Snoring Symptoms & Signs
Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Snoring is a sound resulting from turbulent airflow that causes the tissues of the nose and throat to vibrate during sleep. The turbulent air flow is related to a narrowing at some point in the nose, mouth, or throat. Different people who snore may have various reasons for the narrowing of the air spaces leading to snoring.
Any person can snore, and studies estimate that 45% of men and 30% of women snore on a regular basis. People who snore can have any body type, although as a rule, snoring increases when people gain weight. Sleeping position may also affect snoring. Since the tissues of the pharynx are normally soft and floppy, when we lie on our backs, gravity pulls the palate, tonsils, and tongue backward. This often narrows the airway enough to cause turbulence in airflow, tissue vibration, and snoring.
Anatomical variation, the use of medications and alcohol, and underlying medical conditions are all among the various causes of snoring. The normal aging process also leads to relaxation of the throat muscles and can facilitate snoring.
Health concern on your mind? Visit the Symptom Checker.
Fauci, Anthony S., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2008.
Causes of Snoring
In This ArticleAlcoholism Article
- Alcohol use disorder facts
- What is alcohol abuse?
- What is alcoholism?
- What differentiates alcohol abuse from alcoholism?
- What are risk factors for alcoholism?
- What causes alcoholism? Is alcoholism hereditary?
- What are alcohol use disorder symptoms and signs in teenagers, women, men, and the elderly?
- How do physicians diagnose alcohol use disorder?
- What are the stages of alcohol use disorder?
- What is the treatment for alcohol use disorder?
- What medications treat alcohol use disorder?
- How can you tell if someone has a drinking problem?
- Can an alcoholic just cut back or stop drinking?
- Is there a safe level of drinking?
- Is it safe to drink alcohol while pregnant?
- How can someone find more information or get help or support to treat alcohol use disorder?
- What are the long-term physical and psychological effects of alcohol use disorder?
- What is codependency, and what is the treatment for codependency?
- Is it possible to prevent alcohol use disorder?
- What is the prognosis of alcohol use disorder?
In This ArticleCyst Article
- Cyst facts
- What is a cyst?
- What causes a cyst?
- What are the different types of cysts?
- What are risk factors for a cyst?
- What are cyst symptoms and signs?
- How do physicians diagnose a cyst?
- What is the treatment for a cyst?
- What are home remedies for cysts?
- What is the prognosis of a cyst?
- Is it possible to prevent a cyst?
In This ArticleDeviated Septum Article
- Deviated septum facts
- What is the definition of deviated septum?
- What are the causes of deviated septum?
- What are the symptoms of deviated septum?
- How is deviated septum diagnosed?
- How is deviated septum treated?
- When should I see a doctor about a deviated septum?
- Can deviated septum be prevented?
In This ArticleHay Fever (Allergic Rhinitis) Article
- Hay fever facts
- What is hay fever? What are hay fever symptoms and signs?
- Why does an allergic reaction occur?
- What causes allergic rhinitis?
- What are risk factors for allergic rhinitis?
- When and where does allergic rhinitis occur?
- Is allergic rhinitis contagious?
- How is allergic rhinitis diagnosed, and how are allergies identified?
- What is the treatment for allergies?
- What is the prognosis of allergic rhinitis?
- Is it possible to prevent allergic rhinitis?
In This ArticleMarfan Syndrome Article
- Marfan syndrome facts*
- What is Marfan syndrome?
- What are the symptoms of Marfan syndrome?
- What causes Marfan syndrome?
- How is Marfan syndrome diagnosed?
- What types of doctors treat Marfan syndrome?
- What treatment options are available for Marfan syndrome?
- What are some of the emotional and psychological effects of Marfan syndrome?
- What research is being conducted on Marfan syndrome?
- Where can people find additional information about Marfan syndrome?
In This ArticleObesity Article
- Obesity facts
- What is obesity?
- How common is obesity?
- What are the health risks associated with obesity?
- What causes obesity?
- What are other factors associated with obesity?
- How is body fat measured?
- What about weight-for-height tables?
- What is the body mass index (BMI)?
- Does it matter where body fat is located? (Is it worse to be an "apple" or a "pear"?)
- What can be done about obesity?
- What is the role of physical activity and exercise in obesity?
- What is the role of diet in the treatment of obesity?
- What is the role of medication in the treatment of obesity?
- What about herbal fen/phen?
- What about meal substitutes, artificial sweeteners, and over-the-counter (OTC) products?
- What is the role of surgery in the treatment of obesity?
- How can patients choose a safe and successful weight-loss program?
In This ArticleSleep Article
- What is sleep?
- What causes the body to sleep?
- What are the stages of sleep?
- How long does it take to get REM sleep?
- Why is REM sleep important?
- What percentage of sleep should be deep sleep?
- How much sleep does a person need?
- Does the amount of sleep we need change as we age?
- What are signs and symptoms of sleep deprivation?
- What are and what causes sleep disorders?
- How are sleep problems diagnosed?
- How are sleep problems treated?
- Sleep hygiene
- Other therapies
- Sleep aids (prescription and OTC)
- Are sleep problems and disease related?
- How can I get a good night's sleep?
In This ArticleSleep Apnea Article
- Sleep apnea facts
- What is sleep apnea?
- What are the types of sleep apnea?
- What is central sleep apnea and what causes it?
- What is obstructive sleep apnea and what causes it?
- How common is obstructive sleep apnea?
- What are obstructive sleep apnea symptoms?
- What are some of the complications of sleep apnea?
- How is obstructive sleep apnea diagnosed and evaluated?
- What are the nonsurgical treatments for obstructive sleep apnea?
- What are the surgical treatments for obstructive sleep apnea?
- Why is it important to treat obstructive sleep apnea?
In This ArticleSleep Related Breathing Disorders Article
- What are sleep related breathing disorders?
- Why do we sleep?
- What are the stages of sleep?
In This ArticleSnoring Article
- Snoring facts
- What is snoring?
- How common is snoring?
- What causes snoring?
- The function of the nose in normal breathing
- 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?
In This ArticleTonsillitis Article
- Tonsillitis and adenoid infection facts
- What are the tonsils and adenoids?
- What is the purpose of the tonsils and adenoids?
- What are the symptoms of tonsillitis or an adenoid infection?
- What does tonsillitis look like?
- Can someone catch tonsillitis from another person?
- What are common problems affecting the tonsils and adenoids?
- How are tonsillitis and adenoid infection diagnosed?
- How are tonsillitis and adenoid infection treated?
- What home remedies help soothe tonsillitis?
- When should the tonsils and/or adenoids be removed?
Other Causes of Snoring
- Anatomical Variations (Elongated Soft Palate or Uvula)
- Nasal Polyps
- Sleeping Position
- Trauma or Scarring of Air Passages
- Viral Infection With Nasal Congestion
Symptoms & Signs A-Z List
Find out what women really need.