Snoring is the sign of a breathing problem. When you snore, you are breathing through a narrowed airway, which is like trying to breathe through a bent hose. In some cases, snoring is a “red flag” for a more serious medical problem called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). It can have an impact on your quality of life and even affect your relationships.

Why Do I Snore?

Snoring is the sound of tissue that vibrates as you breathe through a narrowed airway. Imagine that you are trying to breathe through a kinked air hose. Snoring occurs at night, when you are asleep and your body fails to keep the airway open all the way. Snoring is caused by a blocked or partially blocked air passage. Most snoring occurs in the back of the throat but it may also be related to a blockage that restricts airflow in the nose.

Under normal conditions, the muscles in the upper part of your throat keep your airway open so air can easily flow into your lungs. These muscles relax when you fall asleep. When this happens, the soft tissue in your throat can cave in and your tongue can fall into the back of your throat. Sometimes a change in your jaw position will change the shape of your airway. When you try to breathe in through a smaller or more narrowed airway, the tissue in your throat will vibrate and cause the snoring sound.

If I snore, should I be concerned?
Simple snoring does not necessarily affect the health of the person who is snoring. But, snoring is considered the “warning sign” of two more serious breathing problems – Airway Resistance and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

If you snore, it is important that you get tested for airway resistance and obstructive sleep apnea. If these conditions are not treated, they can lead to more serious health problems like high blood pressure and heart disease.

Snoring can affect your quality of life and may have an impact on those who sleep within earshot of you. For instance, people who snore sometimes feel embarrassed about their snoring and stop participating in activities (like travel) that may expose their problem to friends.

Snoring can affect your relationships with others and especially with your bed partner. If your snoring disturbs the sleep of another, you may prevent that person from getting the sleep that he or she needs. Sleep deprivation can lead to many problems like irritability, excessive daytime sleepiness and a higher likelihood of having an accident at work or on the road.