Snoring is very common and is not usually caused by anything serious. There are things that can help if it's a problem.
Causes of snoring
The causes of snoring are things such as your tongue, mouth, throat or airways in your nose vibrating as you breathe.
It happens because these parts of your body relax and narrow when you're asleep.
You're more likely to snore if you:
- are overweight
- drink too much alcohol
- sleep on your back
Sometimes the cause of snoring is a condition like sleep apnoea. This is when your airways become temporarily blocked as you sleep.
Read about obstructive sleep apnoea
Simple lifestyle changes can help prevent or reduce snoring.
try to lose weight if you're overweight
sleep on your side – try taping or stitching a tennis ball to the back of your sleepwear, or buy a special pillow or bed wedge to help keep you on your side
consider asking your partner to use earplugs if your snoring affects their sleep
do not smoke
do not drink too much alcohol
do not take sleeping pills – these can sometimes cause snoring
When to contact your GP
Non-urgent advice: Contact your GP if:
- lifestyle changes are not helping
- your snoring is having a big impact on your or your partner's life
- you feel sleepy during the day, or make gasping or choking noises while you sleep – you may have sleep apnoea, which can be serious if not treated
What happens at your appointment
Your GP will look inside your mouth and nose to check for any problems that might cause your snoring.
It can help to bring someone with you to your appointment who can describe what your snoring is like, such as a partner.
Your GP may refer you to a specialist for treatment or further tests if they're not sure what the cause is.
The treatment for snoring depends on the cause. Talk to your GP or specialist about the best treatment for you.
|Possible cause Tongue partially blocking the back of your throat
|Treatment mandibular advancement device - a device you wear in your mouth to bring your tongue forward
|Possible cause Mouth falling open when you're asleep
|Treatment vestibular shield - a chin strap to hold your mouth closed, or a device you wear in your mouth to make you breathe through your nose while you sleep
|Possible cause Blocked or narrow airways in your nose
nasal dilators - special devices or strips that hold your nose open while you sleep
sprays to reduce swelling inside your nose
Surgery for snoring
Surgery is sometimes an option to treat snoring if other treatments do not help.
But it's not widely available and it does not always work. Snoring can come back after surgery.
Content supplied by the NHS and adapted for Ireland by the HSE