What causes snoring?

Snoring is caused by air flow through your throat that can cause the relaxed tissues to vibrate. Snoring can be an indicator of a serious health condition and signal sleep deprivation and interrupted sleep.

1. Sleep on your side

Sleeping on your back can allow your tongue and soft palate to collapse to the back of your throat, blocking airflow and resulting in snoring. To prevent lying on your back, you can use a prescription sleep positioner like the Zzoma device, a full-length body pillow, or even tennis balls taped to the back of your pajamas.

2. Get tested for sleep apnea

Roughly 50% of snorers have sleep apnea. Consider getting tested using a home sleep apnea test to get a diagnosis. Aside from snoring, other common symptoms include choking or gasping during sleep, pauses in breathing, morning headaches, excessive daytime sleepiness, difficulty staying asleep, a dry mouth or sore throat in the morning, and frequent urination during the night. If diagnosed, CPAP or alternatives like oral appliances or upper airway surgery can help treat your obstructive sleep apnea and snoring.

3. Get enough sleep

Sleep deprivation and exhaustion can cause your throat muscles to relax, increasing your risk for snoring.

4. Elevate your head

By raising your head with pillows or bed risers or by adjusting the height of your bed by approximately four inches, you can reduce snoring by keeping your airways unobstructed.

5. Treat nasal congestion

Removing common allergens, like dust and dander, if they're causing allergic reactions can improve airflow through your nose. Over-the-counter and prescription allergy medication can also help reduce allergy symptoms.

6. Avoid alcohol or sedatives close to bedtime

Alcohol disturbs REM sleep and relaxes the throat muscles, resulting in snoring.

7. Lose weight

Weight gain can increase the likelihood of the throat collapsing during sleep, and losing weight may help with snoring.

8. Quit smoking

Stopping smoking may reduce your snoring.

9. Consult with a specialist

If other interventions haven't been effective, an otolaryngologist can determine whether surgical measures are required. These might include aligning a deviated septum, performing a uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) to remove excess tissue in your throat, or radiofrequency ablation.