Snoring is the harsh rattling noise made by some people when they sleep. Mild or occasional snoring is generally harmless, but could be a sign of another condition.

Causes of snoring

Snoring happens when your airway is partially blocked and makes your tongue, mouth or throat to vibrate against each other. Snoring may be caused by:

  • large tonsils, adenoids or tongue
  • a deviated septum
  • cysts
  • alcohol and sedatives
  • obesity
  • obstructive sleep apnoea.

Symptoms of snoring

People who snore may:

  • have a restless sleep
  • feel tired during the day (fatigue)
  • wake up with a dry or sore throat
  • have headaches
  • feel moody
  • have trouble focusing.

Snoring can also have an impact your relationships and the health of your whānau.

Concerns with snoring

If you have other symptoms with snoring it could mean there is another health condition causing it. Symptoms to look out for include:

  • waking up gasping for air
  • stopping breathing or making choking noises in the night
  • not feeling rested after sleep or being tired during the day
  • nasal drainage and congestion issues
  • nosebleeds.

Diagnosing snoring

You do not need a healthcare provider to diagnose snoring. Your whānau and friends will usually let you know.

See your healthcare provider if you have any concerning symptoms. They will ask you questions about your symptoms and may examine your nose and throat.

You may be referred for a sleep study to check for sleep apnoea.

Treating snoring

Depending on the cause of snoring, treatments can include:

  • developing good sleep hygiene
  • weight loss
  • quitting smoking
  • devices to help move your tongue forward, hold your nose open or hold your mouth shut when you sleep
  • using a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device to keep your airway open with positive pressure.

In rare cases surgery may be needed if other treatments do not work.

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