Snoring and Sleep Apnea – What’s the Difference?

Written by - Reviewed by Consumer Health Digest Team

Published: Sep 24, 2013 | Last Updated: Feb 13, 2019

Snoring and Sleep Apnea

Facts About Snoring

Snoring basically is the noise created by a vibration from a minor blockage in the throat or when the airway is restricted.

Anybody can snore, but it has been studied that more than 50% more men snore than women do[1]. Men naturally have narrower air passages compared to women, and this increases their likelihood to snore.

Although it can be annoying to your bedmate, snoring is not necessarily a serious issue. But, there is the possibility that it could be a sign of a dangerous medical issue and should be analyzed.

It is recommended to seek medical attention if you wake up gasping for air or coughing. These may be signs of a more serious sleep condition, such as sleep apnea.

What are the Causes of Snoring?

Causes of Snoring

One cause of snoring may be your sleeping position, avoid sleeping on your back, which can increase the sound of snoring, because your tongue may fall back and block your airways. Other causes of airway blockage may be due to a deviated nasal septum, soft or cleft palate, and swollen tonsils.

Asthma or any other medical condition that constricts bronchial airways can be the cause of snoring.

As we age, our throat becomes narrower and the muscle tone in our throat decreases.

Poor muscle tone and excess weight can contribute to snoring, so it is to the benefit of everyone within ear shot for you to stay in shape.

What are the Symptoms of Snoring?

Once the cause of the snoring is identified, some symptoms can include:

High blood pressure, gasping for breath upon waking or while sleeping, experiencing a restless sleep, sore throat, feeling excessively tired during the day and finding it difficult to concentrate during the daytime hours.

How to Stop Snoring?

How To Stop Snoring

There are plenty of self-help ways on how to stop snoring, and they include (but are not limited to):

Losing weight, because reducing excess fatty tissue may stop snoring.

Exercise and working with hand weights to tone your entire body (including throat muscles) will help reduce snoring.

If you smoke, the chances that you will snore are high, as smoking cause’s irritation in the throat and nose and may cause airways to become restricted.

Keep nasal passages clear, as a stuffy nose makes breathing difficult and creates a vacuum in the throat. Nasal washes, strips or decongestants may help you breathe easier while sleeping.

Dry air causes irritation in the nose and throat membranes, so an effective humidifier will keep air moist while you sleep.

Raising your head approximately four inches and sleeping on your side may help stop annoying snoring noises.

Avoid soy based products, dairy, caffeine and heavy meals at least 2 hours before heading to bed.

Singing has been known to help control throat muscles and reduce snoring due to relaxed muscles.

What are the Difference Between Snoring and Sleep Apnea?

Snoring can be a symptom of sleep apnea (which can be a potentially life-threatening medical condition, if left untreated). Sleep apnea causes a person to stop breathing for seconds at a time, and can happen many times during the night leaving a person feel unrested.

If you are constantly tired during the day, then you should consider being tested for sleep apnea.

Normal snoring usually doesn’t interfere with your quality of sleep, and it should not cause you to wake up feeling unrested.

What are the Treatments available?

Treatments Available

Address possible allergens in your bedroom that may interfere with your breathing such as: removing pets and washing the bedding regularly in hot water to remove any mold spores and dust.

Throat strengthening exercises may help to reduce or completely cease snoring. These types of exercises should be done 30 minutes every day[2], and can be done while commuting, walking or while showering. Examples of throat exercises include:

  • With a closed mouth, purse your lips and hold for 30 second intervals.
  • Out loud, repeat the vowels (a-e-i-o-u) several times during the day for 3 to 5 minutes each time.
  • Put the tip of your tongue behind your top front teeth and move back and forth for several minutes each day.
  • With your mouth open, move your jaw to one side and hold for at least 30 seconds and repeat on the other side.


When wearing a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) mask, the machine will blow air into your airways to keep them open throughout the night.

Dental devices, which should be fitted by a professional dentist, are similar to an athlete’s mouth guard, and the main purpose is to open up the airways by bringing your jaw and tongue forward.

Somulin is a natural, non-addicting and risk free sleep aid that may help with snoring. The official Somulin website states that using their product on a regular basis will give you a calmer and quieter (including reduce snoring) body and mind. Falling into a gentle sleep faster is the first noticeable sign that you will notice when using Somulin sleep aid.

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