What causes snoring?

What causes snoring-resmed

When we’re asleep, the muscles in our necks relax. Sometimes, they relax so much that the upper airway (the nose and throat) partially closes, narrowing the passageway in which air travels to our lungs. This narrowing of your airway causes a vibration in the throat when you breathe, which causes the sound of snoring.

There are many reasons why our neck muscles may relax. Swollen tonsils, too much alcohol, being overweight, even the shape of your nose and jaw – these are just some of the factors that could cause your neck muscles to relax and cause you to snore.


Snoring and obstructive sleep apnea

Snorers with obstructive sleep apnea see their muscles relax even more. Sleep apnea occurs when the neck muscles relax to a point where they fully obstruct the airways for 10 seconds or more. In severe cases, these obstructions, or apneas, can last up to two minutes.

So in fact, snoring and sleep apnea are both caused by the same factors – but the neck muscles for people with sleep apnea are lazier than they are in people who just snore. Beware, though: lazy neck muscles get even lazier over time, so people who just snore run the risk of eventually developing sleep apnea.

More about snoring

Key facts about snoring
Loud snoring disrupts sleep for you and your partner. It’s also a sign you may have obstructive sleep apnea. Get the facts.
Benefits of treatment for snoring
Everyone in your household benefits when you take measures to stop your snoring, control your obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and reclaim your sleep.
By continuing to browse this site, you give consent for cookies to be used. We use cookies to give you the best possible experience on our website. Change settings or learn more. or Learn more

Manage your preferences regarding cookies

A cookie is a small piece of data that a website asks your browser to store on your computer or mobile device. Please choose whether our website may use statistic or / and marketing cookies, as explained below:

Required cookies

These cookies are essential to the functioning of the site.

Analytical cookies

These cookies allow ResMed to analyze the website usage to measure and improve performance.

Marketing cookies

These cookies are used to help better advertise depending on your interests.