Snoring is extremely common and its prevalence does increase with age – At some point, it may just happen to you. It is more common in males (35-45%) than females (15-28%)1 but be aware that it does happen to both sexes and concerns over under-reporting in women exist2.
Sudden awareness or starting of snoring isn’t usually of great medical concern if there are no other symptoms or issues but if in doubt; if couples with unusual symptoms; if there is waking or choking or pauses in breathing, we advise you seek early medical attention from a healthcare professional as this article is here to support general snoring issues and not intended as a medical advisory piece.
What is snoring?
Before we describe why you might have started to snore, we will first explore a little of what snoring actually is, as it is a little more than just an irritating sound. Snoring is a sound generated by vibrating pharynx (mouth) tissue, virtually always brought about when sleeping, at a point where this tissue is more relaxed than during the day.
This vibration is caused by a restriction in the clear flow of air through your windpipe and the exact point of restriction can vary between snorers, giving rise to some differences between them and what might best help.
Potential points to consider for why you may have started to snore
Blocked nose/nasal congestion.
If your nose has become blocked – perhaps you have a cold or hay fever – You will be more prone to mouth breathing when sleeping. Nighttime chronic blocked nose symptoms is a strong risk factor for snoring3. Mouth breathing increases the likelihood of creating turbulence and noisy breathing (snoring) at night. Other medical reasons can exist to cause a blocked nose, which can be discussed with a pharmacist or medical practitioner depending upon severity. Anti-snoring devices are sold, which work by keeping the nose more patent for this group once they have ruled out other medical reasons for their nasal congestion. When considering this specific problem, also consider allergies – something as simple as a new pillow may be the culprit.
Putting on weight is a strong risk factor for snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea4. Perhaps scarily, snoring itself is also an independent risk factor for causing weight gain and even Diabetes Mellietus5.
We do know though that losing weight helps snoring6.
Weight – particularly weight gained around the neck7 is a very specific factor in snoring , probably leading to increased airway obstruction or even increasing the additional ‘floppy’ pharyngeal (mouth) tissue.
Smoking and excess alcohol.
It rarely comes as a surprise to snorers or their bed partners that alcohol excess leads to more, and often loader, snoring. Excess alcohol is indeed a cause of common cause of occasional snoring; worsening snoring and OSA8.
Smoking is also a strong independent risk factor for snoring9.
It is argued that when trying to deal with snoring: weight; alcohol and smoking should be tackled first before exploring other treatments6. Without looking at those you may always find your treatments a challenge.
Your medications must always be carefully discussed with your own healthcare professional before altering but it is important to consider this group as potential causes, particularly if there have been any changes just prior to the onset of snoring. Check your leaflets to see if snoring is a recognised side-effect. The most likely causative medications are those that create any sleepiness. Benzodiazepine medications (often ending in ‘…pam’ e.g. Diazepam, Lorazepam etc). A doctor’s involvement is essential before any changes to such medications is considered.
These medications are likely to cause this effect by again making tissue more ‘floppy’ at night, making it easier to vibrate.
Head and neck injuries
Ok – a rarer and often obvious cause if it has happened to you but obviously if you have just injured your jaw, it may be misaligned when you sleep at night and therefore creating more restriction in air-flow.
A new bed partner
Please consider if you have just changed bed partners and feel you have started snoring that many snorers remain blissfully unaware of their snoring and maybe your new partner is just more honest or sensitive to the issue. If you are convinced that this is new and coincides with your new partner, however, perhaps you are now not sleeping quite as well and this is causing your snoring (see below).
Whilst medical reviews are harder to find, many experts quote tiredness (MayoClinic) can cause or increase snoring, again by increased throat relaxation.
Conclusion and Next Steps.
This article explores the commonest causes of new-onset snoring. You may be interested in what to do about your snoring or that of your partner’s. Please check out What Can I Do to Stop Snoring for further help.
You will note that many of the causes of new-onset snoring relate to floppier tissue in the pharynx (mouth). If you wish to look for a simple potential solution to your snoring you may wish to check out SNORGO. Snorgo offers a potential solution without having to wear any plastic devices at night all by offering a simple mouth training regimen that takes only a few minutes each day. Although a relatively newly developed device, started in UK, it is supported by clinicians and offers an exciting potential breakthrough in snoring treatments.
- Main, C. et al. Surgical procedures and non-surgical devices for the management of non-apnoeic snoring: a systematic review of clinical effects and associated treatment costs. Health Technol. Assess.13, 1–208 (2009). iii, xi–xiv.
- Westreich R, Gozlan-Talmor A, Geva-Robinson S, Schlaeffer-Yosef T, Slutsky T, Chen-Hendel E, Braiman D, Sherf Y, Arotsker N, Abu-Fraiha Y, Waldman-Radinsky L, Maimon N. The presence of snoring as well as its intensity is underreported by women. J Clin Sleep Med.2019;15(3):471–476.
- Young T, Finn L, Palta M. Chronic Nasal Congestion at Night Is a Risk Factor for Snoring in a Population-Based Cohort Study. Arch Intern Med. 2001;161(12):1514–1519. doi:10.1001/archinte.161.12.1514
- G. Berger, R. Berger and A. Oksenberg. European Respiratory Journal. Progression of snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea: The role of increasing weight and time. 2009; 33: 338–345.
- A. Elmasry, C. Janson, E. Lindberg, T. Gislason, M. A. Tageldin, G. Boman. The role of habitual snoring and obesity in the development of diabetes: a 10-year follow-up study in a male population. Journal of Internal Medicine. July 2000; (248): Issue 1: 13-20.
- Parker R. Snoring. The BMJ. 2005;331:1063.
- Welin L, Svardsudd K, Wilhelmsen L, Larsson B, Tibblin G. Analysis of risk factors for stroke in a cohort of men born in 1913. N EnglJ Med 1987;317:521-6.
- Burgos-Sanchez C, Jones NN, Avillion M, et al. Impact of Alcohol Consumption on Snoring and Sleep Apnea: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery. 2020;163(6):1078-1086. doi:10.1177/0194599820931087
- John W. Bloom, Walter T. Kaltenborn, Stuart F. Quan. Risk Factors in a General Population for Snoring: Importance of Cigarette Smoking and Obesity. Chest 1988; (93): 4; 678-683.
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Dr Pete Naylor is the inventor of Snorgo, a patented snoring cure made in the UK recommended by medical doctors.
Wirral CCG Chair 2014 – 2016
General Practitioner (GP) 2000-2017
National Institute for health and Care Excellence National GP representative (Diagnostics) 2012 – 2018
Associate Medical Director ICE Creates 2018 – 2020
Senate Council Member Merseyside 2014 – 2017
Forensic Medical Examiner Merseyside/Wirral 2005 – 2008
Youth Justice Management Board Wirral 2015 – 2017
NHS Doctor 1996 – 2017
GMC registered Doctor 1996 to present
Master of Science in Medical Leadership Birkbeck University and Royal College of Physicians. (Awarded Merit) 2013
OPP Myers Briggs Trainer, 2010. Subsequently also completed Step 2 to further support training
Diploma in Occupational Health, 2006
Diploma in Child Health, 2000
Bachelor of Medicine & Surgery, Sheffield University, 1996
Bachelor of Science, Psychiatric Neurobiology, Sheffield, 1995. Work produced papers on mRNA and Brain Plasticity.
Outstanding Innovative and Inspirational Leader 2013 Northwest Leadership Academy (Given for commissioning work with Wirral Health Commissioning Consortium.)
Vision Award 2012 (National award): Best Long Term Condition Initiative for WHCC
North West Respiratory Best Practice Award 2012: Self Care Award for WHCC
Diploma in Occupational Health – annual award