Do you snore? It’s quite possible! In fact, about forty-five percent of people do snore on occasion and aren’t particularly bothered by it. An additional twenty-five percent of people suffer from chronic snoring. Snoring is bothersome, can cause embarrassment, and may also lead to serious and long-term health problems.

Snoring occurs when air cannot flow freely through the passage at the back of the nose and throat. When the tissues there become too relaxed they strike each other and vibrate. There are many conditions and factors that lead to chronic snoring:

Gender: Men are more likely to snore than women

Weight: People who are overweight are more susceptible to snoring because they may have excess soft tissue in the neck

Alcohol: Drinking alcohol prior to bedtime can relax the throat muscles and lead to an obstruction of the airways during sleep

Nasal Problems: Nasal problems, including a deviated septum and chronic congestion, may be the cause of snoring

Sleep Deprivation and Position: A lack of sleep can also relax those tissues and lead to snoring. In addition, back-sleeping can narrow one’s airways and induce snoring.

Muscle Tone: Low muscle tone in the tongue or throat can cause a narrowing of the airway during sleep

Sleep Apnea: Sleep apnea typically causes loud and disruptive snoring. Learn more about sleep apnea here.

Enlarged Tonsils and Adenoids: Typically found in children, enlarged tonsils and adenoids can block air and cause snoring. In some cases, the tonsils and/or adenoids may need to be removed.

In addition to affecting one’s quality of sleep, snoring can also cause the following: daytime fatigue, difficulty concentrating, high blood pressure, heart disease, headaches, sore throat, and behavior problems in children.