Snoring is common in adults and is not necessarily a sign of an underlying disorder.
Sometimes, however, snoring can be a sign of a sleep disorder called sleep apnea. This means you have periods when you completely or partly stop breathing for more than 10 seconds while you sleep. The episode is followed by a sudden snort or gasp when breathing resumes. Then, snoring starts all over again. If you have sleep apnea, this cycle generally happens multiple times a night. Sleep apnea is not as common as snoring.
A doctor (or a sleep specialist) can tell if you have sleep apnea by doing a sleep study either at home or in a hospital setting.
Snoring is an important social problem. Persons who share a bed with a someone who snores can develop sleep difficulties.
In most people, the reason for snoring is not known. Some potential causes (other than sleep apnea) include:
See obstructive sleep apnea for more causes.
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Basner RC. Continuous positive airway pressure for obstructive sleep apnea. N Engl J Med. 2007 Apr 26;356(17):1751-8.
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