Synonyms in a broader sense

Medical: Rhonchopathy

English: snore

Introduction to snoring

Because of the loud breathing noise, snoring can be torture for those affected and lead to sleep disorders. The sawing noises arise in the upper airways. Vibrating movements of the palate, the uvula or the base of the tongue or the lower throat produce such sounds.

Causes of Snoring

Snoring in general is caused by slackening of the respiratory muscles while sleeping.

In particular, it is caused by fluttering movements of the soft palate and uvula.
The soft palate can either be short and tight or, in some people, have a long, slack structure.

However, snoring is not normal, that is, it is caused in people who snore when their airways are blocked. In some cases the tongue obstructs the airways by sliding back into the throat.

For some people, the sleeping position is also important. There are people who sleep on their backs and who snore especially in this position.
When the brain gets too little oxygen, the body reacts by itself by changing position.

There are numerous other factors that contribute to snoring. For example, the tonsils and tonsils may be too large and obstruct the airways.

Sleep apnea can also be a very dangerous cause of snoring. With sleep apnea there are repeated pauses in breathing. The oxygen supply is reduced and wake-up reactions occur again and again, which makes the patient sleep very poorly and the person concerned has less and less rested sleep. The upper part of the airways collapses and blocks them. Most people who suffer from sleep apnea also snore extremely.

Obesity can also be the cause of snoring, because you can find numerous fat deposits in the throat and pharynx that obstruct the airways.

In addition, snoring is hereditary in some people.

Drinking alcohol also causes symptoms of snoring in some people. Because here the soft palate slackens. This is also the case when taking some sleeping pills, sedatives, muscle relaxants, antihistamines, and psychotropic drugs, especially if they are too strong.

A runny nose or allergies are also possible causes.

In addition, a crooked nasal septum can block the nose and throat so much that those affected can start snoring here too. Anatomical imbalances in the position of the jaw (occlusion problems) or an enlarged tongue can also impede the flow of air.

The soft and benign nasal polyps should also not be ignored. They too can cause snoring. They do not grow directly from the nose, but from the sinuses.

Read more on the subject at:

  • Causes of Snoring
  • Consequences of alcohol

How does the snoring sound come about?

Several factors come together in snoring. Obstruction of nasal breathing e.g. by

  • a curvature of the septum (septal deviation)
  • due to polyps of the nose (polyposis nasi)
  • from cold (rhinitis)
  • enlarged tonsils (tonsil hyperplasia, chronic tonsillitis)

can significantly increase the flow rate of the inhaled air. This creates a negative pressure in the throat. The negative pressure and the throat muscles relaxed during sleep lead to the collapse or collapse of the throat.

You can visualize this process like an inflated balloon, from which you slowly let the air escape at its opening. Sometimes only the soft palate, which is relaxed in sleep, sways with the suction of the inhaled air.

If you want to know more precisely what triggers the snoring noise, we recommend our article: Causes of Snoring

Is snoring a disease?

In general, snoring is not a disease and in early human history it was even used to drive wild animals to flight while they were sleeping.
But our partners are reluctant to be driven away, reluctant to tolerate “nocturnal tree sawing” and often suffer from noise-related sleep disorders themselves. In severe cases, however, even the snorer wakes up to its sound.
Here the doctor should check whether the airways are obstructed by an illness and treat it if necessary.
Nasal polyps are the most common cause of snoring in children and must be surgically removed.

Can snoring be dangerous?

Not only the relationship is burdened by years of snoring. In severe cases, the throat collapses so badly that the snorer stops breathing for up to 30 seconds or more.
Such respiratory arrests can occur almost 100 times in one night and inevitably lead to a considerable lack of oxygen (sleep apnea; obstructive Sleep apnea syndrome; OSAS).
Due to the respiratory arrest and the associated lack of oxygen, the snorer wakes up several times during the night Racing heart and gasping for air.
During the day one feels exhausted and tired, reacts irritably and nervously to one's surroundings and is very endangered by falling asleep suddenly while driving.
In such cases, a doctor should be consulted to avoid further risks (cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, Heart attack) to avoid.

Why do breathing pauses when breathing?

Breathing while sleeping can cause pauses in breathing for various reasons. The most common causes are either collapse of the airways or changes in breathing control.

Airway collapse, also known as obstructive apnea, is a disease that requires serious and urgent treatment. In the form of this disease, there is a brief collapse of the airways in the area of ​​the palate, which prevents any air flow. Most of the time, the affected person wakes up briefly while the air is being cut off.

Breathing pauses can also be caused by changes in breathing control, also known as central apnea. Normally, breathing is largely consciously controlled by the person while awake. During sleep, breathing is controlled by sensors that can register various parameters within the blood and thereby increase and decrease breathing. If this control is hindered in various ways, it can lead to breathing problems while sleeping.

You can read detailed information on paused breathing in this article: Insomnia from breathing pauses


A brief overview of the "snoring apparatus":

  • Nasal Patch (Breath Right®)
    It is stuck over both nostrils and is supposed to open the nasal openings wider, which makes nasal breathing easier.
  • Nose clip (Schnarchclip® Sandox)
    Keeps the nostrils open and makes it easier to inhale through the nose
  • Mandibular protrusion splint
    Holds that Lower jaw when sleeping in a position where the tongue cannot fall back and block the airways.
  • Chin band:
    Like a jaw protrusion splint, holds the lower jaw in a position when sleeping so that the tongue cannot fall back.

First measures

Various rules of conduct can have a positive effect on snoring. First of all, alcohol consumption should be avoided a few hours before bedtime. If possible, sedatives, sleeping pills, antihistamines and psychotropic drugs should also be omitted. When the upper body is in a slightly elevated position, the throat muscles remain tighter and do not suddenly collapse. Likewise, the snorer should try to avoid lying on his back. A tennis ball sewn into the back of the pajamas can remind you to lie on your side or stomach.

Pharmacies offer various means that are said to have a positive effect on snoring (nasal plasters, nose clips, jaw protrusion splint, chin bandages). Here you should seek individual advice from the pharmacist and his doctor, as no general recommendation can be made.

The next article is about the palatal brace, which can help against snoring. If you're further interested, check out our next topic below: Palate Brace - How is it used?

Can you prevent snoring?

Snoring can have different causes. For one, snoring can be triggered by the tongue blocking the airways. On the other hand, the floor of the palate and the uvula can sink down in the direction of the tongue, so that the airways are partially blocked.

Snoring does not happen consciously and therefore cannot be actively prevented. However, there are various measures, operations and home remedies that can counteract snoring.

If you want to avoid snoring, you can take various preventive measures. For example, you can ensure an open nose (see also: Swollen nose). If the person concerned breathes through the nose and not through the mouth, a fallen tongue and a lowered soft palate do not represent any blockages of the airway, as in this case the airway does not go through the mouth but the nose. So it is important to always have a clear nose as a preventive measure.
Allergies or the like should also not impair nasal breathing. Possible snoring can also be prevented by specifically reducing meals in the evening and having an average body weight. Another way to counteract snoring can be to slightly raise the headboard and avoid the back sleeping position.

Are you interested in this topic? Then read our next article below: How can you prevent snoring?

Therapy decision

Above all on the Internet you can find numerous remedies against snoring, as very many people are directly affected.

Unfortunately, it also affects the relatives, especially the partners who sleep in the same room. The most important thing is to know the individual cause in order to combat it.
It is possible in many hospitals on the pulmonology station (Pulmonary station) Spend one night in a sleep laboratory. Here the patient is closely observed and monitored while he sleeps. This is how you can track down sleep apnea and breathing pauses. For some people this is very easy.

For example, if you are overweight, it helps immensely if the person concerned loses weight. The causes of sleeping pills, muscle relaxants and sedatives can also be easily minimized as causes or completely eliminated by omitting them completely or by re-dosing them correctly. For enlarged tonsils and palatine tonsils, an operation is of course possible.
It is the same with nasal polyps.

Of course, you can also operate on a crooked nasal septum, which would certainly reduce snoring in some patients.
For those who snore on their backs, it can be recommended that they lie on their side as much as possible or bump into them again and again during sleep so that they turn to one side.

Otherwise there are a few other aids such as the bite splint. It looks like a set of teeth and is pushed into the mouth and screwed tight. The lower jaw is pushed forward, thus expanding the pharynx. The patient can breathe easier again without the airways being blocked.
You can also find certain patches on the Internet that you stick on your nose or in your nose and which are then supposed to curb snoring. Another measure against snoring is breathing protection. This is a breathing mask that is worn during the night and which prevents the airways from collapsing through the airway pressure, which can be set variably or constantly. So the airways are always free so that you can sleep and breathe well.

This is also very helpful if you have sleep apnea. Still, there is a problem here too. The device is not very quiet. And it's a little uncomfortable to have to wear this device on your face.

Snoring significantly affects the sleep-wake cycle. You can read about the consequences of this in the next article: Consequences of lack of sleep

These home remedies are designed to help

To counteract snoring, home remedies can often make a big contribution. There are also so-called "anti-snoring oils" or "anti-snoring sprays" that are made on a plant basis. These oils or sprays are applied directly to the palate. This is intended to artificially moisten the palate, which increases the tension in the tissue. As a result of the air flow that flows through the respiratory tract in the mouth area during breathing, the palate and in particular the soft palate can no longer vibrate so strongly. So there is less or no snoring. The oils used are usually made from olive oil and lozenge.

Another way to avoid snoring is to inhale before going to sleep. A stuffy nose is a very common cause of snoring and it can be resolved. Inhalation can be done either with the help of an inhaler or simply a pot of water. Both techniques use warm water vapor to get into the nose and upper respiratory tract, effectively relieving the blockage. Essential oils such as eucalyptus, mountain pine or tea tree oil are added to the pot or the inhaler.

In general, drinking tea before going to bed can counteract snoring. The varieties of nettle, linden blossom, sage or arnica are particularly suitable.

Are you interested in this topic? Read more about this under: Aromatherapy

How can a sleep laboratory help?

A sleep laboratory is usually a specialized form of a hospital ward. However, operations or therapies are rarely carried out here. The stay in a sleep laboratory should serve various forms of sleep examination.
For example, while sleeping, brain activity is recorded, breathing is measured and an EKG is written. In this way, the phases of sleep and various body functions can be precisely tracked during sleep, so that possible causes of snoring can be uncovered.

Surgical therapy

Surgical interventions promise great success against snoring. However, in most cases it is irreversible interventions, the results of which are irreversible. Some methods are mainly practiced in the USA and are still controversial in the German medical system. Nevertheless, one or the other surgical method can already be found at German ENT clinics.

  • Tightening of the palate and throat mucosa (uvula-palato-pharyngo-plasty, UPPP)
    This is one of the oldest surgical measures to treat snoring or sleep apnea syndrome (sleep apnea; obstructive sleep apnea syndrome; OSAS).
    In more than half of all operated patients, this method brings an improvement. It is under general anesthetic the palate and throat muscles are tightened or narrowed, a collapse and the resulting snoring noise counteracted. In addition, the uvula is removed so that it can no longer vibrate with the turbulence when you inhale. As a rule, the tonsils are also removed (tonsillectomy), because those who snore are usually enlarged and lead to an unnecessary narrowing of the pharynx. The complications after such an operation are relatively minor. Every now and then there is secondary bleeding at the site of the removed tonsils, which can now be treated well. The ruffling (narrowing) of the throat (pharyngoplasty) leads to swallowing difficulties in the first few days, which usually disappear when the surgical wounds heal. However, as more modern methods are available today, this radical operation is only carried out in a few cases.
  • Uvula-palato-plasty with the laser (laser-assisted uvula-palato-plasty, LAUP)
    This method is similar to the conventional technique used for tightening the palate and throat mucosa (uvula-palato-pharyngo-plasty, UPPP). However, a fine laser beam is used to remove the uvula and tighten the palate. The laser cuts and closes the wound edges at the same time. This gentler technique can be carried out under local anesthesia and on an outpatient basis (USA). Nevertheless, an inpatient phase is recommended in this country. The condition improved completely in over 60 percent or the patients reported a significant decrease in snoring.
  • Artificial scarring and narrowing of the throat (radiofrequency therapy)
    Anyone who is very afraid of surgical interventions can opt for therapy without a knife or laser. With radiofrequency therapy one tries to artificially stimulate the throat to shrink, i.e. to narrow it. With a small probe that briefly emits an electrical current, an artificial scar is created in some parts of the throat, which ultimately narrows the throat. This method is still very new. The patient can go home straight away after the treatment and is usually not in pain. The only drawbacks are that radiofrequency therapy is currently not covered by health insurance and you need up to four sessions to achieve the full effect.
  • Artificial scarring with a foreign substance (injection snoreplasty)
    This procedure is only performed in the USA. Similar to radiofrequency therapy, attempts are made to tighten the throat without cuts and injuries so that it does not collapse when inhaling and lead to snoring. There are some liquids (3% sodium tetradecyl sulfate (STS), alcohol) that body tissues respond to by scarring and shrinking when injected into the tissue. This physical reaction is used in this method. After injecting such a substance, stiffening of the palate due to scarring occurs within a few weeks. If the therapy is unsuccessful, it can be repeated.
  • Insert pins into the fluttering palate
    Since the snoring noise is also caused by the "flabby" palate near the throat (soft palate, palatum molle), it has been considered to simply shine it. It is a very new minimally invasive procedure. Three implants of cylindrical plastic pins are used to splint the soft palate. These implants stiffen the soft palate and thus reduce or eliminate snoring. This procedure also takes place under local anesthesia and can be carried out on an outpatient basis. If you ask your ENT doctor what they think of this procedure, they will likely find it difficult not to recommend or advise against them. Not many snorers have opted for this procedure and it is difficult for doctors to make a statement about long-term and satisfactory results.
  • Folding up the swinging uvula flap
    In this method, to keep the uvula from vibrating with the turbulence of breathing, it is folded up and sewn to the roof of the mouth. However, some patients complained of difficulty swallowing and speaking after this procedure.
  • Shifting the soft palate towards the hard palate (transpalatal advancement pharyngoplasty, TAP)
    This method is rarely performed and the aim is to tighten the throat to prevent it from collapsing and the associated snoring noise.
    This involves narrowing the lower edge of the soft palate and removing part of the hard palate, which is made up of bone. Subsequently, the contact of the soft palate with the hard palate is restored by a suture. The operation is performed under general anesthesia. The soft palate (Pallatum molle) is the roof of our oral cavity that we can just reach with the tip of our tongue. The hard palate (pallatum durum) lies between the soft palate and the front row of teeth. There is bone under the mucous membrane.
  • Improvement of nasal breathing with correction of the curvature of the nasal septum and concha reduction (nasal septoplasty, septum resection).
    If the cause of snoring is to be found in a narrowing of the nasal passages, the ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT) recommends correcting the curvature of the septum and reducing the size of the turbinate.
    The troublesome, crooked parts of the nasal septum (septal cartilage and septal bones) are removed and reinserted in a straightened position. At the same time, the turbinates are made smaller.
    Depending on the severity of the curvature of the nasal septum, this is carried out on an outpatient basis or as an inpatient for a few days. If the ear, nose and throat doctor has to move bone tissue in addition to the cartilage tissue, it is usually inpatient admission required.
    The permeability of nasal breathing is significantly improved during this procedure. The negative pressure in the airways is reduced and a collapse of the throat is less likely

Osteopathy for snoring

Osteopathy is a healing art in which an osteopath examines and treats the person affected with only his hands.

When visiting an osteopath for snoring, there are several ways to approach the examination and treatment. The main focus is to free the nose from congestion or other constrictions and blockages. The so-called nasal widening treats possible blockages, narrow nostrils or nasal mucous membrane adhesions. Often times, the osteopath cannot completely clear the nose the first time, requiring another treatment or two.

You can read more information on this topic here: Osteopathy treatment

Which doctor treats snoring?

If one suffers from heavy snoring and would like to be informed more precisely about the causes and possible treatment methods, several doctors are available to the person concerned who can provide help if necessary. The first point of contact is the sleep doctor, usually in the form of a pulmonologist. He can discuss and work out possible causes and treatment approaches in consultation with an ENT doctor, an internist or a dentist.

If necessary, the sleep doctor can refer the person concerned to a sleep laboratory. There, the person concerned is observed and analyzed during his sleep activities overnight. In this way, the cause and further therapeutic approaches can usually be determined.

Snoring During Pregnancy

Pregnant women snore very often. During pregnancy, an above-average number of pregnant women complain of problems with snoring. Almost 50% of all expectant mothers start snoring in this way from the 5th month of pregnancy. However, this phenomenon is not unusual, it is widespread.
In particular, increasing body weight plays a major role here. Many expectant mothers gain weight during pregnancy (see also: Weight Gain During Pregnancy).

The increased weight has an effect similar to that of an overweight person. In the throat area there is an increased accumulation of fat, which obstructs the airways and less air can pass through.
In addition, the more the pregnancy has progressed, the more space the child takes up in the mother's womb.
It can also put pressure on the airways and lungs, which means that less air gets into the body. In addition, the mucous membranes in the nose and throat are often swollen because they are particularly well supplied with blood.
This also becomes a barrier to the air you breathe.

One remedy here can be that the women affected simply sleep higher up or on their side. That means that you put an additional pillow under your head. Many people then stop snoring because it helps air get into their lungs.

Nevertheless, you should always play it safe if you snore during pregnancy and observe yourself and your body carefully. Snoring during pregnancy can also bring one or the other consequences and dangers with it. So you shouldn't underestimate the extent. Snoring can also be the cause of high blood pressure during pregnancy and preclampsia. Here the woman also has too high a blood pressure and also excretes additional protein with the urine.

If the home remedies against snoring show no effect, the gynecologist should be consulted and asked for advice.

At this point, read our article on snoring during pregnancy and find out what effects snoring could have on your child: Snoring During Pregnancy

Snoring in children

Most children do snoring the causes are rather easy to find.

Have lots of children Nasal polypsthat make breathing much more difficult at night. Other causes such as enlarged tonsils in the palate and throat area can also be the causes. But sleep apnea can also be the cause of snoring in children. In any case, it is important that parents see their child to a doctor so that one can find out what the little ones are suffering from. Sleep apnea in particular can be very dangerous, as children sleep significantly worse and, in the worst case, they have developmental disorders.
Missing or poor sleep then also affects school or other activities that children can concentrate less on because they can tired are. Unfortunately the topic Overweight in children always up to date. So this can also be a possible cause. It has also been reported that there are children who start snoring just by passive smoking with their parents.