Snoring: The vibration of respiratory structures and the sound it makes, due to obstructed air movement while breathing during sleep. It is comon. Snoring can indicate a life-threatening sleep disorder, or have no impact on health.


      Snoring refers to the sound some people make when they breathe in air during sleep. It is a sign that the airway is at least partially blocked but may not be a problem if it does not interfere with sleep. Snoring that is not associated with a sleep-breathing disorder is called simple or primary snoring. 
    Secondary snoring develops as the result of a sleep-breathing disorder, such as obstructive sleep apnea Snoring associated with OSA tends to be loud and abrupt. Airway tissues relax during sleep, completely blocking airflow. The loss of oxygen arouses the person so they can breathe. A loud snore, gasp, or choking sound is made while fighting for air.  The lack of air reduces blood-oxygen levels enough to cause permanent health problems or death, if left untreated.
    Upper airway resistance syndrome also precipitate snoring, although not everyone with UARS snores. There is less blockage, which usually results in less sound. Snoring may disrupt the sleep of bed partners and other household members. Some sleep-breathing disorders have been discovered after a bed partner sought a sleep evaluation.


        Since snoring occurs during sleep, it is difficult to recognize without input from others. Snoring that arises from a cold or respiratory infection will resolve on it's own. Snoring that does not disrupt sleep may not be a problem, if it is not loud. Loud snoring should be evaluated for a sleep-breathing disorder.
     An overnight sleep study is required to evaluate snoring.
Polysomnography records several bodily functions, including respiratory rate, heart rate, and blood-oxygen levels. Sleep studies may be performed at accredited sleep laboratories. Home evaluations using portable polysomnography equipment may also be used to screen patients, depending on their symptoms.


CPAP or Bi-PAP therapy may help with UARS. In some instances, snoring related to sleep-breathing disorders may be cured by surgically removing severe blockages. Procedures include: Uvulo Palato Pharyngo Plasty (UPPP) to remove part of the soft palate, Tonsillectomy and Adenoidectomy to remove tonsils and adenoids, and jaw surgeries such as Genioplasty to advance the lower jaw.
     Oral and Dental Appliances may be an option for minor airway blockages. The Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD), which looks like a sports mouth guard, forces the lower jaw foward and slightly downward to increase airway space. The Tongue Retaining Device (TRD) opens the airway by splinting the tongue into place. Nasal strips slightly increase nasal passages. A mandibular advancement appliance may also be used.

     A great deal of snoring can be helped with Behavioral Therapies. A change in sleep position may be enough to eliminate minor snoring. Weight loss reduces pressure from excess weight around the neck--a leading cause of sleep apnea. Good Sleep Habits can help anyone improve the likelihood of getting a good night's rest.

Snoring Mechanics

     What happens when we snore? As with other sounds, the snoring sound is made when vibrations cause particles in the air to form sound waves. Airway tissues in the back of the throat vibrate when airflow pushes past them during sleep.
    All snoring involves a certain amount of airway blockage. Sometimes, excess weight around the neck constricts the airway. In other instances, enlarged  tonsils block the area around the throat. When the blockage becomes severe, sleep-breathing disorders such as Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome or even Obstructive Sleep Apnea develop. The sound a snore makes depends on the blockage. The average snore ranges between 60 and 90 decibals. Normal conversation produces under 40 decibals. The best of earplugs will only eliminate 30-40 decibals of sound. Snoring can be loud!

Suggested Downlaods

Sleep Breathing Disorders
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