Snoring Basics
Learn why men snore and why it can be a serious medical condition. Get information on the causes and treatment options for snoring now.

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What is Snoring?

Snoring is the term used for harsh noises made when the tongue, upper throat, soft palate, and uvula vibrate against each other while a person breathes during sleep. It's also the No. 1 complaint of spouses regarding their partner's sleeping habits. A study by the Mayo Clinic concluded that a snoring husband, on average, robs a wife of 62 minutes of sleep a night.

While snoring may disrupt sleep problems, it generally isn't considered a major health problem in most cases. However, snoring can also be a symptom of sleep apnea, a deviated septum, nasal polyps, enlarged adenoids, obesity, sinusitis, and other disorders. Overweight men are more likely to snore, as are people with narrow airways and nasal problems.

Snoring can be caused by poor muscle tone, bulky throat tissue, nose deformities, obesity, and having a long uvula or soft palate.

How To Stop Snoring

Snoring can be prevented and alleviated in many cases by maintaining a healthy lifestyle. That includes exercise, proper diet, maintaining a healthy weight, sleeping on your side, sleeping in a regular pattern, avoiding alcohol, and avoiding heavy meals three hours before going to sleep.

The Mayo Clinic lists the didgeridoo—a musical instrument of Aboriginal Australians—as a possible treatment for snoring because it trains muscles in the upper airway, although research into the claim is merely preliminary. Singing for 20 minutes a day may also help.

Other more severe cases may need added help, such as nasal strips that open nasal passages, appliances like a nasal mask, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, or even surgery. 

Written by: the Healthline Editorial Team
Edited by:
Medically Reviewed by: Jennifer Monti, MD, MPH
Published: Aug 25, 2010
Last Updated: Jan 22, 2014
Published By: Healthline Networks, Inc.
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