Snoring is the loud, harsh sound that occurs in some people when they sleep. 25 percent of adults are habitual snorers and the problem is more frequent in men and overweight people. It also tends to worsen with age.
Snoring occurs when there is an obstruction to the flow of air through the passages at the back of the nose and mouth. This area is where the tongue and upper throat meet the soft palate and uvula. The noise of snoring is created when these parts strike each other during breathing, causing a vibration. This loud noise can be extremely disruptive to both the snorer and their partner as it can interfere with their quality of sleep.
There are a number of underlying causes to snoring. Obstructed nasal airways caused by deformities of the nose, such as a deviated septum can lead to chronic snoring. Poor muscle tone in the tongue and throat, bulky throat tissue or a long soft palate could also be contributing factors.
Snoring can also be a symptom of a more serious condition called obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). This condition causes you to temporarily stop breathing while asleep. If snoring is paired with a gasping or choking sound, it may be related to sleep apnea. OSA results in lower amount of oxygen reaching the blood, and causes disruption in the natural sleep cycle, leaving people feeling poorly rested.