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Person sleeping on their stomach with their face on a pillow and an arm beneath the pillow.
Person sleeping on their stomach with their face on a pillow and an arm beneath the pillow.

How to Stop Snoring

Snoring Can Have Negative Health Effects or Indicate a Serious Condition

It may have happened to you. You're in the middle of a dream and you're startled awake by a noise like sawing logs. Your partner, or someone in the household, is snoring. What causes it, and what can be done?

Snoring occurs when the nose, mouth or throat is narrow or constricted. As the snorer moves air through these narrow passages, the soft tissues of the upper airway vibrate, causing that unpleasant sound.

What causes this narrowing? Some people are born with narrow airways, a larger tongue or enlarged soft palette. For others, allergies or a cold are to blame. Fat can also collect in the neck and even the tongue, and compress the airway.

Snoring isn't just annoying. It can cause health problems for sleep partners and snorers alike. Lack of deep sleep can impact concentration, short-term memory and mood. Studies have linked snoring to an increased risk of stroke and diabetes. Snoring can indicate a serious condition, such as sleep apnea, a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke.

To manage snoring, speak with your physician. Remedies might include elevating the head of the bed, side sleeping or over-the-counter anti-snoring devices such as nasal strips, nasal dilators or mouth guards. You should consult with your dentist before trying an oral appliance like a mouth guard. Maintaining a healthy weight may help, depending on the cause. If these remedies have been unsuccessful, you may need a sleep evaluation.