Why do I snore? Causes and solutions for snoring explained

A snore is a snorting or rattling noise that people make during sleep. For some, it is limited to short individual snorts. For others their snoring is consistent during all points of their sleep and occurs every night. Similarly, some people’s can be quiet while others can be head in the next room.

Here is an explanation as to why you snore, and how to stop it.

What causes you to snore?

Soft tissue in your airways vibrates as air passes over it, causing snoring. Soft tissue in the nasal passages, soft tissue (the soft layer at the top back of our mouth), the base of your tongue or your tonsils or your uvula can all cause you to snore.

However, air is passing over this tissue all the time you are breathing without this noise - so why do you snore during sleep?

While you are asleep, your muscles relax. This causes the tissue to loosen further, making it even soften and more susceptible to vibrations. The vibrations are the source of the noises.

Similarly, the loosened muscles reduce the size of your airway. This means air passes through the airway more quickly for the same amount of air. This also increases the vibrations and causes you to snore. Often illnesses such as a common cold can cause snoring to worsen, as they further restrict the airway.

Often snoring worsens with age, as more tissue develops, and muscles weaken.

What can make you more likely to snore?

There are many factors that can affect the severity of somebody’s snoring. They include:

  • Weight – being overweight can both increase the amount of soft tissue around the throat. It can also increase the weight on the throat during sleep, causing it to narrow further. Typically a person who is obese, and/or has a neck size above 17 inches, is more likely to snore. Often they will snore more loudly and more frequently than somebody of average weight.
  • Smoking – smoke causes inflamation in the airway, restricting the airflow and increasing the likelihood of snoring.
  • Alcohol – alchohol relaxes the muscles and makes the tissue in your throat and mouth more prone to vibrations.
  • Allergies – any allergy that results in rhinitis (runny nose) will cause the nasal passages to become inflamed. This restricts them, making snoring more likely.

How to snore no more!

Now you know what causes you to snore, you are better placed to find a solution. Proven treatment methods include:

Lifestyle Changes

If your BMI is above 25, you are likely to notice a reduction in the intensity of your snoring if you are able to lose weight. It may even prevent it entirely.

Stopping (or at least reducing) your smoking or alcohol consumption can lead to a reduction in the severity of your snoring.

Anti-Snoring Products

There numerous products out there to help those who snore. You can read our guide to the proven Anti-Snoring Products here.

Obstructive Sleep Apnoea testing

Being told you snore may be embarrassing, but in itself it is usually harmless. However, if you experience any or all of these other problems, then it could be more serious:

  • Excessive sleepiness during the day
  • Lack of concentration
  • You have been told you choke or stop breathing during sleep
  • You have a BMI above 25
  • Have a recessed jaw or deviated septum

All of the above increase the chances that your snoring may be a symptom of Obstructive Sleep Apnoea. OSA is a sleep disorder where the person’s airway closes regularly during sleep. These regular interruptions disrupt sleep, causing the person to wake up feeling unrefreshed and often tired throughout the day.

If you suspect that your may have OSA, then we recommend reading our guide to getting a Sleep Study conducted. You could be receiving treatment and sleeping soundly again within weeks. Even better - as well as treating OSA, you may also no longer snore!