What is Snoring?

When we are asleep, the area at the back of the throat sometimes narrows. The air passing through this smaller opening can cause the tissues surrounding the opening to vibrate, which in turn can cause the sounds of snoring. The narrowing can be in the nose, mouth, or throat. Although not everyone who snores is experiencing difficulty breathing, snoring in combination with other conditions such as overweight and obesity has been found to be highly predictive of Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) risk. The loudness of the snoring is not indicative of the severity of obstruction.  The sign that is most suggestive of Sleep Apnea occurs when snoring stops, because breathing has stopped. 

What are the symptoms of Snoring?

  •  A vibrating sound coming from the throat or nose, and can be very loud or quiet 
  •  Waking up with a feeling of choking or gasping 
  •  Waking up with a very sore and/or dry throat 
  •  Morning headaches 
  •  Excessive Daytime Sleepiness Restless sleep

How is Snoring diagnosed?

Typically snoring is first diagnosed by your bed partner.  If your partner has told you that you snore, you should consult with your doctor.  Your doctor will ask you about your sleeping habits, how much sleep you get at night, if you wake up at night, and whether you fall asleep during the day. Your doctor will also want to know if you are having any emotional problems or are taking any drugs that may be interfering with your sleep.

Your doctor will typically order a sleep test called polysomnography (PSG or NPSG) to determine if you have Sleep Apnea.

How is Snoring treated?

Some treatments for Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea are the same.  Your doctor may suggest changes such as losing weight, avoiding alcohol and sleeping pills, avoid sleeping on your back and to quit smoking. 

Treatments include:

  •  Continuous Positive Airway Pressure to keep the soft pallet and throat open during sleep.
  •  Oral appliances – to position the jaw forward to keep the soft pallet and throat open during sleep.
  •  Surgery – for the nose or throat to remove blockage or tissue or to tighten tissue.


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