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Snoring: All You Need To Know

Medically reviewed by Jezreel Esguerra, MD · General Practitioner

Written by Tracey Romero · Updated Dec 20, 2022

Snoring: All You Need To Know

Noisy breathing when a person sleeps is called snoring. Many people snore so it is considered normal, but snoring could also be a sign of a health problem. Here are some fast facts on the different types of snoring that you should know about. 

What Causes Different Types of Snoring?

Medically speaking, snoring is indicative of increased upper airway resistance and increased pharyngeal collapsibility. However, certain factors can predispose someone to snore more than others.

Being Overweight

Being overweight can cause snoring because of the distribution of fat. For instance, neck fat can create direct compression on a person’s upper airway, especially when they lie down. This can increase the chances of snoring.

But it can be vice versa. Interestingly, snoring can also cause a person to become overweight. When a person has poor sleeping habits, which can occur because of snoring, the stress and the changes in their routine could cause weight gain. Additionally, they tend to be more inclined to sugary foods and junk foods to stay alert.

Relaxed Throat Muscles and Tongue

If your throat muscles and tongue relax too much while you sleep, it could cause different types of snoring. Some scenarios where this happens include sleeping on your back, sleep deprivation, intake of drug and alcohol, and the throat and tongue having poor muscle tone, etc. 


Additionally, a sinus infection or allergies could cause snoring. It would most likely be the cause of a person’s snoring if they only experience wheezing during allergy season or when they get a sinus infection. 

Male vs. Female

Gender could also impact different causes and types of snoring. For instance, men have bigger pharynges compared to women.

Additionally, men have more changes in their airway sizes when they stand up and lie down. So, the difference in size could be why men are more likely to snore and suffer from sleep apnea.

But what causes snoring in females? Well, there could be a link between snoring and menopause. A study observes that women are more likely to snore when they are around 50 years old and are already at menopausal state. However, further studies are still needed to confirm this finding.

What Are the Types of Snoring?

Understanding what causes your snoring is an important step to learning how to stop it. However, it would also be ideal to know the different types of snoring.

Tongue-Based Snoring

When your tongue becomes too relaxed, especially when you lie on your back, your tongue can block airflow into your lungs. This normally happens when a person takes sleep medication, consumes alcohol, or has extra fat around their neck.

If you only snore whenever you sleep on your back and have a very big tongue, there is a chance you have tongue-based snoring. Additionally, your snores may have inconsistent high-pitched noises. 

Mouth-Based Snoring

Weak palatal tissue, enlarged tonsils, blocked nasal passages can make you breathe through your mouth while you sleep. Thus, it could lead to mouth-based snoring. 

If you only snore when you have an open mouth, then you may have mouth-based snoring. People who suffer from mouth-based snorting are more inclined to sleep on their side or back.

Nose-Based Snoring

Blocked nostrils from a physical obstruction, such as a deviated septum, could cause nose-based snoring. Other factors could cause nose-based snoring as well, such as smoking, certain medication, allergies, colds, etc.

You may have nose-based snoring if you have impaired nasal breathing while you are awake, have headaches, bad breath, and dry mouth, among other symptoms. Your snore may also sound like a grunt or a loud whistle.

Throat Snoring

Of the types of snoring, this one can be dangerous and loud. Typically, this happens when a person has sleep apnea. It can occur in any sleeping position. If untreated, it could contribute to the patient in developing stroke, high blood pressure, and diabetes

Daytime symptoms of throat snoring could include daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, etc. Nighttime symptoms can consist of difficulty breathing while sleeping, loud snoring, etc.

types of snoring

How Can I Stop Snoring?

Aside from knowing the different types of snoring, it’s important to know how and when to intervene. Here’s how to stop snoring:

Achieve healthier BMI. If you are overweight, achieving an ideal body weight might relieve your symptoms. There will be less pressure on your airways, which could help you sleep more soundly. Learn more about your BMI using our BMI calculator.

New nighttime habits. It would also be ideal to avoid alcohol, especially before going to sleep. It may also help to get enough sleep every night and try not to sleep on your back. Sleeping on your side might help lessen your snoring. 

Anti-snoring devices. A medical professional may recommend some things to you if your snoring is disrupting your life. For instance, they might suggest an oral apparatus to keep your air passage open while you sleep to help decrease snoring.

If you have obstructive sleep apnea, you may need continuous positive airway pressure. It is a mask that keeps your airway open while you sleep by directing pressured air into your throat. 

Surgery. In more severe cases, a doctor may have to perform upper airway surgery. For instance, uvulopalatopharyngoplasty is a procedure done to decrease tissue collapse and increase airway size.

Is Snoring A Warning Sign?

While snoring typically can be harmless, it’s important to take note of the different types of snoring. If your snoring is disruptive and loud, you may need to see a doctor. It could mean that you are suffering from sleep apnea, which can be dangerous when left untreated.

For instance, obstructive sleep apnea can lead you to develop high blood pressure and may make you gasp or choke awake while you sleep. One of the more critical factors is that it can stop your breathing and disturb your sleep.

Key Takeaways

Everyone snores, one time or another. It is important to learn what causes your snoring and how you can treat it, especially if it becomes disruptive. Snoring for many may seem like a minor inconvenience, but you should check if there are underlying causes, as more serious conditions can develop. Treatment can range from taking medication to losing weight, and to simply changing sleeping positions. Consult your doctor to ensure that you can sleep well and without any complications. That way, you can also improve your quality of life.

Learn more about Healthy Sleep here


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Jezreel Esguerra, MD

General Practitioner

Written by Tracey Romero · Updated Dec 20, 2022

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