To understand and find the answer to the “why you snore in sleep” question, it’s important to note that snores are vibration sounds produced when air can’t easily make it through airways rattling against nasal and throat tissues. This occurs when the muscles of the upper airway relax, partially obstructing/blocking the airway.

Continued obstruction can cause oxygen shortage and potentially serious health problems, including but not limited to excessive tiredness, sleepiness, potential risk of heart attack and stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure among others.

About 40% and 25% of adult men and women respectively regularly snore. While snoring can be innocent, it can also be a symptom of a more serious sleep disorder like sleep apnea.

More often than not, one may not know whether they snore even though they may experience some of the symptoms above until it’s brought to their attention by a partner or roommate or one affected by the snoring sounds. However, one can use the techniques in our article in Simple Self-Test for Snoring“.

Causes of Snoring

As stated above, snoring is a result of impaired ability of the airways to allow easy passage of air due to obstruction or narrowing of the airways.

It’s basically vibration of the relaxed and bulky nasal and throat tissues as you try to pass air in your sleep. The obstruction may due to a couple of reasons which could be permanent or temporal.

It’s important to note that establishing the cause of snoring will help in determining the most ideal treatment for combating and stopping snoring.

“Why you snore in sleep” can be as a result of;

(A) Temporal causes of obstruction of the airway;

  1. Sleeping posture: Sleeping on your back increases chances of snoring. This because, while a sleep, the relaxed muscles drop backward blocking the airway. Luckily, one can sleep in a roll over stop snoring t-shirt. It has pockets sewn at the back with small balls. When you roll over to your back, the balls make that sleeping position uncomfortable forcing you to revert to either side-sleeping or you sleep face down.
  2. Stuffy/clogged or sinus congested nose. This could result from flu or allergies. Unconsciously, one tends to breath via the mouth resulting in snoring. Where the nostrils are stuffy, nasal dilators vents are ideal to prevent collapsing and blocking of the nose and subsequently the air.
  3. Medication drugs and alcohol: they both have a depressant and sedative effect. As such, they cause throat muscles relaxation narrowing of the airway. This eventually leads to snoring. Additionally, prolonged smoking results in weakened throat muscles too.

(B) Permanent causes of obstruction of the airway;

  1. Aging: With age advancement, snoring becomes prevalent. This can be attributed to the fact that muscles loose strength and sag hence narrowing the throat airway.
  2. Excess weight gain: Excess weight and obesity leads to poor muscle tone. This causes tissues to sag and cause obstruction to the airways. Although pregnancy is for a short period, it is often accompanied by weight gain which could last thus in this category. The accompanying hormones may lead to swelling of mucous membranes that may result in nasal congestion. This however varies from an individual to another.
  3. Sleep Apnea, and specifically “Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)” is a more serious cause and problem. This results when the soft tissues of the neck and upper airway relax and collapse repeatedly during sleep. This subsequently causes breathing halting for a few seconds.

Blockage of the airways leads to breathing interruption. When the body suffers lack of oxygen it leads to chocking and gasping for air, snoring and snorting too. Prolonged oxygen shortage exposes one to increased risk of heart problems and reduced lung capacity. Surgery to reduce the soft palate or even to reposition the lower jaw to open up the airway is sometimes considered amongst other techniques. However, that route is considered very risky and problematic.


Note: Proper and precise diagnosis on why you snore in sleep will help you in determining the most appropriate anti-snoring mechanism and devices to apply.

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