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Snoring is loud, noisy breathing during sleep which is caused by the vibration of tissue in the nose or throat. Snoring may be very embarrassing to an individual and frustrating to a person’s bed mate as well. It has been estimated that anywhere from 30 - 50% of the United States population snore at some time or another. Significant snoring is sometimes described as "heroic" snoring, in which the snoring loudness may be heard more than two bedrooms away. Such snoring may cause several problems, including:

  • Marital discord and relationship problems
  • Sleep disturbances (from spousal prodding)
  • Waking episodes (from one's own snoring)

Snoring is not sleep apnea, and sleep apnea is not snoring. Snoring is a social problem - however, many patients with loud snoring do have significant obstructive sleep apnea.

Snoring may be caused by:

Soft Palate

The soft palate is located in the back of the mouth, and over time, the tissue and muscles of the soft plate may lose stiffness and begin to sag. As an individual breathes in, this sagging tissue vibrates, causing snoring.


The uvula extends from the soft palate and looks like a hanging U. An elongated or thick uvula also may vibrate with breathing at night contributing to snoring.

Nasal Turbinates

These are small bones within the nose, that when enlarged, may vibrate and lead to snoring. Enlarged nasal turbinates

Large Tongue

A large tongue may vibrate, causing snoring


Adenoid tissue, or tonsillar tissue in the back of the nose, may cause nasal obstruction and lead to snorging