Snores: What Causes Snoring and Why do People Snore?

People of any age can snore at night, but this condition is more likely to occur in people who are overweight. As an individual gets older, the snoring is likely to get worse. Almost half of adults snore regularly, and another 25 percent of the population does so—at least occasionally.

About Occasional Snoring

If you snore occasionally, it is not considered a serious medical issue. It can be a nuisance for the snorer’s partner, though. When it becomes a regular occurrence, the situation should be discussed with a physician, as it can be an indication of a more serious medical condition.

Causes

There are a number of reasons why someone snores. One of them is that the nasal airways may be partially blocked. Another explanation is that the person has a deviated septum or nasal polyps. Both of these conditions can cause an obstruction that will lead to snoring.

Another cause may be a problem with the muscle tone in the tongue and the throat. If the tongue falls back into the airway, it can cause snoring. Over time, the muscles in the airway tend to relax more, which makes it more likely that the person will have this problem.

A person who has a long soft palate or uvula (the piece of tissue that hangs down at the back of the mouth) may also snore. These parts of the mouth can bump against each other and vibrate when the person is sleeping, which leads to snoring. Large adenoids, which are also located at the back of the throat, can make the available space for the airway narrower than usual.

Someone who is concerned about snoring may want to consider how much alcohol they are consuming in the evening. Using this substance later in the day causes the muscles in the throat to relax, causing drinkers to snore.

Sleep apnea is another condition that can cause snoring. This can be a serious medical condition where the throat tissues can partially block the airway during sleep. The individual can’t breathe during these episodes. One of the characteristics of sleep apnea is that the person with the disorder snores loudly for a time and then suddenly stops for a short time. The silence can last for 10 seconds, or even longer.

Lacking much-needed oxygen, the person with sleep apnea is jolted awake. He or she may make a gasping or snorting sound as they do so. This pattern may happen a number of times through the night.

See a Doctor

When snoring happens on more than an occasional basis, the cause of the nighttime noise should be investigated. The person with snoring issues should make an appointment to see his or her doctor for a physical examination. In the case of a child with snoring issues, parents should consult with the youngster’s pediatrician for advice. Getting appropriate treatment will help the snorer, as well as his or her partner, get the rest they need to function properly during the day.

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