What Makes Someone Snore?

When you fall asleep, your tongue, the muscles in the roof of your mouth, and your throat all gradually relax. If the fleshy tissue in your throat relaxes too much, your airway becomes narrower, and the tissue vibrates as you breathe. The more narrow your airway, the more forceful the air passing through it becomes, and the louder the snoring. Contributing factors are:

  • Your anatomy Enlarged tonsils, a low or thick palate, an elongated uvula (that fleshy bit hanging in the back of your mouth) and adenoids can all narrow the airway.
  • Being overweight contributes to a narrow airway.
  • Nasal problems Nasal congestion or a deviated septum can worsen snoring.
  • Alcohol or sedative use These relax the throat muscles in many people.
  • Sleep apnea A serious medical condition in which a person actually stops breathing many times in his or her sleep, for brief periods. Not everyone who has sleep apnea snores, however.

What Can Be Done About Problem Snoring?

Making some changes in your lifestyle such as sleeping on your side, losing weight, and cutting back on alcohol may be enough to lessen or eliminate problem snoring. When these actions aren't enough, it's advisable to review the details of the snoring with a dental professional such as Dr. Garrison.

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