Sleep Apnea vs. Snoring

Snoring is a common symptom of sleep apnea, but also occurs frequently in those without the disorder. The reason a person with sleep apnea snores is due to a blockage in the airway. The airflow through the narrowed airway causes vibration of the soft tissues, creating the sound we know as snoring. Snoring is a common occurrence and as many as half of adults snore at least occasionally. Snoring happens when the throat muscle relax, causing the soft tissues to vibrate.

Habitual snoring may be a sign of a medical problem, such as sleep apnea.

Other reasons people may snore include obesity, poor muscle tone in the back of the throat, nose and throat problems, and certain medications. Drinking alcohol can also contribute to snoring as it relaxes the throat muscles.

Snoring is commonly associated with sleep apnea. In sleep apnea patients, the throat tissues obstruct the airway and prevent you from breathing. The airway becomes temporarily blocked and the person stops breathing and wakes up dozens of times per night to begin breathing again. “Apnea” is a complete obstruction of the airway, while “hypopnea” is a partial obstruction. The repeated pauses in breathing and waking up to gasp for air is the feature that separates regular snoring from sleep apnea.

To learn more about snoring and sleep apnea, as well as treatment options, call The Los Angeles Sleep Study Institute at 1-855-690-0563.