What is snoring?

Snoring occurs when the tissues in your throat relax. When you breathe, the relaxed tissues vibrate making a loud noise.

How are snoring and sleep apnea related?

Not all people who snore have sleep apnea, but most people with sleep apnea snore. Snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea, however sleep apnea snoring is different from regular snoring.

Regular snoring partially blocks your airway but does not cause any significant breathing problems. Sleep apnea snoring is the result of a partial or full obstruction of the airway. These obstructions severely restrict or stop your breathing, starving your body of oxygen. Theys are called apneas and hypopneas.

Sleep apnea snoring is related to other serious health conditions, including type two diabetes, hypertension and obesity.

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sleep apnoea normal sleep
Normal sleep

Your throat is held open and you hardly make any sound when breathing

sleep apnoea and snoring

Your throat muscles partially relax resulting in a snore. Your body is still receiving enough oxygen

sleep aponea diagram restricted breathing
Sleep Apnea

Your throat muscles partially relax or close, stopping or restricting your breathing. This may cause you to snore, choke or gasp for air


How do I know if my snoring is sleep apnea?

The only way to know if your snoring is a symptom of sleep apnea is to have a sleep test

Common risk factors include:

• Obese or overweight

• 45 years or older

• Other cardiovascular disease (e.g. stroke or hypertension)

• Type 2 diabetes

• Daytime exhaustion

Can I treat snoring by addressing my sleep apnea?

It is important to determine if your snoring is related to sleep apnea. Some treatment may help your snoring, but not your sleep apnea which can cause other health concerns
  • If your snoring is associated with sleep apnea, treatment with positive airway pressure (PAP) using a CPAP or APAP sleep apnea machine or an sleep apnea dental appliance (oral device) will significantly reduce, or in some cases eliminate snoring. Getting treated will improve your health and energy levels.
  • Oral devices are also used to treat non-sleep apnea snoring.
  • There are other devices available to help with snoring. If you snore when you are on your back but not when you are on your side you can use a positional device. This sleep positioning device can be helpful in managing positional sleep apnea.
  • Other treatments include expiratory positive airway pressure (EPAP). EPAP are disposable band aid like strips worn over your nostrils.
  • In some severe cases surgery conducted by an ear, nose and throat specialist may be appropriate.
  • Lifestyle improvements such as weight loss and elimination of alcohol before bed may also reduce snoring.

Find out more about

Sleep apnea treatment benefits
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Taking a sleep apnea risk test
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Book a sleep test online
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Different causes of snoring require different treatment. Always consider any treatment under the guidance of a sleep physician or doctor.

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