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Whether you call it by its slang name, "sawing logs," or its medical name, "stertor," snoring is common. You snore when something blocks the flow of air through your mouth and nose. The sound is caused by tissues at the top of your airway that strike each other and vibrate. Many adults snore, especially men. Snoring may increase with age.

However, snoring can also be a sign of a serious sleep disorder called sleep apnea. This means you stop breathing for periods of more than 10 seconds at a time while you sleep. Sleep apnea is serious, but there are treatments that can help. Children can also have sleep apnea. If your child snores frequently, have your health care provider check for sleep apnea.

Here are some tips for reducing snoring:

  • Lose weight if you are overweight
  • Cut down or eliminate alcohol and other sedatives at bedtime
  • Avoid sleeping flat on your back

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a common disorder that can be serious. In sleep apnea, your breathing stops or gets very shallow. Each pause in breathing typically lasts 10 to 20 seconds or more. These pauses can occur 20 to 30 times or more an hour.

The most common type is obstructive sleep apnea. That means you are unable to get enough air through your mouth and nose into your lungs. When that happens, the amount of oxygen in your blood may drop. Normal breaths resume with a snort or choking sound. People with sleep apnea often snore loudly. However, not everyone who snores has sleep apnea.

When your sleep is interrupted throughout the night, you can be drowsy during the day. People with sleep apnea are at higher risk for car crashes, work-related accidents and other medical problems. If you have it, it is important to get treatment.

>> Back to ENT Sleep & Snoring Conditions


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