removal of excess tissue enlarges the airways, thus reducing the vibration
of the tissues and the noise produced. Each treatment last about 30
minutes and 2-5 treatment sessions may be needed depending on the severity
of the problem.
- Surgical correction of deviated nasal septum.
- Radiofrequency tissue volume reduction or somnoplasty - This is an
outpatient procedure performed under local anesthesia. In this type
of surgery, the doctor uses a low-intensity radiofrequency signal to
remove part of the soft palate to reduce snoring. The tissue removal
causes slight scarring of the soft palate, which may help to reduce
- Dental devices - These are firm-fitting mouthpieces that prevent the
tongue and soft palate to fall backwards and helps to keep your air
- Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) - In this approach, a pressurized
mask is worn over your nose while you sleep. This mask is attached to
a small pump that forces air through your airway to keep it from collapsing.
Return to top