During sleep, the muscles in your throat relax, causing your throat to become narrow and limp. Meanwhile, the tongue falls backward and the walls of the throat vibrate as you breathe in, and somewhat as you breathe out. These vibrations trigger snoring sounds. The more narrow the throat becomes, the louder the snoring is.
Other factors that may contribute to snoring include:
Snoring can be bothersome, to you and anyone sleeping nearby. If the walls of your throat don’t merely narrow but collapse during sleep, it may indicate the serious condition sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes repeated, brief interruptions in breathing while asleep. Obstructive sleep apnea happens when muscles in the back of the throat fail to stay open, even when you try to breathe. Central sleep apnea, less common, happens when the brain fails to send the right signals to throat muscles that control breathing.
A variety of factors increases the risk for obstructive sleep apnea, including:
Numerous treatments help manage sleep apnea. After an exam that includes review of the symptoms, such as the frequency and intensity of daytime sleepiness and gasping or choking during the night. Dr. Hennessee may recommend a study that monitors your breathing, eye movement, and other factors, while you sleep. The most common effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea is the use of a positive airway pressure device. The mask worn during sleep blows air into your airway, keeping it open.
Other treatments include: