Snoring is the hoarse or harsh sound that occurs when your breathing is partially obstructed in some way while you're sleeping. Sometimes snoring may indicate a serious health condition. In addition, snoring can be a nuisance to your partner.

As many as half of adults snore sometimes. Snoring occurs when air flows past relaxed tissues in your throat, causing the tissues to vibrate as you breathe, which creates those irritating sounds.

Lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, avoiding alcohol close to bedtime or sleeping on your side, can help stop snoring.

In addition, medical devices and surgery are available that may reduce disruptive snoring. However, these aren't suitable or necessary for everyone who snores.

Symptoms Causes Risk factors Complications

Depending on the cause of your snoring, your symptoms may include:

  • Noise during sleep
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sore throat
  • Restless sleep
  • Gasping or choking at night
  • High blood pressure
  • Chest pain at night

When to see a doctor
See your doctor if:

  • Your snoring is so loud it's disrupting your partner's sleep
  • You wake up choking or gasping

These may indicate your snoring is caused by a more serious condition, such as obstructive sleep apnea.

If your child snores, ask your pediatrician about it. Children can have obstructive sleep apnea too. Nose and throat problems — such as enlarged tonsils — and obesity often can narrow a child's airway, which can lead to your child developing sleep apnea. Treating these conditions may help your child in many ways.

© 1998-2015 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. Terms of use