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Do I hear myself snore when I sleep?

Story time: How did you realise you snore while you sleep? Were you told by a friend or your partner? Or did you one time snore loudly enough that you woke yourself up?

Well, studies reveal that about half of us snore at some point in our lives. Certainly, you and I have snored once in our lives. Interesting! But what causes snoring, healthy or unhealthy, here's an article for you.

Interesting fact: The Guinness Book of World Records reveals that the loudest snore recorded measured approximately 111.6 decibels. This is equivalent to a jet flying right over your home. Whoa!

Let's delve deeper; this article contains

  1. What is snoring?
  2. 10 reasons why people snore
  3. Snoring in special groups 
  4. Treatment for snoring
  5. Special attention

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What is snoring?

Snoring is the sound produced when airflow, particularly turbulence, causes the tissues in the back of your throat to vibrate during sleep. The characteristic noise that comes as a result of the vibration is what is called ‘snoring’. 

10 reasons why people snore 

    1. Age 

As humans grow older, the tendency to snore increases. A survey conducted in 2022 in the United States showed that 19 percent of individuals aged 55 to 64 years reported that they snore and their partner snores. 

  1. Region of residence 

People who work or live in air polluted areas or humid regions tend to snore more than those who live in air clean or less humid environments. 

A survey performed in 2022 in the United States found that around 16 percent of the people living in Southern states reported they snore and their partner snores. This could be attributed to the humid subtropical climate conditions in most parts of these states.

  1. Body weight

Excess weight, especially around the neck area can lead to an increased risk of snoring. The additional fat tissue tends to put pressure on the airways causing them to narrow during sleep and consequently turbulent airflow. This leads to vibrations that cause snoring. 

The Snoring and Sleep report,2023 showed that 42% of obese people snore compared to 27% of those with a healthy BMI. The report also revealed that 58% of overweight people snore. 

  1. Sleep position

Sleeping position can significantly influence snoring. People who sleep on their back will tend to  snore more than people who sleep on their side. This is due to the tendency of the tongue and soft palate to collapse backward as you sleep, partially obstructing the airways, leading to the vibrations and that's what we call snoring.

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  1. Drugs 

Drugs like alcohol and antidepressants have a great influence on habitual snoring. Alcohol in it is a muscle relaxant; relaxes the body muscles including those in the throat. Relaxation of throat muscles increases the likelihood of airway obstruction and consequently will lead to snoring. Antidepressants like diazepam, clonazepam and the likes have the same effect on the airway system, relaxation.

  1. Throat infections

Any disorders such as infections in the throat or allergies can significantly increase the risk of snoring even in people who previously are not habitual snorers. Flu and allergies cause blockages or congestion in the nasal passages and force breathing through the mouth. This intensifies the air vibrations and can cause snoring. 

Throat infections such as tonsillitis which cause inflammation and swelling of the throat tissues can lead to partial obstruction of the airway. Such obstruction can result in turbulent airflow during breathing, as already explained, will lead to snoring.

  1. Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder characterised by short pauses in breathing during sleep. Such pauses can last for a few seconds to minutes. A survey conducted in 2023 showed that approximately 39 million U.S adults have obstructive sleep apnea.

Individuals with this condition tend to snore because during the breath pauses, the upper airway is partially or completely blocked, causing a narrowed airway passage. As air flows through the narrowing, turbulence is created and results into vibrations, making the characteristic sound of snoring.

  8. Pregnancy 

In most instances, pregnancy comes with weight gain. Fat deposition in areas of the neck particularly will affect how air flows through the passage, creating vibrations and therefore snoring.

  1. Sex 

Studies show that snoring is more common in men than in women. This is among other factors attributed to anatomical variations as men often have a narrower airway and more throat tissue. 

  1. Genetics

Studies reveal that genetics predisposes individuals to habitual snoring. This can be attributed to anatomical variations and at times lifestyle that follows a particular genetic line.

Snoring in special groups

Special groups refer to specific categories of individuals with unique characteristics or conditions that set them apart from the rest of the population. These can include pregnant women, elderly individuals and children among others.In this read, we will focus on these three categories. 

Pregnant women

Pregnancy is a risk factor for a multitude of conditions, snoring inclusive. Snoring during pregnancy is associated with a number of complications to both the foetus and the mother. Research indicates that  snoring increases the likelihood of adverse delivery outcomes like caesarean delivery and small-for-gestational age babies. 

Further research reveals that snoring pregnant mothers are more likely to develop gestational hypertension and pre eclampsia. It is therefore important to monitor pregnant mothers and address snoring amongst this special group. 


Snoring in children is uncommon. Children who snore should be given medical attention to rule out obstructive sleep apnea ( OSA). OSA among children is related to growth impairment, let alone disruptive sleep caused by snoring which has deleterious effects on the children's mental and cognitive capabilities.

Elderly individuals 

As studies show that the tendency to snore increases as we age, it is important to monitor our elderly relatives for snoring. Snoring among elderly individuals can be associated to sleep apnea and generally narrowed air passages. However, the condition has been shown to increase cardiovascular disease and support should be sought to reduce or stop snoring among elderly individuals.


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Treatment for snoring

While snoring can be caused by underlying medical conditions in some individuals, it can be genetic or a result of lifestyle and sleep behaviours. Addressing the cause of snoring is the first step in its treatment.

Before you choose to see an ENT specialist, it is important to consider lifestyle modifications. This article does not substitute medical attention, however, it only guides you on your journey to ending habitual snoring. Consider seeing a specialist if snoring persists.

Lose weight 

Because overweight is a risk factor to snoring, prioritise losing weight if you are a snorer and overweight. There are a number of ways in articles and journals to lose weight; exercise and diet should be looked at keenly. Exercise can range from evening walks to stationary running on treadmills. Choose a diet less in carbohydrates and fats and aim to reduce your intake of junk foods.

Change your sleeping position

Well as sleep takes away our consciousness, you can train yourself to be intentional about your sleeping position. Choose side sleeping and revert to it each time you wake up and you are sleeping on your back as back sleeping increases the tendency to snore.

Manage stress and anxiety 

Manage stress and anxiety as a rule of thumb. Stress and anxiety have an effect on our sleeping position. Stressed and anxious individuals tend to adapt to the foetal sleeping position for comfort and sense of security. Because sleeping position has a great effect on the tendency to snore, it is important that you manage stress to help adapt to the appropriate sleeping position.

There are quite a number of helpful ways to manage stress. Addressing the cause of stress is the number one way. Employing mind calming techniques like yoga, calming music and listening to rain sounds is another. Brain boosters and stress relief supplements can be a good go, too. It is however important to be keen while you choose these supplements, stay away from supplements with addictive substances. 

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Use dehumidifiers 

If you realise that you don't snore when you sleep away from your home, it could be because your house or sleep environment has a lot of humidity which impacts your breathing patterns while you sleep.

Consider monitoring humidity in your sleep environment and if higher than your outward environment, you may consider purchasing a dehumidifier for this reason.

Reduce alcohol intake 

Reduce intake of alcohol especially as bedtime hours draw closer. This effort will pay back with more peaceful nights. Try it comrade! And if your reasons for taking alcohol before bed are related to mind relaxation, try Magnesium glycinate in any of its forms. Whether as a single component or preferably compounded with natural non addictive components, it makes the best supplement for better mood.

Use customised pillows

On the market are various pillows to support your body in appropriate positions while you sleep. Consider adjustable pillows as these allow you to customise the height and firmness, accommodating different sleeping positions and preferences. If within your budget, you can choose anti snoring pillows, customised to help you manage snoring. Pillows elevate your head and help keep the airways open.

Special attention

Tried all these and none seems to work? Arrange for an appointment with the area's ENT specialist and work out a solution. You could be having an underlying medical condition or a small detail to uncover to end the snores! 

Take away 

While snoring can be discomforting to your partner and anyone else nearby, the solutions are workable. Better sleep is just a few steps away. 


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