Skip navigation

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock ( ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

URL of this page: //


What's this?Play health video with audio description: //


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 1/9/2023

Updated by: Allen J. Blaivas, DO, Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, VA New Jersey Health Care System, Clinical Assistant Professor, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, East Orange, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

Related MedlinePlus Health Topics