Snoring is a sound a person makes during sleep when his or her breathing is disrupted. Usually there is some type of blockage, such as swollen tissue, in one or more of the passages from the mouth or nose to the lungs.

The sound is made by tissues inside the airway vibrating and knocking against the back of the throat. It can be soft, loud, raspy, harsh, hoarse, or fluttering.

Snoring is treated through lifestyle changes such as:

  • Losing weight if necessary.
  • Quitting smoking.
  • Improving sleep habits, such as sleeping on the side rather than on the back.
  • Avoiding alcohol and sedatives before bed.
  • Using nasal strips, decongestants, and inhaled corticosteroid. These may be used if snoring is caused by congestion.
  • Using oral breathing devices, which improve airflow by pushing the tongue and jaw forward.

Last Updated: January 29, 2010

Author: Maria Essig

Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Jan Ulfberg, MD, PhD - Sleep Disorders

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