Snoring is the sound that occurs during sleep when flow of air is obstructed in the area where the tongue and upper throat meet the soft palate and uvula. Snoring noises occur when these structures vibrate against each other during breathing.
It is estimated that 45% of all adults snore occasionally, and 25% habitually snore. Snoring is more common in males and people who are overweight, and worsens with age.
Snoring is obstructed breathing. In addition to disturbed sleep patterns and sleep deprivation, other serious health problems may result. Snoring may also be a symptom of other medical conditions.
Snoring may be caused by many factors, including:
- Poor muscle tone
- Excessively bulky throat tissue
- Long soft palate
- Long uvula
- Stuffed or blocked nasal passages
- Deformities of the nose
- Deformities of the nasal septum
Contact a sleep medicine physician at North Shore-LIJ Health System to determine specific treatment. Care may be based on:
- Age, overall health, and medical history
- Extent of the disorder
- Tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies
- Expectations for the course of the disorder
- Your opinion or preference
Treatment may include a nasal mask that provides continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), or surgery.
Mild or occasional snoring may also be helped by:
- A healthy lifestyle that includes exercise and proper diet
- Losing weight
- Avoiding tranquilizers, sleeping pills, and antihistamines before bedtime
- Avoiding alcohol at least 4 hours before bedtime
- Avoiding heavy meals at least 3 hours before bedtime
- Establishing regular sleeping patterns
- Sleeping on your side
- Tilting the head of the bed up about 4 inches
Heavy or chronic snoring may require medical care.