Snoring comes from the upper airway as people breathe in and out while sleeping. Snoring is extremely common, and it varies in loudness and frequency. Usually, snoring is relatively harmless, but it can also be a warning sign for a more dangerous medical disorder, like sleep apnea.
Risk Factors and Complications
Snoring can affect almost anyone, but it seems to occur more frequently in men than women. Being overweight or obese contributes to the chances of snoring, along with alcohol, tobacco or other drug use. Snoring also seems to run in families.
Some people who snore wake up with a dry mouth or a sore throat. Loud snoring and pauses in breathing during sleep might be a sign of sleep apnea, a serious condition that can lead to greater health problems. If a person often wakes up feeling tired and un-refreshed, this might be another sign of sleep apnea.
The treatment for snoring can vary based on the severity and cause of the snoring. For mild snoring that doesn’t seem to be related to apnea, for example, you may be able to minimize the problems by losing weight and avoiding alcohol, tobacco and drugs. Changing positions while sleeping could also help. There are also oral appliances that can be customized to fit the mouth.
If sleep apnea is suspected, then it would likely need to be diagnosed with a sleep study. People with apnea often need to sleep with a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, which delivers air to the throat as they sleep.
SOURCES: American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine; American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery