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Snoring - adults

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Description

Snoring is a loud, hoarse, harsh breathing sound that occurs during sleep. Snoring is common in adults.

Loud, frequent snoring can make it hard for both you and your bed partner to get enough sleep. Sometimes snoring can be a sign of a sleep disorder called sleep apnea.

Causes

When you sleep, the muscles in your throat relax and your tongue slips back in your mouth. Snoring occurs when something blocks air from flowing freely through your mouth and nose. When you breathe, the walls of your throat vibrate, causing the sound of snoring.

There are several factors that can lead to snoring, including:

Sometimes snoring can be a sign of a sleep disorder called sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea can make it especially hard for your bed partner to get a good night's sleep.

Home Care

To help reduce snoring:

If your health care provider has given you a breathing device, use it on a regular basis. Follow your provider's advice for treating allergy symptoms.

When to Call the Doctor

Talk to your provider if you:

You should also talk with your provider if you have episodes of no breathing (apnea) during the night. Your partner can tell you if you are snoring loudly or making choking and gasping sounds.

Depending on your symptoms and the cause of your snoring, your provider may refer you to a sleep specialist.

References

Huon L-K, Guilleminault C. Signs and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea and upper airway resistance syndrome. In: Friedman M, Jacobowitz O, eds. Sleep Apnea and Snoring. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 2.

Stoohs R, Gold AR. Snoring and pathologic upper airway resistance syndromes. In: Kryger M, Roth T, Dement WC, eds. Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 112.

Sarber KM, Lam DJ, Ishman SL. Sleep apnea and sleep disorders. In: Flint PW, Francis HW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Cummings Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2021:chap 15.

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Review Date: 7/19/2021  

Reviewed By: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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