Snoring is the harsh sound that occurs when your breathing becomes slightly obstructed during sleep. Snoring can indicate a serious health condition and is often a nuisance to your partner as well. Snoring occurs when air passes by relaxed tissues in your throat, causing the tissues to vibrate as you breathe, which creates the obnoxious snoring sounds. Snoring is often linked with a sleeping disorder called obstructive sleep apnea or OSA. However, not everyone that snores has OSA.
People who are overweight can have extra tissues in the back of their throat that may narrow their breathing passages. Snoring also can also occur by consuming too much alcohol prior to bed. Alcohol relaxes the throat muscles and can stop your natural defenses for preventing your breathing passages to become obstructed. Chronic nasal congestion, enlarged turbinates or a deviated septum can also cause your snoring. Snoring may also be associated with obstructive sleep apnea. This is when your throat tissues partially or completely block your airway passages, and prevent you from breathing properly.
If your snoring is accompanied by any of the listed symptoms, strongly recommend to see a physician for a more in depth evaluation for obstructive sleep apnea.
- Witnessed breathing pauses during sleep
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Morning headaches
- Sore throat upon awakening
- Restless sleep
- Gasping or choking at night
- High blood pressure
- Chest pain at night
- Your snoring is so loud it’s disrupting your partner’s sleep
- In children, poor attention span, behavioral issues or poor performance in school
Lifestyle changes including losing weight, avoiding alcohol close to bedtime, and changing sleeping positions are often very helpful to alleviate snoring. If lifestyle changes don’t help your snoring, we may suggest other options including medical and surgical options. First we will need to determine the cause of your snoring. Many patients get relief from snoring when their other conditions such as a deviated septum or chronic sinusitis are alleviated.
Children and snoring: Speak to us about it. Children can have OSA, too! Enlarged tonsils and obesity often can narrow a child’s airway- this can lead to the development of obstructive sleep apnea. We strongly encourage you to take action and not wait.