Snoring is the process of making loud or noisy breathing sounds while you are asleep. These sounds occur because of vibrations of structures within the throat. Most often snoring comes from the roof of the mouth because the soft palate and uvula are too long. Occasionally snoring can come from the back of the tongue or other structures in the throat. If you snore, you may feel embarrassed about the noise, and your bed partner may be frustrated about the situation as well. Medical experts estimate that up to 50 percent of the adult population of the United States snores or has snored in the past. The amount of noise from snoring is not related to how deeply you sleep or how tired you are. When snoring is particularly loud, it is sometimes described as “heroic.” This kind of snoring is so loud that people two rooms away or in the next apartment over may be able to hear the noise you are making.

Problems Caused By Snoring

Even though you might think that your snoring does not bother anybody, this is not a correct assumption. Many people experience discord in their partnerships or relationship problems because of snoring. This results from the loud noises that startle bed partners awake or prevent them from falling asleep. You may also have disturbed or disrupted sleep because your bed mate prods you when you make too much noise. You could also have waking episodes when your snoring wakes you up. Snoring is different from sleep apnea. Snoring is primarily a social problem.

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Nose, Mouth and Throat Causes of Snoring

Your doctor or a sleep study may be able to determine your particular cause of snoring. One common cause of snoring is the soft palate, which is the roof of your mouth. As you get older, the tissue and muscles of your soft palate lose their firmness and may begin to sag. Each time you breathe in, the sagging tissue vibrates and generates the snoring sounds. The uvula can also be a cause of snoring. This part of your body is a small flap of tissue that extends from your soft palate. It looks like a dangling letter “U.” A uvula that is elongated or unusually thick may also vibrate when you breathe at night. This contributes to the snoring noise. Inside your nose, the middle partition (septum) can be bowed or on the internal sides of the nose outcroppings called turbinates can be swollen causing your nasal passages to be very narrow. This can promote snoring.