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Snoring

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Overview

Many people snore when they sleep. Often, they may not even know they are snoring. Let's turn on the lights and see where the snoring is coming from.

Snoring occurs when the airway is partially blocked by the uvula. The lungs need to inhale harder to make up for the reduction in how much air is getting into the body. The snoring comes from the vibration of the soft palate at the back of the mouth and the uvula, which extends down from it and covers the airway.

Several things can cause someone to snore. For instance, it could come from drinking too much alcohol, nasal congestion, obesity, or enlarged tonsils and adenoids.

Snoring, by itself, is not necessarily dangerous. But some people that snore have such severe blockage of air that it keeps them from getting a good night's sleep. This condition is called "sleep apnea". It's common, but also dangerous if it's left untreated.

Review Date 5/10/2019

Updated by: Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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