What is snoring?
Snoring is breathing with a snorting, raspy sound while asleep.
Snoring is common, especially in older people
Snoring can be loud and may keep those near you awake
You may not be aware that you snore
Snoring can cause poor sleep at night and a lot of sleepiness during the day (excessive daytime sleepiness Insomnia and Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS) Insomnia is trouble falling asleep, trouble staying asleep, or getting poor-quality sleep. When your sleep is of poor quality you don't feel rested or refreshed in the morning. Excessive daytime... read more )
Losing weight and not drinking alcohol near bedtime can help prevent snoring
Snoring can be treated with various devices that can be worn or, rarely, with surgery to keep your breathing passages open
When should I see a doctor about my snoring?
See a doctor if you snore and have any of these warning signs:
Periods of not breathing or choking during sleep—usually a bed partner or family member notices this
Headaches when you wake up in the morning
Very loud, constant snoring
Sometimes, high blood pressure
If you don’t have warning signs, you probably don’t need to see a doctor unless your snoring bothers others.
What causes snoring?
Snoring happens when soft tissues in your nose and throat flutter as you breathe. The relaxation of your muscles during sleep probably allows the tissue to flutter.
Sometimes, snoring is caused by breathing problems such as obstructive sleep apnea Sleep Apnea Apnea is a medical word for "not breathing." Sleep apnea is when your breathing slows or stops for a short time while you're sleeping and then restarts. This happens over and over each time... read more . Apnea is a pause in your breathing during sleep caused by your throat or airway closing.
You're more likely to snore if you:
Are older than 50
Are obese (especially if there's fat around your neck or belly)
Drink alcohol or take sedatives
Have had a stuffy nose for a long time
Snoring tends to run in families.
What will happen at my doctor's visit?
Doctors will ask about your symptoms and do an exam. If they think you may have sleep apnea Sleep Apnea Apnea is a medical word for "not breathing." Sleep apnea is when your breathing slows or stops for a short time while you're sleeping and then restarts. This happens over and over each time... read more , they may do:
A sleep test
In a sleep test, doctors monitor your breathing and other things related to sleep. This test takes place while you're sleeping. It may be done overnight in a sleep laboratory or at home.
How do doctors treat snoring?
If a problem such as sleep apnea Sleep Apnea Apnea is a medical word for "not breathing." Sleep apnea is when your breathing slows or stops for a short time while you're sleeping and then restarts. This happens over and over each time... read more is causing your snoring, doctors will treat that.
If you have sleep apnea, doctors may:
Fit you with a special mouth guard to keep your airway open
Have you use a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to keep your airway open while sleeping—you breathe in through a mask
Do surgery to reshape your airway or take out tissues (such as large tonsils) that block breathing
If there's no underlying problem causing your snoring, it may help to:
Avoid alcohol or medicines that make you sleepy for several hours before bedtime
Sleep on your side or with your upper body raised (either by raising the head of your bed or using a wedge-shaped pillow)
Take decongestants or put elastic strips on your nose to keep your nose open
Family members, bed partners, or roommates bothered by snoring may want to:
Play a white-noise machine
Sleep in another room