Siamak N. Nabili, MD, MPH
Dr. Nabili received his undergraduate degree from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), majoring in chemistry and biochemistry. He then completed his graduate degree at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). His graduate training included a specialized fellowship in public health where his research focused on environmental health and health-care delivery and management.
In this Article
- Snoring facts
- What is snoring?
- How common is snoring?
- What causes snoring?
- How do medications and alcohol affect snoring?
- Why is snoring a problem?
- What is the clinical importance of snoring?
- What are different levels of snoring?
- How should someone with snoring be evaluated?
- How is it determined if snoring is a medical problem?
- What are some objective tests to measure sleepiness?
- What are the treatments for snoring?
- What are some non-surgical treatments for snoring?
- What are the surgical options for snoring?
- What is the success of surgery for snoring?
- Find a local Sleep Specialist in your town
How do medications and alcohol affect snoring?
The root cause of snoring is vibration of the tissues while breathing. Some medications as well as alcohol can lead to enhanced relaxation of muscles during sleep. As the muscles of the palate, tongue, neck, and pharynx relax more, the airway collapses more. This leads to a smaller airway and greater tissue vibration. Some medications encourage a deeper level of sleep, which also can worsen snoring.
Why is snoring a problem?
Snoring sometimes can be the only sign of a more serious problem. People who snore should be evaluated to be certain that other problems such as sleep apnea, other sleeping problems, or other sleep related breathing problems.
If the snorer sleeps and breathes normally, then snoring is only a problem for the snorer's bed partner or family members. In fact, snoring often disrupts the sleep of family members and partners more than it affects the snorer. Frequently, partners of snorers report leaving the bedroom (or making the snorer leave the bedroom) many nights per week. Snoring may not be a medical problem, but it can become a significant social problem for the snorer and sleep problem for the bed partner.
What is the clinical importance of snoring?
It is important to determine if snoring is related to an underlying medical condition or is an isolated (primary) problem (not associated with any underlying disease).
More specifically, primary snoring is not associated with obstructive sleep apnea, upper airway resistance, insomnia, or other sleep disorders. This distinction is important because of the associated link between the underlying conditions and other adverse health effects.
For example, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is associated with higher risks of cardiovascular disease such as heart attacks and strokes. This association is thought to exist because of higher prevalence of high blood pressure (hypertension) in individuals with obstructive sleep apnea. On the other hand, studies have shown that people with primary snoring did not have higher rates of elevated blood pressure compared to the general public. Despite this, there is increasing evidence of a relationship between snoring and other significant health problems. However, the exact relationship remains unclear.
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