Snoring is more dangerous than you think


Snoring occurs when something restricts your airflow during sleep. And while you may think it’s simply an annoying and embarrassing side effect of sleep, it can actually be more dangerous than you might imagine. This is because snoring is a key sign of obstructive sleep apnea, which is a serious sleep disorder where you stop breathing for 10 seconds or more at a time. On top of that, it increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other health problems. This makes certain cases of snoring life-threatening

What is snoring, really?Snoring is more dangerous than you think

Snoring happens when air can’t flow easily through the mouth or nose. When this happens, the air is forced through an obstructed area, which makes the soft tissues in the mouth, nose, and throat bump into each other and vibrate. The vibration creates the snoring sound.

How common is snoring?What is snoring, really?

Snoring is super common, and everyone does it at some point in their life. However, it’s more common in men over 50 who are overweight or obese.

Causes of snoringWhy snoring is more dangerous than you think

Several conditions and factors can block airflow, which causes snoring.

Blocked nasal airways

Some people snore only during allergy season or when they have a sinus infection. This blocks the nasal airways.

Poor muscle tone in your throat and tongue

When the throat and tongue muscles are too relaxed, it allows them to collapse into your airway.

Bulky throat tissue

Being overweight can cause this. Also, some children have large tonsils and adenoids that make them snore.

Alcohol and drug useAlcohol and drug use

Drinking alcohol or taking muscle relaxers can also cause your tongue and throat muscles to relax too much.

Sleep position

Sleeping on your back can make you snore. Using a pillow that’s too soft or too large can also provoke snoring.

Sleep deprivationSleep deprivation

Another surprising contributor to snoring is sleep deprivation, as your throat muscles might relax too much if you’re not getting enough sleep.

Complications with snoring

Occasional snoring due to a cold or flu is usually harmless. But very loud or frequent snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea.


One sleep study found that the intensity of snoring was related to the risk of carotid atherosclerosis, which is the narrowing of the arteries in the neck due to fatty deposits. This could eventually result in a stroke.

Heart diseaseHeart disease

Sleep apnea is linked to cardiovascular problems, such as high blood pressure and coronary artery disease, which eventually leads to possible heart attacks.

Arrhythmias Arrhythmias

People with long-term snoring or sleep apnea risk developing an irregular heart rhythm, or arrhythmia.

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

People who have sleep apnea may also have GERD because of the way in which their throat closes while air moves in and out during sleep. This causes pressure changes that can suck the contents of their stomach back up into the esophagus. Both GERD and sleep apnea are related to being overweight.

Injury from daytime sleepinessInjury from daytime sleepiness

Sleep deprivation caused by snoring or sleep apnea can have serious consequences. For example, if snoring or sleep apnea is leaving you exhausted, you run the risk of falling asleep while driving.

Mental health issues

Sleep apnea can affect your mental well-being, which can lead to issues like crankiness from a lack of sleep, and even serious depression.

Fetal complications

Snoring during the last trimester of pregnancy is usually due to weight gain, but it can also be a sign of fetal complications. Women who snore loudly during pregnancy should talk to their family doctor or ob-gyn.


Do you often wake up with a headache? Well, sleep apnea and snoring might be a reason. Research has shown that people who were habitual snorers suffered from morning headaches and sleep disorders, including insomnia

Gasping, choking, and interrupted breathingGasping, choking, and interrupted breathing

A serious symptom of sleep apnea, if you experience frequent interruptions in breathing that lasts more than 10 seconds, seek medical help.

Less sexual satisfactionHow common is snoring?

Studies have found that the more and the louder older men snored, the more likely they were to report lower levels of sexual satisfaction. While it didn’t show physiological signs of reduced sexual response, people are still turned off by their own snoring.

Excess weightExcess weight

Due to extra weight that collects around the neck, many overweight people suffer from sleep apnea, which makes it harder to breath at night. The good news is that losing weight improves symptoms related to sleep disorders.


Getting up to use the bathroom two or more times a night is a condition called nocturia. It’s also linked with snoring in both men and women.

Problems with your significant other

Disturbed sleep due to a partner’s snoring is one of the most common side effects. People with partners who snore can have some of the same snoring symptoms as their partners, due to sleep disturbances.

Surgical treatments

In some cases, snoring is treated with surgery to shrink or remove excess tissue or correct a structural problem. Many of these procedures are minimally invasive.

Nonsurgical treatments for snoringNonsurgical treatments for snoring

However, there are also nonsurgical treatments that can improve your posture or open your airways when you sleep.

Lifestyle changes

Lifestyle changes, such as avoiding alcohol before bed, changing your sleep position, and maintaining a healthy weight, can reduce snoring.


Cold and allergy medications can relieve nasal congestion and help you breathe freely.

Oral appliancesOral appliances

Wearing an oral appliance when you sleep keeps your jaw in the proper position, so air can flow.

Nasal stripsNasal strips

Nasal strips are flexible bands you stick to the outside of your nose. They keep the nasal passages open.


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