Snoring refers to a rattling, snorting or grumbling sound some people make during sleep. It happens when there’s an obstruction in your airway.
Snoring is common (and normal) for many people. In fact, nearly everyone snores at some point, including babies and young children.
But loud, jarring snoring may indicate sleep apnea — a condition that causes you to pause breathing during sleep. If snoring occurs in combination with apneic episodes (gasping for air in your sleep) and other symptoms like fatigue or irritability, then you should talk to a healthcare provider.
- Snoring sounds vary from person to person. Snores might sound like:
- Quiet vibrations.
- People who snore may also:
- Toss and turn during sleep.
- Wake up with a dry or sore throat.
- Feel tired during the day (fatigue).
- Have headaches.
- Feel moody or irritable.
- Have difficulty focusing.
When you breathe, you push air through your nose, mouth and throat. A blockage in your airway can cause these tissues to vibrate against each other as air moves through you’re:
- Soft palate (the back of the roof of your mouth).
- The vibrations make a rumbling, rattling noise (what we know as snoring).
Several different factors can cause this airway blockage, including:
Age: Snoring is more common as we age because muscle tone decreases, causing our airways to constrict (shrink).
Alcohol and sedatives: Beverages containing alcohol and certain medications relax your muscles, restricting airflow through your nose, mouth and throat.
Anatomy: Enlarged adenoids, big tonsils or a large tongue can make it hard for air to flow through your nose and mouth. A deviated septum (when the cartilage that separates your nostrils is off-center) can also block the flow of air.
Sex assigned at birth: Snoring is more common in people assigned male at birth (AMAB).
Family history: Snoring runs in families. If you have a biological parent who snores, you’re more likely to snore, too.
Overall health: Nasal congestion due to allergies and the common cold blocks airflow through your mouth and nose. Pregnant people are also more likely to snore due to hormonal changes.
Weight: Snoring and sleep-related breathing disorders are more common in people who have overweighed (a body mass index, or BMI, greater than 25) or obesity (a BMI greater than 30).
Certain lifestyle changes may help you stop or reduce snoring. Here are some things to try:
- Beverages containing alcohol before bedtime.
- Ask your provider about medications to relieve nasal congestion.
- Stay active, get plenty of exercise and maintain a weight that’s healthy for you.
- Elevate your head during sleep to improve airflow.
- Try sleeping on your side instead of your back.
- Purchase a snore-reducing pillow that keeps your head in the proper position when you sleep.
Homeopathy is one of the popular alternatives that have proved successful in the treatment of both mild and severe snoring. Extra tissue in the throat can vibrate as you breathe in air in your sleep, causing you to snore.