What causes snoring?

Sometimes described as a jackhammer or a gas-powered generator, the sound of snoring is often overlooked as something humorous or mildly annoying, but what causes snoring? What’s actually happening in our bodies that creates that sensation? Knowing the causes can help your health in greater ways than you might know, because snoring could be a sign of an underlying medical condition. 

Although snoring is fairly common and not always dangerous, it’s still important to understand what’s happening and if it needs addressing. In terms of what causes snoring, the Mayo Clinic says, “Snoring can be caused by a number of factors, such as the anatomy of your mouth and sinuses, alcohol consumption, allergies, a cold, and your weight. When you doze off and progress from a light sleep to a deep sleep, the muscles in the roof of your mouth (soft palate), tongue and throat relax. The tissues in your throat can relax enough that they partially block your airway and vibrate.” 

A blocked airway may seem scary, but as said before, snoring is common. Here are a few factors that might contribute to it: 

  • Drinking alcoholic beverages
  • Men are more perceptible 
  • Being overweight 
  • Sleep apnea 

The last item on the list is important, because it addresses the medical condition previously referred to. Sleep apnea occurs when a person stops breathing in the middle of sleep for 10 seconds or more, frequently throughout the night. Although snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea, it is not exclusively a sign that you suffer with it. 

The best way to find out is to get a sleep study with a specialist. During this process, the sleep specialist will analyze your sleeping patterns and determine if the cause of your snoring is sleep apnea or something else entirely. There was a time when sleep studies occurred at the clinics, and some still do, but at places like the Ear, Nose and Throat Institute, at-home sleep studies are possible. 

If you struggle with snoring or sleep issues, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with us by calling 770-740-1860 or filling out the form at the top of the page. Same-day and walk-in appointments available.