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What are the Most Common Causes of Snoring?

By Jacob Queen
Updated May 17, 2024
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All causes of snoring are directly related to some kind of restriction of the airway, which results in the air flowing out in an uneven way and generating a recognizable sound. Some causes of snoring are lifestyle-related, and others are genetic or caused by an illness. People may snore because they smoke or drink right before going to bed. Other people may snore because they have too much fatty tissue in their air passageways, and this can be caused by being overweight or genetics. There are also people who snore because they suffer from sleep apnea or stopped-up sinuses.

It can be very important to have severe chronic snoring checked out, because sleep apnea is a possible root cause. This disorder can lead to many serious physical problems because the breathing is literally stopping for several seconds repeatedly while people sleep. After a while, the loss of oxygen from this repeated breathing cessation has the potential to lead to cell damage. One of the most noticeable symptoms in some sleep apnea cases is the snoring, and it may be the only visible sign of a problem for some people.

Regardless of what causes of snoring are responsible, it can be very detrimental to a person’s quality of life. Snoring makes the time spent sleeping less satisfying, because breathing is being restricted. People may wake up and feel terrible without ever realizing that snoring is responsible for their problems. Snoring can also be damaging on a romantic level by making it difficult for a person's partner to sleep.

When choosing what to do about snoring, doctors have to know exactly what causes of snoring are responsible in any given case. In many situations, people can stop snoring by changing the way they sleep. Sleeping on the back can cause the tongue and throat muscles to lie in just the right way to obstruct breathing, and this can exaggerate the severity of many causes of snoring. Some people will simply sleep on their sides, and the problems will go away. In other cases, people may need to change their lifestyle in a more drastic way by giving up smoking or drinking, and sometimes medical remedies for some illness are required if some kind of disorder is causing the snoring.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

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