Snoring is the sound that is made when breathing through your nose or mouth when you sleep. It happens when the air doesn't move smoothly during the air passages, making the soft tissue in the throat vibrate.
So many people snore, that it is assumed to be normal, but the cause of all snoring is a blockage in the airway. It causes a decrease in airflow to the lungs, and a reduction or lack of airflow to the brain.
About half of people snore at some point in their lives. Snoring is more common in men, though it is prevalent in women too. It becomes more common with increasing weight and age. About 40 percent of adult men, and 24 percent of adult women are habitual snorers.
Sleeping on your back may make you more likely to snore. It may also occur as your muscles relax from the use of alcohol or other depressants. Congestion from a cold or allergies can also cause you to snore.
Snoring affects relationships
Living with a snorer can strain even the most dedicated relationship, and can be a deal breaker in a new one. Many couples affected by snoring sleep apart. For those that remain together, it has been shown that a bed partner can be deprived up to one hour of sleep a night.
Snoring and the link to Sleep Apnoea
Snoring can be a symptom of a more serious disorder called obstructive sleep apnoea, although not everyone who snores has it. If a person suffers from this, they may temporarily stop breathing many times whilst they are sleeping. A person may have no awareness of these episodes. If you are regularly tired during the day, wake from sleep unrefreshed despite getting a sufficient amount of sleep, or if your snoring is paired with a choking or gasping sound, you may have sleep apnoea.
Diagnosis is by a sleep physician following a home or in-lab sleep study. There are several approaches to management including CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure), Oral Appliance Therapy and Surgery.