Why do people snore?

Why do some people snore and others don’t? Those who have enlarged tonsils, an enlarged tongue or excess weight around the neck are more prone to snoring. And structural reasons like the shape of one’s nose or jaw can also cause snoring. The snoring sound itself is a result of the narrowing of a person’s airway, which causes a throat vibration and the snoring sound. No matter the reason, 40% of normal adults snore regularly, whether they realize it or not. 

Snoring and sleep apnea

Snoring and sleep apnea are linked at an alarming rate – 1 in 3 men and approximately 1 in 5 women who are habitual snorers suffer from some degree of obstructive sleep apnea.2 Sleep apnea prevents you from getting the healthy sleep you need to lead a refreshed, energetic life. It has also been linked to a number of other health conditions like type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart failure and hypertension. So regardless of what is specifically causing snoring for you, if you snore — or if you suspect you snore — consider it a sign that something might not be right. Take our sleep apnea quiz


Ohayon MM et al. Snoring and breathing pauses during sleep: telephone interview survey of a United Kingdom population sample. BMJ. 1997;314:860–3
02 Young T et al. The occurrence of sleep-disordered breathing among middle-aged adults. N Engl J Med 1993; 328(17):1230–5

Screening and diagnosis for sleep-disordered breathing

If you suspect that you or someone you know may have sleep-disordered breathing, this three-step screening process for SDB can get you on the path to getting diagnosed.

Assess - Can you recognize some of the common symptoms of SDB? Screen - Complete a simple five-question sleep apnea symptom test as a quick screener.
Refer - Ask your doctor about a sleep study to determine whether or not you have SDB, and if it is, to determine how severe it is and the various treatment options.

A sleep study — also called a polysomnography (PSG) study — can be done in the patient’s home or at a sleep clinic. During a sleep study, the patient’s breathing, body movements and responses during the night are monitored to see if he or she has a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea. Here is some information for patients about what happens during a sleep study.

In a clinic

In a clinic, hospital or sleep lab, clinical staff will place sensors on your patient’s body to monitor their sleep.
Sensors are placed:

on the chest to monitor heart activity
close to the eyelids to measure eye movements that help indicate if the patient is in REM or non-REM sleep
on the head to measure electrical signals from the brain
on the legs to assess muscle activity

Patients will also be fitted with:

a nasal cannula to monitor breathing
an oximeter on their finger to record oxygen levels
bands around their chest and stomach to measure breathing effort

With the patient’s permission, staff may also request to film the sleep study to gain more insights into the patient’s sleeping behavior. During this type of study, the patient will be required to stay overnight at the facility, so they should take everything needed for their usual sleeping routine, including pajamas and toiletries.

At home

There are two types of setups for a home sleep study:

A home setup is similar to that in a clinic, hospital or sleep lab — with the added comfort and convenience of being in the patient’s own home. Prior to the sleep study night, a sleep clinician will have shown your patients how to apply the sensors and monitors, and how to use the recording device during the night.
The night of the sleep test, the patient simply follow a normal evening routine and get ready for sleep, attach everything as shown, and start the recording. In the morning, the patient removes everything as shown and returns the recording device to the clinic, hospital or sleep lab.
We use a simpler setup using ResMed’s ApneaLink™ Air, a compact, lightweight and easy-to-use home sleep testing device. The ApneaLinkTM Air is capable of recording up to five channels of information, including respiratory effort, pulse, oxygen saturation, nasal flow and snoring.