Why Do People Snore? Uncovering the Common Causes of Snoring

Love it or hate it, snoring is a common occurrence among men and women. If you’ve ever wondered why some people snore and others don’t, this article will help shed light on those wheezing sounds we make in our sleep.

The underlying causes of snoring

From a physiological standpoint, snoring is the result of air passing though partially obstructed upper airways in the nose and throat, causing turbulence or a rumbling noise during sleep.

Although it’s perfectly normal for the muscles in the nose and throat to relax while you sleep, they sometimes slacken so that the airways become too narrow for air to come through the nose, or pass into the lungs.

The narrower the airways, the more forceful the airflow and the greater the likelihood that mouth breathing will cause snoring.  The tissue in the nose, throat, tonsils, and mouth vibrate producing the hard sounds associated with snoring.

But why do some people snore louder and more frequently than others?

According to the Mayo Clinic, these physical conditions are known to contribute to snoring:

  • Nasal obstruction – Chronic congestion caused by allergies and sinus infections, a deviated septum or simply narrow nasal passages may affect your ability to breathe freely through your nose and cause snoring.

A deviated septum occurs when the septum, or the thin piece of bone and cartilage that separates the nostrils, becomes crooked or dislocated, it can cause breathing problems during sleep. WebMD states that approximately 80% of all people suffer from a certain degree of misalignment of the septum. While some people are born with a deviated septum, others can get it through trauma and physical injury.

A common symptom of a deviated septum is nasal congestion that is worse in one side of the nose than the other, as well as breathing difficulties.

If you suffer from nasal obstruction, consider using a nasal dilator to improve breathing during sleep. Mute is a non-prescription, drug-free medical device that helps you breathe more, snore less, and sleep better at night. This nasal dilator also comes in a variety of sizes to help you find the perfect fit.

  • Mouth anatomy – A low and thick soft palate contributes to narrowed airways. Moreover, when the palatine uvula, or the triangular piece of tissue that forms part of the soft palate, is elongated, airflow gets obstructed, creating more tissue vibration, which results in snoring.

Enlarged tonsils and adenoids, or the clumps of tissue on the right and left sides of the back of the throat and the back of the nose respectively, can also cause breathing problems.

Those who snore as a result of enlarged tonsils and adenoids may benefit from getting a tonsillectomy and/or adenoidectomy in an outpatient setting.

  • Excessive fat in the neck area – Those carrying extra weight may have excessive weight pushing down on their throat which can narrow the airways.

If there is obstruction in either the nose or throat, for any of the reasons mentioned earlier, it’s common for people to open their mouth to breathe. Mouth breathing is strongly associated with snoring.

Risk factors for snoring

There are several factors that may contribute to snoring, such as:

  • Gender – It is believed that twice as many men snore as women. However, women who snore are quicker to sustain heart damage, according to a study in the United Kingdom by Dr. Adrian Curta, head of cardiac imaging and radiology resident at Munich University Hospital.
  • Weight – Being overweight makes you more likely to snore, since weight gain increases fat around the neck.
  • Age – According to WebMD, 30% of men and women over the age of 30 snore. Dr. Rafael Pelayo, a sleep specialist at Stanford Sleep Medicine Center, believes that snoring worsens as we age because of decreased muscle tone in the throat.

Lifestyle habits that cause snoring

Your lifestyle can also contribute to your snoring. Be wary of the following:

  • Taking alcohol or sedatives before bed – Alcohol, tranquilizers, and sleeping pills can cause increased muscle relaxation during sleep, making you more likely to snore. Natural alternatives like drinking herbal tea or taking a warm shower before going to bed can help induce drowsiness.
  • Sleep position – Sleeping on your back can cause snoring, since the tongue and soft palate collapses into the back of the throat, partially blocking the upper airways. To lessen snoring, try sleeping on your side. You can also minimize snoring by elevating the neck and head with supportive pillows or an inclining mattress.
  • Air moisture – Lack of moisture in the air can irritate the sinuses, causing nasal congestion. Bring a humidifier to the bedroom to help lubricate the airways while you sleep.

Pinpointing the cause of your snoring will make it easier to find a solution. Although surgery can help address the anatomical causes of snoring, you can also choose from a wide range of over-the-counter sleeping aids like nasal dilators and mouthpieces. Mute is an effective sleeping aid that opens up the airways while you sleep, helping you snore less. Visit our shop today to find comfortable solutions to snoring.

Making healthy changes to your lifestyle can also help reduce snoring.




The Effect of Snoring on Relationships

The effect of snoring in relationships has become something of a running joke – but it does have more than a grain of truth to it. According to Cure My Sleep Apnea, snoring is the third biggest cause for divorce in the United States, just behind infidelity and financial troubles.

And it’s not just the Americans – snoring is now recognized as legitimate grounds for divorce in the United Kingdom.

Closer to home, research has shown that 200,000 Australian couples no longer sleep in the same beds due to snoring, among other reasons.

Here’s how snoring is destroying your marriage.

  1. Deep resentments

 The Mayo Clinic Proceedings has found that spouses lose at least one hour of sleep per night due to secondhand snoring. A study by John Shepard M.D., medical director of the Mayo Clinic Sleep Disorders Center, conducted a study that looked into the sleep efficiency of married couples in which one partner was a frequent and heavy snorer. Sleep efficiency is calculated based on time spent asleep versus time spent in bed.

The study found that the partners’ sleep efficiency went from 74% to 87% when snoring was alleviated or reduced, showing just how much they suffered from poor sleep quality as a result of snoring.

Poor sleep quality results in tiredness, irritability, depression, burnout, and difficulty concentrating during the day.

It can also result in deep resentments. Non-snorers tend to resent their partner for preventing them from getting some shuteye, while snorers resent their partner for making an issue out of their snoring and forcing them to address it.

David Volpi, M.D. notes in the Huffington Post that he has encountered many such couples in his practice.

 If your spouse’s snoring is causing you to lose sleep, know that there are many options for non-surgical treatment. The use of nasal dilators, for example, can help your partner snore less at night.

Mute opens the nose and improves airflow to help you snore less, breathe more, and sleep better at night. Frequent snorers swear by this portable drug-free nasal dilator. Your partner will thank you for it.

  1. Separate bedrooms, separate lives

When snoring goes unaddressed, couples end up sleeping in separate bedrooms, a practice that the New York Times calls a “sleep divorce”.

A Better Sleep Council survey found that one in every four participating couples slept separately in order to get a good night’s sleep. Moreover, 46% of 2,000 respondents polled last year by OnePoll on behalf of Slumber Cloud expressed a desire to sleep apart from their spouses.

According to Houston-based intimacy and relationship psychotherapist Mary Jo Rapini, a spouse’s disruptive sleeping habits can increase the production of cortisol, the stress hormone, in the other spouse, affecting the relationship as a whole. This makes sleeping in separate bedrooms a sensible option that might just make co-habitation more bearable for you and your partner.

And while sleeping in separate bedrooms is a private choice many couples make, it’s always worth addressing the culprit – snoring – before moving your things to the spare bedroom. Getting to the root cause of your snoring, whether it’s persistent nasal congestion or excess weight around the neck, might do wonders for your marriage.

  1. The link between snoring and arguing

A study by Rush University Medical Center, which involved 10 married participants, evaluated sleepiness, quality of life, and marriage satisfaction among wives whose husbands snored heavily. The findings? Couples with snoring sleep issues argue more and tend to have more disagreements than their non-snoring counterparts.

The study also found that couples who were living with snoring had a higher divorce rate.

Rosalind Cartwright, PhD, founder of the Sleep Disorders Center at the Medical Center, says that the lack of sleep creates a tense and hostile situation for spouses, putting a strain on the marriage.

One participant in the study woke up eight times throughout the night as a result of her husband’s snoring, placing her sleep efficiency at just 73%, as opposed to normal sleep efficiency levels of 90%, despite her attempts to remedy the situation by wearing earplugs and earphones.

Another study from Paracelsus Private Medical University found that sleep issues and relationship troubles take place simultaneously, while a study by the University of California, Berkeley revealed that a sleepless night caused by disturbances from a partner can produce relationship conflicts the following day.

If you find yourself or your partner more irritable during the day, the key to understanding irritability might lie in your sleeping habits as a couple. Making healthy changes to your lifestyle, such as avoiding alcohol and heavy meals before bed, can help reduce snoring.

So the next time your partner comments on your snoring, don’t take it the wrong way. Take it as an attempt to address the elephant in the room. Snoring is very common and nothing to be ashamed of. What’s more is that there are many potential solutions in the market including over-the-counter, non-medicinal sleep aids.



Find the Sleep You’ve Been Missing on World Sleep Day 2018!

Attention sleepyheads!

The World Sleep Society is issuing a global call to action about the importance of healthy sleep on Friday, March 16, 2018, the 11th annual World Sleep Day. It’s time to stop thinking about sleep and actually do it. Commemorate World Sleep Day by learning how to get a good night’s rest. This may be the most rejuvenating thing you’ve done in a long time.

We need a good snooze every night

Sleep is a crucial component of survival, much like breathing, eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise. An uninterrupted night’s rest benefits our mental and physical health. Experts say it may lower blood pressure, and reduce the risk of  diabetes, obesity and other chronic diseases.

Yet far too many of us wake up tired, depending on our morning expresso and mid-afternoon sugar fixes to power us through our days. We’re stressed. We spend too much time doing, and not enough time relaxing.  It’s time to learn how to get really good at sleeping.

To enjoy good quality sleep, you need three things:

While a short afternoon nap may be necessary once in a while, aim to sleep long enough every night to feel rested and alert the next day.

Your goal should be uninterrupted slumber without tossing, feeling wide awake and staring at the ceiling, stealing the covers back from your blanket hog partner, or changing bedrooms in the middle of the night because your partner snores.

Deep sleep is when your brain waves slow, your body does its repairs, and your energy levels are restored.

Slumber strategies for World Sleep Day

Here are some ideas to help you enjoy a more restorative rest:

Aim for seven to eight hours, beginning the same time each night, and ending the same time in each morning.

Don’t use your bed as an office or kitchen table. Keep the computer, snacks and games out of your bedroom.

Sawing logs … running a buzz saw … raising the roof … whatever you call it, snoring can keep bed partners awake. And those who snore are not getting much quality rest either. Many people find that a MUTE helps to restore peace to the bedroom. Mute is easy-to-use, comfortable and adjustable. It increases airflow to enhance breathing and minimize snoring. MUTE is also good for non-snorers. It ensures that you are breathing well through your nose, rather than through your mouth, for a better night’s sleep.

Schedule workouts early in the day. Using the stair climber or treadmill at night can raise your heart rate and adrenaline level, making it harder to fall asleep.

If your partner steals the blankets during the night, consider getting separate comforters so you don’t have to share.

Experts advise steering clear from heavy, spicy or sugary foods for at least four hours before bedtime.

While a glass of wine might make you feel more relaxed at first, it can keep you up later in the night. Switch to something relaxing, such as camomile tea, after dinner.

Keep a journal on your nightstand. Recording your thoughts before your head hits the pillow will help keep them from racing through your mind all night.

If you can’t sleep after 20 minutes of lying in bed, get up and try a relaxing activity such as reading a book or listening to soft music. Bonus tip: Choose a boring book not a page-turner that you’ll want to finish in one sitting.

Help eradicate bleary eyes and daytime yawns! Improve your mood, family relationships and work habits with these easy tips to ensure a better rest.

Give snoring the kiss-off this Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day might be the most romantic holiday of the year, but there’s no greater buzzkill than a tired, irritable partner who starts nodding off halfway through your candlelit dinner. Worse yet is having to change bedrooms in the middle of the night because your partner is snoring (again!). This Valentine’s Day, re-invest in your relationship by improving your ability to get a good night’s sleep … as a couple … in the same bedroom.


In a National Sleep Foundation study, one third of respondents admitted their partner’s disruptive sleep habits have affected their relationship quality.  Two in five said that drowsiness affected their intimate relationships. And, when one or both snore, about 30 percent of couples say they sleep apart. Even outside the bedroom, scientific research has also shown that lack of sleep may make couples feel less appreciative of each other, and to experience greater feelings of selfishness.


1. Ban your phones and tablets from the bedroom. Bedtime should be about couple time and getting a good night’s rest, not scrolling through Snapchat and Facebook. Besides, tech devices emit a blue light that inhibits production of melatonin, your sleep hormone.

2. Try an over-the-counter nasal dilator to stop the snoring. Snoring is often due to mouth breathing as a result of a blocked nose. An easy-to-use device, such as Mute, comfortably opens up the nose and increases airflow which minimizes snoring for many people. (If Mute doesn’t quiet the problem, it’s time to consult a healthcare professional.)

3. Cave in. Maintain an optimal sleep environment by keeping your bedroom dark, cool and quiet: much like a cave. Turn down your thermostat to between 60 and 67 degrees, a temperature range that encourages deep REM sleep. If there’s unavoidable noise — such as the neighbor’s barking dog or street traffic — try using a white noise machine. The constant background sound will make sudden noises less disruptive. And if your mattress sinks in the middle, or you are constantly fluffing your pillows, it may be time to replace them.

This February 14, make sure you are both wide awake enough to enjoy every romantic minute, and that you’re also doing something to nurture your relationship long after the candy’s been eaten and the flowers have wilted. You may look back at Valentine’s Day 2018 with added sentimentality, as the night when better sleep got a whole lot easier.

The Way You Breathe Could Be Why You Feel Tired

It’s never too late to improve the way you breathe. As internationally recognised sleep dentist Dr Steven Lamberg highlights, breathing issues may be the root cause to many common ailments.  “Breathing issues in adults are associated with high blood pressure, heart problems, strokes and diabetes. Sadly, these are often the result of airway deviations that started developing when these patients were as young as two years old,” explains Dr Lamberg.

Lamberg explains how modern lifestyles are putting us and especially children at risk. He says about 500 physicians refer adult patients to his Long Island, New York clinic for airway treatment. “Much of what I’m treating now is completely preventable.” “Kids are eating so many soft foods that their muscles don’t have to work as hard as previous generations…exposure to pesticides and herbicides may cause airway inflammation…and Mouth breathers may be sick more often because they lose a lot of the immune benefits of nitric oxide, which is created in their nasal sinuses.”

In addition to mouth breathing, Lamberg outlines other signs of potential airway issues, such as: parted lips when at rest; a forward head posture; high narrow palate and/or scalloped tongue; poor facial symmetry, or nasal sounding speech.

Lamberg says that while the optimal time to evaluate airway issues is in children, you are never too old to do something about it. There are always things that can be done. “There are lots of options, ranging from Mute to dental appliances to surgery. I’ve treated people in their 80s to help expand their airways.

“If I see that a new patient has a small nasal pathway, I reach into my desk and give them a box of Mute nasal dilators.” Mute is anatomically shaped to sit comfortably inside the nose. It gently expands the nasal passages, increases the volume of air traveling through the nose making nasal breathing easier to achieve.

“When patients try Mute, I see their eyes change! They can’t believe how great it feels. I like Mute because it is inconspicuous and easy. People don’t mind wearing them. ” Mute is an easy way to test if an over-the-counter device might improve your breathing.

Mute is made from ultra-soft medical grade polymers to ensure comfort throughout the night. Be sure to watch our video on how to use Mute, and then use our store locator to buy Mute, or purchase on Amazon.

Dr. Steven Lamberg is a sleep dentist in Long Island, USA. He lectures internationally on dental sleep medicine.