Snoring is a sleep disorder. It may bother the snorer and usually disturbs the sleep of anyone else in the same room. Occasionally someone with profound or particularly noisy snoring disturbs the sleep of others in different rooms attempting to sleep themselves.
The sound of snoring is caused by the tissues lining the throat rattling as air tries to pass up and down while the snorer is resting. Those that are overweight or who have a narrow throat, large tonsils or adenoids are more prone to be snorers. This is because there is more tissue lining and surrounding the throat that may increase rattling, or vibrate more, and therefore make more noise.
Men appear to snore more than women as their throat is generally narrower, plus those that have persistently blocked nasal passages or sinuses tend to snore more often. Other factors that appear to make snoring more likely when sleeping include smoking and sleeping on your back. Alcohol and medications that make you sleepy also increase the amount and intensity of snoring as they relax the muscles around the throat increasing throat vibration when asleep.
If snoring is bothering your partner or family, it is helpful to keep a diary so you can record your sleep and any patterns associated with your snoring.
For most people, closed mouth snoring may mean that their tongue is affecting their sleep and those around them. This may be helped by specific devices to help the tongue stay in position and prevent snoring from occurring. For those that snore with their mouth open the problem is generally from the throat. This may be helped by a device that specifically targets this by keeping the throat open with positive air pressure.
Those that snore when sleeping on their back may be helped by a gentle push to move them off their back onto their side, but you may have to be persistent to affect consistent change here. For these people lifestyle modifications, such as limiting alcohol, avoiding smoking and losing weight, may be helpful.
All people that snore, as well as those affected by snoring around them, need to ensure that they get enough sleep each night. Good habits that may help limit snoring include avoiding heavy meals, caffeine and alcohol two hours before going to bed, ensuring the diet is healthy, and that they exercise regularly. Try all help to ensure that the snorer is tired yet able to sleep. Specific exercises for the throat, such as singing or blowing wind instruments, may also prove helpful, if not exactly restful for those around them. Perhaps these activities are better undertaken during the day, rather than at bedtime.
Talk to your pharmacist about snoring if you or your family are affected by snoring yourself or from those around you. They will be able to give you advice about suitable treatments or preventions to try to limit the effects of snoring, or to refer you for more specific help if needed.