What causes snoring?

This question was asked in Irvine, California on .
I have always snored really badly but I'm not overweight though. Why am I snoring at night? Is it genetic? Are there any treatments for snoring that are cheap and easy?

Doctors Answers (4)

J. Douglas Hudson, MD, DABSM
Answered on: 6/18/2013

Snoring is genetic. 90% of patients who snore have a family history of snoring. This is usually secondary to the anatomy of the hypopharynx (the airway below the level of the tongue). Our jaw falls backward when we fall asleep and this allows the tongue and soft palate to move toward the wall of the pharynx which compromises, if not closes, the airway. While this space is being narrowed, the air passing to and from the lungs makes the snoring noise. Often, due to gravity, snoring is worse when you are sleeping on your back. Snoring may get worse if you are overweight but a large percentage of patients with snoring and sleep apnea are of normal weight but have the genetic narrowing of the airway.

Timothy J. Delcambre, DDS, MHA
Answered on: 5/29/2013

Snoring may be a sign of something more severe. I would strongly recommend you get a referral from your primary care physician for a sleep study before you proceed any further. An anti-snore appliance may not be the best answer for you.

Jeannine Louise Gingras, MD
Answered on: 5/28/2013

Snoring is vibration of soft tissue with breathing and can result from a long uvula, low set soft palate, nasal obstruction. It is the red flag for sleep apnea which you can have even if you are in good shape, not over-weight etc. There are treatments for snoring. I would suggest a sleep apnea screening and an evaluation by a sleep doctor.

Vector Sleep Diagnostics Center
Answered on: 5/28/2013

Snoring could be an isolated symptom (just snoring) or a symptom of an underlying condition (such as obstructive sleep apnea). Although obesity is frequently associated with sleep apnea and snoring, some patients are of "normal weight." Snoring could be due to a problem in upper airways (nose, throat etc) and ENT consultation may be helpful to rule it out. If an ENT (ear nose and throat) specialist is unable to find the cause, speak with a sleep disorder specialist. Best of luck!