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The Causes of Snoring & Everything You Should Know About It

The loud breathing noise from the upper airways, caused because of disruption in the breathing rhythm while you’re fast asleep, is referred to as snoring.

If looked at closely, you’ll see that snoring in adults is often a result of several different causes. On a broader level, it is a result of inadequate airflow inside the throat’s air passages. This airflow can get obstructed owing to many different reasons. The good news is that almost all commonly known causes of snoring can be treated and this irritable habit can indeed be overcome!

The problem of snoring is more prevalent in men, and you can often witness their wives/partners complaining about it. Actually, many of them never come to know about it, until they hear about it from their partners. Regardless, there are many women snorers out there too.

Let’s go over some of the commonly known causes of the snoring problem in men and women.

Causes of snoring in men and women

Whenever you’re fast asleep, the muscles of your pharynx and nose go into a relaxed state. As a result, the soft tissues located at the rear end of your throat become prone to vibration during breathing. The palate, tonsils and uvula flap non-stop against each other because of the obstructed airflow through the narrow passage between the pharynx and nose. This results in creation of a loud sound that we all call snoring. Following are some well-known causes of snoring in men and women:


It’s not a good habit to eat your main meals right before you hit the sack. When you do so, the undigested food puts pressure on your diaphragm. Furthermore, in the absence of proper digestion, a lot of such food gets converted into fat deposits.

This fat in turn adds up to your body weight, and if it gets accumulated especially around your neck area, it tends to put a lot of pressure on your throat and the air passages inside it. The recommended treatment method in this scenario is to make sure that you don’t eat any of your main meals inside three hours of going to sleep.

Indulging in overeating and not giving enough exercise to your body also leads to the same problem.


Smoking habit among men and women is another major cause of snoring problem in them. Chronic smoking can lead to constant nasal congestion and irritation. Inhalation of smoke may even result in inflammation and catarrh.

All this results in narrowing down of the nasal passages, causing snoring and disturbed sleep patterns. It is also noted that the more a person smokes, the more he/she is likely to snore. Don’t think you’re let off because you’re not an active smoker. Smoking passively via your partner/s can also lead to the snoring problem.

Alcohol consumption

Consumption of alcohol contributes to the snoring problem in many different ways. Alcohol intake not only eases up the collapse of your throat flaps, but may also make you put additional body weight.

We are all aware that alcohol hardly takes any time to get absorbed into our bloodstream, leading to slowing down of our body’s reflexes. Such slowdown in our reflexes contributes to the easy collapse of throat flaps. Furthermore, alcohol, to a certain extent, is also a cause behind nasal irritation and congestion.

The harmful effects of alcohol during ones sleep may get reduced considerably if it is allowed to metabolize completely before you go to sleep. Hence, avoid consuming alcohol inside 3 to 4 hours before hitting the sack.


Certain types of allergies may also lead to the snoring problem. Allergies may result in nasal irritation and congestion, eventually causing the snoring problem. Some of the common problems associated with allergies are sneezing, itching, postnasal drip, rhinorrhea and nasal congestion.

Basically, it is nasal hypersensitivity that results in respiratory allergies. This leads to inflammation inside the nose and throat, thereby hampering the breathing process. Medical observations have revealed that such problems in the nasal airways owing to allergies may get worse at night, during sleep.

Sleeping posture

Sleeping in incorrect body positions may also lead to snoring. Hence, if you’re vulnerable to snoring problem, your doctor may advise you to avoid sleeping on your back. People who sleep on their backs often experience their soft palates and tongues falling back into the throats during deep sleep. When this happens, proper airflow may get hampered.

Hence, avoid sleeping on your back and immediately change your sleeping posture to sideways whenever you tend to go on your back during sleep. Perhaps, you can ask your partner to keep a check.

Inadequate breathing

When we talk about improper breathing caused due to poor sleeping posture, allergies, chest pressure, neck pressure and pressure on the throat, we are referring to breathing problems caused when breathing through mouth. You may have no option but to breathe through your mouth if there is a strong obstruction inside your nasal passage.

Please note, the soft tissues inside your throat get most affected whenever you’re forced to breathe via your mouth. As a result, you experience the snoring problem owing to the vibration of these tissues.

Obstructive sleep apnea

When you suffer from this medical condition, you’ll experience interrupted breathing due to narrowing down of your upper airways during your asleep.

Transient pauses while breathing may cause you to get up abruptly from your sleep, and may have an overall negative impact on your sleeping patterns. Obstructive sleep apnea is actually a sleeping disorder found most commonly in obese people and is characterized by gasping sounds, snorting and snoring.

Nasal problems

As you may have also inferred from the points detailed above, nasal obstruction is easily one of the most common causes of the snoring problem. You may face nasal congestion because of many different reasons like allergic rhinitis, nasal polyps, septum deviation etc.

Obstruction in the pharynx

Your pharynx can get obstructed because of several different reasons, leading to vibration in the soft tissues. It may occur due to accumulation of excessive fat underneath the pharyngeal mucosa, or because of hypertrophy, tonsillitis etc.

Other commonly known causes of snoring in adult men and women are high blood pressure, stress, ageing, hormone related problems etc. The best way to figure out the actual causing your cases getting examined by a qualified doctor.

Preventive measures you can take

People who are obese must ensure that they adopt a healthy lifestyle and keep a check on their eating habits to undergo weight loss. Doing so will not only help them in preventing and/or reducing their snoring problem to a great extent, but also help them in overcoming other important health problems like cardiac ailments, high blood pressure etc.

If you’re a regular smoker, you must try quitting the habit as soon as possible. Furthermore, refrain from any chocolate and/or alcohol consumption inside 4 hours of going to sleep. Patients of nasal congestion must clear out their nasal passages through nasal drops, steam inhalation etc. to overcome the snoring problem. Sleeping on your side may also be of great help as it prevents the fatty tissues from squeezing the nasal passages.

Last but not the least, you can also use some medical grade and good quality anti snoring device to prevent your jaw from moving back during sleep, and for clearing out your nasal passages. If you’re a chronic snorer, you must consult a qualified physician before using any treatment method.

Your snoring problem could actually be a manifestation of some serious underlying medical condition that you may have not noticed so far.

About the Author Helen Hudson

Hi, I'm Helen Hudson a health geek mom to two awesome boys. Wife of a snoring husband. Photographer, writer and Co-Editor at

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