Can Sinus Problems Cause Snoring?

March 25, 2022

7 minutes

Reviewed by Michael Kaplan, MD

If you’ve noticed that you’ve started snoring around the same time that you started suffering from sinus problems, you may be left wondering, “Can sinus problems cause snoring?”.

The quick answer? Absolutely! Your body naturally prefers to breathe through your nose at night. However, when you’re dealing with the uncomfortable symptoms of a sinus infection or other sinus issues, such as inflamed sinuses, you’ll be forced to breathe out of your mouth instead. This causes the muscles in the back of your throat to relax which narrows your airway. As a result, the soft tissues in your throat will vibrate when you exhale, making that familiar snoring sound.

Whether you’re curious to learn more about sinus problems and snoring for your own wellbeing or for the sake of your partner’s sleep health (and your own!), Kaplan Sinus Relief is here to help walk you through the common causes of snoring and offer suggestions on what you or your loved one can do about it.

What are common snoring causes?

While chronic sinusitis could definitely be the reason you’ve started snoring, there are other factors that contribute to the onset of snoring, including:

  • Lack of humidity in the air
  • Chronic allergies
  • Sinusitis
  • Common cold
  • Sinus obstructions
  • Deviated septum
  • Nasal polyps
  • Back sleeping
  • Obesity
  • Muscle relaxants or sedatives
  • Sleep apnea

Snoring symptoms

For individuals without a sleep partner it may come as a surprise to hear that they have been snoring. Aside from someone telling you that they have been bothered by your snoring, other snoring symptoms to watch out for include:

  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Headaches upon waking
  • Sore or dry throat in the morning
  • Gasping or choking throughout the night
  • High blood pressure
  • Chest pain at night

Can sinus problems mimic sleep apnea? Yes! The symptoms can be similar because sleep apnea and sinus problems involve the same parts of your body. If you are experiencing the above symptoms, you may be struggling with obstructive sleep apnea and should schedule an appointment with your doctor. They can run a sleep study that will be able to diagnose sleep disorders including obstructive sleep apnea.

How do I stop my sinuses from snoring?

Snoring may seem like nothing more than an annoyance, but chronic snoring can lead to other more serious health conditions including an increased likelihood of developing heart disease or stroke. If you or a loved one are snoring, you’ll want to schedule an appointment to discuss the best way to stop snoring with your doctor.

That said, there are some snoring treatments you can try at home. If those don’t work you can ask your doctor about more permanent solutions, including continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), oral appliances, or balloon sinuplasty.

Try sleeping on your side

When you sleep on your back, your tongue relaxes, falling into the back of your throat and obstructing airflow if you are breathing through your mouth. Sleeping on your side can solve this issue as your tongue will relax into the side of your mouth rather than the back of your throat.

If you’re having trouble staying on your side, you can try placing pillows behind your back.

Sleep with your head elevated

By raising the top of your bed by about four inches, you’ll reduce pressure on your airways. The easiest way to do this is to invest in a wedge pillow, stack pillows under your upper body, or use an adjustable bed base. You can always try stacking pillows at first to see if it helps before investing in a more permanent solution.

Use nasal strips

Adhesive nasal strips lay across the top of your nose, gently lifting the sides of your nose to help increase airflow. You can get nasal strips at your local convenience store.

Keep in mind that if you suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, nasal strips will not work to reduce snoring because the issue is in your throat rather than your nasal passages and sinuses.

Treat any nasal congestion, obstruction, sinus infection, cold, or flu

If you’re suffering from sinus infection snoring, nasal congestion, or a nasal obstruction such as nasal polyps or a deviated septum, then you’ll be forced to breathe through your mouth at night, increasing your chances of snoring. The best way to stop snoring if this is the case is to treat the root issue.

For sinus infections and nasal congestion caused by a cold or allergies, you can try over-the-counter (OTC) medications or nasal sprays. But if you have a nasal obstruction, you’ll want to get with your doctor to discuss the best course of treatment. Treatment options may include surgery, balloon sinuplasty, or LATERA implants.

Make sure you’re getting enough sleep

Sleep deprivation can actually cause snoring because it can lead to increased relaxation of the throat muscles as your body tries to catch up on some much-needed zzz’s. Adults should be getting around seven hours of sleep a night. If you are getting less than that, look at ways you can prioritize better sleep hygiene.

Avoid consuming alcohol or sedatives before bed

Alcohol, tobacco, and sedative usage can all lead to increased snoring because they depress your central nervous system which causes your muscles to relax. As we’ve mentioned before, this increased relaxation in your throat muscles is what causes snoring. If you can, it’s best to avoid alcohol for at least two hours before bedtime and only use sleep sedatives sparingly.

Balloon sinuplasty for snoring relief

Wondering how you can permanently get rid of snoring? If you’ve tried all of the above and still aren’t finding relief, balloon sinuplasty for snoring may be a good option for you.

Balloon sinuplasty is a 20-minute, minimally invasive and pain-free procedure done in-office by an experienced ENT. The procedure uses a Targeted Guided Surgery (TGS) navigation system that helps to locate the area of your sinus that is blocked and then inserts and gently inflates a balloon to reshape the sinus, restoring drainage. Once the shape of your sinus has been restored, you’ll be able to breathe through your nose better at night.

To learn more about the procedure, recovery, and whether you’re a good fit, check out our collection of balloon sinuplasty videos.

Find long-term relief from snoring with balloon sinuplasty from Kaplan Sinus Relief

So, can sinus problems cause snoring? Blocked, clogged, or misshapen sinus cavities are a common cause of snoring. Snoring is not a condition to put off treatment for. If left untreated, the side effects of snoring can include chronic headaches, sleep deprivation, irregular heartbeats also known as arrhythmias, and stroke.

If you’re looking for the long-term relief that balloon sinuplasty can provide from snoring, come to Kaplan Sinus Relief! Dr. Michael Kaplan is a medical doctor and sinus specialist in Houston and is one of the pioneers of the balloon sinuplasty procedure. He has been Board Certified by the American Board of Otolaryngology for over 20 years and is one of the most qualified physicians in his field to help you along your snoring journey.

Hear from a real patient about how balloon sinuplasty helped them to say goodbye to snoring.

Think you might be a good candidate for balloon sinuplasty? Call our office at 713-766-1818 or schedule an appointment online.

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