Snoring is a sound resulting from turbulent airflow that causes the tissues of the nose and throat to vibrate during sleep. The turbulent air flow is related to a narrowing at some point in the nose, mouth, or throat. Different people who snore may have various reasons for the narrowing of the air spaces leading to snoring.
Any person can snore, and studies estimate that 45% of men and 30% of women snore on a regular basis. People who snore can have any body type, although as a rule, snoring increases when people gain weight. Sleeping position may also affect snoring. Since the tissues of the pharynx are normally soft and floppy, when we lie on our backs, gravity pulls the palate, tonsils, and tongue backward. This often narrows the airway enough to cause turbulence in airflow, tissue vibration, and snoring.
Anatomical variation, the use of medications and alcohol, and underlying medical conditions are all among the various causes of snoring. The normal aging process also leads to relaxation of the throat muscles and can facilitate snoring.
Other causes of snoring
- Anatomical Variations (Elongated Soft Palate or Uvula)
- Nasal Polyps
- Sleeping Position
- Trauma or Scarring of Air Passages
- Viral Infection With Nasal Congestion
Pictures, Images, Illustrations & Quizzes
Men's Health: Dealing With Body Odor, Sweating, Back Hair, & More
Most men struggle with belly fat, back hair, sweating, erectile dysfunction, gas, body odor, or bad breath at some point. Get...
Sleep Disorders: Insomnia, Sleep Apnea, and More
Learn about the different types of sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea. Explore the symptoms, causes, tests and...
Sleep Quiz: Sleep Hygiene & Sleep Facts
Take our Sleeping Quiz to learn which sleep disorders, causes, and symptoms rule the night. Trouble falling or staying asleep?...
Top Reasons Children Can't Sleep in Pictures
From snoring and nightmares to sleep apnea and even you, see the bad habits that are keeping your child up all night.
Causes of Snoring
Alcoholism is a disease that includes alcohol craving and continued drinking despite repeated alcohol-related problems, such as losing a job or getting into trouble with the law. It can cause myriad health problems, including cirrhosis of the liver, birth defects, heart disease, stroke, psychological problems, and dementia. Counseling and a few medications can be effective for alcoholism treatment.
An allergy refers to a misguided reaction by our immune system in response to bodily contact with certain foreign substances. When these allergens come in contact with the body, it causes the immune system to develop an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to it. It is estimated that 50 million North Americans are affected by allergic conditions. The parts of the body that are prone to react to allergies include the eyes, nose, lungs, skin, and stomach. Common allergic disorders include hay fever, asthma, allergic eyes, allergic eczema, hives, and allergic shock.
Cysts are sac-like structures that may be filled with gas, liquid, or solid materials. Cysts may produce symptoms and signs depending on their location. Treatment of a cyst depends upon what caused the cyst in the first place.
A deviate septum is a condition that may require surgery. With a deviated septum, the bone and cartilage that divide the nasal cavity of the nose in half (nasal septum) is significantly off-center or crooked. The causes of a deviated septum can be congenital, or develop after a trauma or injury to the nose. Symptoms of a deviated septum include: nasal congestion, recurrent sinus infections, nosebleeds, headache, facial pain, postnasal drip, snoring, and loud breathing. A deviated septum can be relieved with medications and, if necessary, a surgery called septoplasty.
Hay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis)
Hay fever (allergic rhinitis) is an irritation of the nose caused by pollen and is associated with the following allergic symptoms: nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, eye and nose itching, and tearing eyes. Avoidance of known allergens is the recommended treatment, but if this is not possible, antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal sprays may help alleviate symptoms.
Marfan syndrome is hereditary (genetic) condition affecting connective tissue. A person with Marfan syndrome may exhibit the following symptoms and characteristics: Dislocation of one or both lenses of the eye A protruding or indented breastbone Scoliosis Flat feet Aortic dilatation Dural ectasia (a problem with the sac surrounding the spinal cord) Stretch marks Hernia Collapsed lung Though there is no cure for Marfan syndrome, there are treatments that can minimize and sometimes prevent some complications.
Obesity is the state of being well above one's normal weight. A person has traditionally been considered to be obese if they are more than 20% over their ideal weight. That ideal weight must take into account the person's height, age, sex, and build.
Sinus Infection (Sinusitis)
Sinus infection (sinusitis) is caused by allergies, infection, and chemicals or other irritants of sinuses. Signs and symptoms are headache, fever, and facial tenderness, pressure, or pain. Treatments of sinus infections are generally with antibiotics and at times, home remedies.
Sleep apnea is defined as a reduction or cessation of breathing during sleep. The three types of sleep apnea are central apnea, obstructive apnea (OSA), and a mixture of central and obstructive apnea. Central sleep apnea is caused by a failure of the brain to activate the muscles of breathing during sleep. OSA is caused by the collapse of the airway during sleep. OSA is diagnosed and evaluated through patient history, physical examination and polysomnography. There are many complications related to obstructive sleep apnea. Treatments are surgical and non-surgical.
Sleep Disorders (How to Get a Good Night's Sleep)
A number of vital tasks carried out during sleep help maintain good health and enable people to function at their best. Sleep needs vary from individual to individual and change throughout your life. The National Institutes of Health recommend about 7-9 hours of sleep each night for older, school-aged children, teens, and most average adults; 10-12 for preschool-aged children; and 16-18 hours for newborns. There are two stages of sleep; 1) REM sleep (rapid-eye movement), and 2) NREM sleep (non-rapid-eye movement). The side effects of lack of sleep or insomnia include: Irritability Tiredness Feeling sleepy during the day Concentration or memory problems Lack of sleep and insomnia can be caused by medical conditions or diseases, medications, stress, or pain. The treatment for lack of sleep and insomnia depends upon the cause.
Sleep Related Breathing Disorders
Sleep-related breathing disorders are characterized by disruptions of normal breathing patterns that only occur during sleep. Snoring and sleep apnea are the most common sleep-related breathing disorders.
Tonsillitis is a contagious infection with symptoms of bad breath, snoring, congestion, headache, hoarseness, laryngitis, and coughing up blood. Tonsillitis can be caused acute infection of the tonsils, and several types of bacteria or viruses (for example, strep throat or mononucleosis). There are two types of tonsillitis, acute and chronic. Acute tonsillitis lasts from one to two weeks while chronic tonsillitis can last from months to years. Treatment of tonsillitis and adenoids include antibiotics, over-the-counter medications, and home remedies to relieve pain and inflammation, for example, salt water gargle, slippery elm throat lozenges, sipping warm beverages and eating frozen foods (ice cream, popsicles), serrapeptase, papain, and andrographism Some people with chronic tonsillitis may need surgery (tonsillectomy or adenoidectomy).