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overweight causes excessive fatty tissue in the neck,” says Morcom, “putting additional pressure on the airway.”

The Dangers of Snoring

“Snoring in anyone is caused by

Although the distinctive sound of snoring results from obstructed airways, it is not necessarily dangerous. For most men and their partners, snoring is an annoyance. However, the minor frustration can lead to poor sleep quality, resulting in fatigue and headache and increased likelihood of accidents.

tissues in the airway (throat)

“While snoring may not always be that bad,” Morcom says,

relaxing and causing a partial

“the disruptions in sleep can cause further medical issues

blockage. Everyone’s airway

down the road such as high blood pressure, diabetes and

relaxes when they sleep, some more than others. When breathing occurs, this relaxed tissue vibrates, causing the snoring noise.” GEORGE MORCOM Manager of Centra Health Sleep Disorders Clinic

heart disease.” In some cases, snoring can indicate obstructive sleep apnea, in which airways collapse and block breathing. Sleep apnea is closely associated with the long-term health conditions Morcom describes. According to Morcom, “the severity of snoring can be assessed to some degree by either a parent or bed partner. The snorer is not always aware that they are snoring.” If a partner notices the snorer choking or having trouble breathing for ten seconds or more during sleep, the snorer should seek medical help. If the patient has sleep apnea, a doctor can recommend a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine, which applies air pressure through the nose and throat and reduces snoring.

Ways to Improve Snoring There are many ways to improve snoring, depending on its causes. For instance, sleeping on one’s side can alleviate snoring. In some cases, treating allergies and congestion can reduce snoring. For men who are overweight, weight loss can help. People who snore should also cut down on smoking and avoid alcohol and narcotics close to bedtime. If none of the above methods improve snoring, there are several medical options that might. For instance, an ENT doctor can evaluate patients for surgery that can curb it. Other men might benefit from an oral device fitted by a dentist.




“If snoring causes disruptions or awakenings from sleep for an extended period of time,” says Morcom, ‘it might be time to consult your physician.” A medical professional can recommend a full sleep evaluation to rule out sleep apnea and determine the cause of snoring. After all, a sleep evaluation seems a small price to pay for years of wedded bliss!

EXPERT CONTRIBUTOR George Morcom, Manager of Centra Health Sleep Disorders Clinic.


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