The sound of snoring can range from barely audible to deafening. The noise is caused by turbulent airflow in the upper airway which produces vibrations in the soft tissues in the airway.

Simple snoring

Until recently ‘simple snoring’ (which means that no sleep apnoea is present) was believed to be a nuisance only, rather than a health risk. However snoring tends to get worse the longer it goes on. The soft tissues of the upper airway get damaged by the repeated trauma of nightly snoring. The tissues become swollen and sore, which in turn makes the airway more restricted, and a vicious cycle is established. The more restricted airway leads to more turbulent airflow and worse snoring.

Over time simple snoring can develop into mild sleep apnoea, which has more serious health consequences.

In the mean time, regular snoring makes it hard work for the snorer to breathe while asleep, so their sleep is less refreshing.

Treatment options