Snoring is the vibration of expiratory air through the narrowed relaxed airways during sleep. Snoring is determined by the upper airway anatomy. As you fall asleep, you progress from light sleep to deep sleep causing the muscles, soft tissue, and tongue to relax. As you expire air, the vibration of the air passing through the airway creates a hoarse sound. The greater the closure, the louder the snoring. Substances such as alcohol, smoking, and some medications can exacerbate the problem increasing the loudness and the frequency. Sleeping positions such as sleeping on your back can also dictate snoring.

A good analogy to explain this is if you take a large diameter pipe and blow through it, there is minimal noise. The narrower the diameter of the pipe becomes, the louder the sound. If you have narrowed upper airway passages then you will more than likely develop snoring.

There are 3 types of snoring

  • Nasal snoring
  • Mouth snoring
  • Throat snoring


Factors that contribute to snoring are:

  • Anatomy of your mouth and/or sinus
  • Narrow nasal passages
  • Polyps (growth) in the nose
  • Allergies, or head cold
  • Age
  • Increasing weight
  • Hormones


  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Sleep deprivation for both the sufferer and the partner
  • Increase in blood pressure and cardiovascular compromise
  • Increased risk of a motor vehicle or workplace accident
  • Menopause in woman
  • Undiagnosed sleep disorder such as obstructive sleep apnea
  • Micrognathia or mandibular hypoplasia. The lower jaw is shorter than the top jaw


  • Sleep study to determine if you have a form of sleep apnea (link here)
  • Ear, nose and throat physician to eliminate anatomy compromise
  • Imaging such as Cat scan or skull XRAY
  • Nasal endoscopy – Small exploratory probe inserted into the nose


  • Nasal allergy wash and allergy medication
  • Weight loss
  • Avoid alcohol late at night
  • Quit smoking
  • Positional therapy (Avoid sleeping on the back)
  • Bedhead elevation. 4-6 inches or 10-12cm
  • Snore products
  • Mandibular oral splint. Like a mouth splint, it pulls the lower jaw forward during sleep to open up the airway at the back of the throat
  • CPAP Therapy (link here)
  • Upper airway surgery for polyps or soft palette surgery

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