Why do people snore?

Gepubliceerd op 19 juli 2023 om 17:10

Snoring is a common phenomenon that many people experience, whether as the snorer themselves or as the partner of someone who snores. The characteristic sound of snoring is caused by vibrations in the tissues of the throat and nose, which occur when the airflow is obstructed during sleep. In this article, we explore why people snore and the various factors that can contribute to it.

Muscle relaxation:

During sleep, the muscles in our body, including those in the throat and tongue, relax. If these muscles relax too much, they can partially block the airways, making it difficult for air to flow freely. This narrowing of the airways leads to tissue vibrations, resulting in the well-known snoring sound.



Excess weight can be a significant contributing factor to snoring. In overweight individuals, fatty tissues can accumulate around the throat, narrowing the airways. This obstruction hinders airflow and increases the likelihood of snoring.



As we age, the structure of our airways changes, and the muscles in the throat may lose their tone. This can lead to an increased risk of snoring in older adults.


Airway anatomy:

The natural anatomy of the airways also plays a role in snoring. Some people naturally have narrower airways, making them more susceptible to snoring even without other predisposing factors.


Alcohol and medication:

The consumption of alcohol and certain medications can further relax the throat muscles, exacerbating snoring. It is advisable to moderate alcohol intake before bedtime and consult with a physician about the effect of medications on snoring behavior.



Smoking can contribute to snoring by irritating the airways and causing inflammation and swelling in the throat. These inflammations can obstruct the airflow and increase the risk of snoring.


Sleeping position:

Sleeping position can also play a role in snoring. People who sleep on their backs are at a higher risk of snoring because the tongue may fall backward and block the airways. Learning to sleep on one's side can reduce snoring symptoms in some cases.


Treatment of snoring

In some cases, a doctor may recommend medical interventions, such as a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machine for individuals with sleep apnea, which keeps the airways open with a constant airflow.