Skip to Content

Menu Icon
Menu
Menu Icon

Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Topic Overview

Snoring is a major symptom of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). But even though most people who have sleep apnea snore, not all people who snore have sleep apnea.

Snoring occurs when the flow of air from the mouth or nose to the lungs is disturbed during sleep, usually by a blockage or narrowing in the nose, mouth, or throat (airway).

  • If you snore and do not have sleep apnea, your snoring is steady and does not disturb your sleep. You do not stop breathing and oxygen levels in your blood do not change.
  • In sleep apnea, how loud and how often you snore changes often. Your snoring disturbs your sleep, your breathing stops at times, and oxygen levels in your blood go down.

If you are overweight, you may have more tissue in your neck, which can press down on the airway at night and block some of the airflow. Although your breathing does not stop, your breaths may be smaller, so the oxygen levels in your blood may go down. You may snore loudly and sleep badly.

Related Information

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Mark A. Rasmus, MD - Pulmonology, Critical Care Medicine, Sleep Medicine
Last Revised June 25, 2013

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2014 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.

Decision Points

Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.

You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:

Interactive Tools

Get started learning more about your health!

Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups, and pregnancy.

Symptom Checker

Feeling under the weather?

Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.

Health Library