Causes of Snoring

April 12, 2017

3 minutes

Reviewed by Michael Kaplan, MD

Has snoring ever woken you up in the night? Or even worse, has it never woken you up but someone has told you how loudly you snore? Snoring is unsettled airflow through your breathing, causing the tissue on the top of your mouth and in your throat to vibrate. According to the Sleep Foundation, this condition affects almost 37 million adults on a regular basis. If left untreated, snoring can lead to daytime fatigue or even more serious health problems such as heart disease.

How Snoring Occurs

During sleep, your upper airway narrows and your throat muscles relax. As you breathe, the throat muscles can vibrate, which causes the sounds of snoring. If your airway becomes more narrow, the vibrations become more intense, causing your snoring to sound louder. In some cases, the walls of your throat could collapse, causing a condition known as sleep apnea. Snoring can cause difficulties that not only affect you but also the sleep and health of your loved ones or roommates.

Common Causes of Snoring

Age, weight, and gender are three common causes of snoring. As you age, being overweight can cause your throat muscles to relax more, resulting in snoring. Even though snoring can affect both genders, the Mayo Clinic says men are more likely to have sleep apnea. There are other factors that affect snoring:

  • Sleeping position. Lying on your back is the worst position for anyone predisposed to snoring. This position influences the gravity and how it narrows your throat’s airway.
  • Mouth anatomy. Some people may have extra tissue in the back of their throat, which results in a narrowed airway. This could be due to an elongated uvula which can also obstruct air and cause vibrations to increase.
  • Drinking alcohol. Alcohol relaxes more than just a person’s mind, it can also relax their throat muscles. When these muscles relax, it decreases your body’s natural defense against obstructions to your airways which cause snoring.

Sleeping Patterns and Snoring

When your upper airway narrows or collapses during snoring, it lowers the amounts of oxygen in your blood. This causes your heart to work harder and disrupts your natural sleeping pattern. When these episodes happen for more than ten seconds at a time, you could have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Sleep apnea causes a person who snores to sleep lighter and keep their throat muscles tense so air continues to flow to the lungs. This causes you to exhibit signs of daytime sleepiness, a risk at your job and a safety hazard if you operate machinery. These sleeping patterns can increase your risk of heart attacks, diabetes, strokes, or other health related issues.

You’re may not only be disrupting your own sleeping patterns but that of your partner’s or roommates’ as well. On average, your partner can lose an hour of sleep every night. Your partner can also experience daytime sleepiness, decreased productivity, and possibly end up resenting you for your snoring. If you’re the sleeping partner who has a snoring partner, make sure they receive treatment so that you both can sleep easier.

At Kaplan Sinus Relief, Dr. Kaplan and our team of professionals can help you get your sleep back through safe, minimally-invasive procedures that will restore your breathing. Request a consultation today!


4101 Greenbriar Street, Suite 320

Houston, TX 77098