Why do people snore while sleeping?

Snoring  happens  to all of us: tossing and turning sleeplessly while the person in the next room snorts and snarfs his way through the night. Why is it that a perfectly normal, healthy person makes such an awful noise?


While breathing during sleep, structures like the palate, uvula (fleshy conical lobe at the back of the mouth) and tonsils may flap against each other as there may be excess tissue in this region. The vibration of relaxed floppy tissues that line the upper airway causes the sound that you hear when someone is snoring. This is because when you sleep, all the muscles in the body are relaxed and muscle tone decreases.

The upper airway is lined with muscles that keep the airway open. When these muscles relax during sleep, the diameter of the airway decreases and, in some people, this partially blocks the airflow, leading to turbulence.

Instead of air flowing smoothly down the airway into the lungs, it flows with gusts and bursts. Travelling through such an airway, the air picks up speed and gets whipped around in different directions. As the air bounces around, it hits the relaxed, floppy tissues lining the throat and causes them to vibrate, like a flag in the wind. This produces the snoring sound.

People don’t make a snoring sound when they are awake because the muscles in the throat hold the airway open wide enough for a smooth flow of air into the lungs.

Also, we snore more as we get older because our muscles become increasingly flaccid with age. Gaining weight also adds to the chances of snoring as fat deposits accumulate in the tissues of the airwaymaking them heavier so they fall more into the line of airflow.

Source:The Telegraph (Kolkata,India)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *