Snoring is a common condition that can disrupt your sleep. It happens when air can’t flow easily through your nose or mouth. Mild or occasional snoring usually isn’t a cause for concern. But chronic snoring can increase your risk of certain health conditions like stroke and heart attack.
Snoring refers to a rattling, snorting or grumbling sound some people make during sleep. It happens when there’s an obstruction in your airway.
Snoring is common (and normal) for many people. In fact, nearly everyone snores at some point, including babies and young children.
But loud, jarring snoring may indicate sleep apnea — a condition that causes you to pause breathing during sleep. If snoring occurs in combination with apneic episodes (gasping for air in your sleep) and other symptoms like fatigue or irritability, then you should talk to a healthcare provider.
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Snoring sounds vary from person to person. Snores might sound like:
People who snore may also:
The vibrations make a rumbling, rattling noise (what we know as snoring).
Several different factors can cause this airway blockage, including:
Snoring isn’t necessarily bad. Most of us snore at some point during our lives. But it’s time to see a healthcare provider if you snore loudly, or if snoring disrupts your sleep quality.
A healthcare provider will perform a physical examination of your nose, mouth and throat. They’ll also ask you (and maybe even your partner or partners) several questions, including:
If your provider thinks you might have a sleep disorder (like sleep apnea), they may recommend a sleep study (polysomnography). You might be able to do a sleep study at home, or you may need to spend the night in a sleep center.
A sleep study evaluates:
Healthcare providers use a wide range of treatments to reduce snoring. The option that’s right for you depends on several factors, including the severity of your snoring, your health history and your personal preferences.
Nonsurgical snoring remedies focus on improving your sleep posture or opening your airways. These treatments may include:
Healthcare providers may use surgery to treat severe snoring. The goal of surgery is to shrink or remove excess tissue or correct a structural issue (like a deviated septum). Surgical treatments may include:
Certain lifestyle changes may help you stop or reduce snoring. Here are some things to try:
Talk to your provider for more tips on how to stop snoring. They can offer personalized recommendations based on your needs.
Occasional snoring is usually harmless. But loud, disruptive or frequent snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnea, a serious disorder. Long-term snoring increases your risk of health issues, including:
See a healthcare provider if snoring disrupts your sleep or leads to issues like fatigue, headaches or gasping for air. They can run tests to see if you have sleep apnea or another type of sleep-disordered breathing.
If you plan to see a healthcare provider about your snoring, here are some questions you might want to ask:
If you live with a partner or roommate (or several), they may have already told you that you snore. If you live by yourself, it can be more difficult to know for sure. To find out, you can get a noise-activated voice recorder and turn it on before you go to sleep.
Snoring doesn’t necessarily mean you have sleep apnea. Snoring is a common sleep apnea symptom, but there are many other reasons why people snore.
Snoring in babies is common and rarely indicates a serious condition. Most of the time, a stuffy nose causes it. But if you’re worried or concerned, you should schedule a visit with your baby’s pediatrician. They can find out why your baby is snoring and whether they need treatment.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Snoring is a common condition and it’s usually harmless. But if you have loud, chronic snoring that interferes with sleep, it could indicate a more serious issue. Additional symptoms like daytime fatigue, irritability, headaches or gasping for air in your sleep might point to sleep apnea. If you’re not sure if snoring hinders your health, it’s best to schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider. They can determine why you’re snoring and tell you whether you need treatment.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 05/11/2023.
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