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Snoring is the loud sound emitted by a person unintentionally while breathing during sleep. This sound can be soft in some cases, but in majority of the cases, it is unpleasant and noisy. It is caused by obstructed air movement.
During sleep, the area at the back of the throat narrows as the muscles relaxes, and sometimes can even close off temporarily. The same amount of air passing through this smaller opening more rapidly can cause the tissues surrounding the opening to vibrate, which in turn can cause the sounds of snoring.
Several factors contribute to snoring. Normal aging process leads to the relaxation of the throat muscles, thereby resulting in snoring. Anatomical abnormalities of the nose and throat, such as enlarged tonsils or adenoids, nasal polyps, or deviated nasal septum cause exaggerated narrowing of the throat during sleep and thus lead to snoring. Functional abnormalities (e.g. inflammation of the nose and/or throat as may occur during respiratory infection or during allergy season) also result in snoring. Sleep positions, such as sleeping on your back, may lead to snoring in some people. Alcohol is a potent muscle relaxant and its ingestion in the evening can cause snoring.
Snoring can at times also be an indicator of underlying issues such as obstructive sleep apnea.
Snoring, in severe cases, the person can wake up in the middle of the night regularly causing daytime sleepiness.
Depending on the frequency , intensity of the snoring and the extent of disease- treatment can be sought. Treatment includes lifestyle modification (i.e. avoidance of risk factors mentioned above, sleep position training if applicable); appliances such as nasal dilators and CPAP (a continuous positive airway pressure appliance which blows room air into the back of the throat thus preventing it from collapse) and surgery of the back of the throat, if needed.