What Causes Snoring (and How to Prevent It)

Posted by Tyler Britton on May 20, 2021 1:19:00 PM

What Causes Snoring and How to Prevent It - Anchorage Sleep Center

The Socially Unacceptable Snoring Threshold

What’s the difference between “normal snoring” and SUS (socially unacceptable snoring)? Nearly everyone snores from time to time. Many of us snore with regularity, also called chronic snoring. Snoring and chronic snoring are generally not harmful.

But, they can be a sign of a deeper problem. This is when they are termed "problematic snoring". Problematic snoring can include the following characteristics:

  • Your snoring keeps your bed partner or roommate up
  • Your bed partner has to wear ear plugs to sleep
  • Your snoring is the basis for many family jokes
  • You snore most (or all) nights

Socially unacceptable snoring really comes down to this: it’s very disruptive for anyone near you to sleep. Beyond being disruptive, it can be a sign that there are underlying and concerning medical conditions causing the snoring – mainly, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), of which SUS is a primary symptom.

If your snoring is a problem, it’s definitely worth trying to identify if there are underlying problems.

What Causes Snoring

How sleep apnia works - Anchorage Sleep CenterThere are many things that can cause snoring. If you are able, discovering why you snore is the best way to stop snoring or at least alleviate it. Some common causes of snoring are:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)
  • Deviated septum
  • Allergies (congestion)
  • Improper head elevation
  • Alcohol or other sedative drugs/medications
  • Smoking
  • Obesity
  • Tumors/cysts
  • Genetics (snoring is hereditary)

We point out OSA in particular because, for one, there is often such overlap between snoring and OSA, and two, OSA is a serious medical condition that can have significant long-term effects on your health, such as:

  • Lower life expectancy
  • Lower quality of life in nearly all areas (cognitive ability, mood, stress levels, etc.)
  • Lower performance in nearly all areas of life
  • Increased risk of many heart-related diseases

How to Prevent Snoring (or Lessen It)

Really the best way to stop snoring is to try and figure out what is causing it. On your own, you might try a process of elimination to see if there are simple things you can do to eliminate snoring, such as:

  • Losing weight
  • Cutting back on smoking
  • Cutting back on drinking – no more night cap!
  • Sleep in a different position, such as not on your back
  • Buy an anti-snoring pillow

If you try things like this and still can’t seem to quell your snoring, it might be time to consult with a sleep specialist or your doctor where you may discuss things like:

  • Getting a sleep study
  • Sleep deprivation symptoms
  • Medications you are taking
  • Family history
  • Allergy sensitivities
  • Structural peculiarities in your nose

This is the more “formal” discussion in the sense that you may require other intervention for your snoring, such as changing medication or treating sleep apnea (if you were diagnosed with it).

Snoring Facts

Here are some further facts about snoring, some of which we have already covered:

  • There are no inherent problems with snoring (outside of being disruptive)
  • A common sign of deeper underlying and serious medical condition: OSA
  • Chronic snorers are much more at risk for developing hypertension, stroke (67% more likely), and heart attack (34% more likely) vs non-snorers
  • Snoring is hereditary (thanks mom/dad)
  • Alcohol or other sedatives can exacerbate snoring
  • 3 out of every 10 women snore
  • 4 out of every 10 men snore
  • The decibel range of snoring is similar to a pneumatic drill (50dB - 100dB)
  • People become more susceptible to snoring as they age
  • Elevating your head while sleeping can significantly help snoring


If you live in Alaska and can’t seem to stop your snoring, and are concerned that it might be caused by an underlying sleep disorder, contact our sleep specialists for a free consultation.

Get a Sleep Medicine Consultation Now

Topics: Snoring

Subscribe to Email Updates

Recent Posts

Posts by Topic

see all