November 2020 | Reviewed by: Imran Shaikh, MD and Seema Khosla, MD
What is snoring?
Snoring occurs when you breathe and the flow of air makes the tissues in the back of your throat vibrate. The sound most often occurs as you breathe in and can come through the nose, mouth, or a combination of the two. It can occur during any stage of sleep.
About half of people snore at some point in their lives. Snoring is more common in men, though many women snore. It appears to run in families and becomes more common as you get older. About 40 percent of adult men and 24 percent of adult women are habitual snorers. Men become less likely to snore after the age of 70.
Sleeping on your back may make you more likely to snore. It may also occur as your throat muscles relax from use of alcohol or other respiratory depressants. Congestion from a cold or allergies can also cause you to snore.
Snoring can be a nuisance to your partner and anyone else nearby. You may even snore loudly enough to wake yourself up. In many cases people do not realize that they snore. Snoring can also cause you to have a dry mouth or sore or irritated throat when you wake up.
Light snoring may not disrupt your overall sleep quality. Heavy snoring may be associated with sleep apnea, a serious sleep disorder and a risk factor for heart disease, stroke, diabetes and many other health problems.
Conservative therapies should be encouraged in all patients who snore including alcohol avoidance prior to bedtime, tobacco cessation, weight loss, and sleeping on their side.