What causes snoring and can anything be done about it?

Sleep Image Gallery Snoring can disrupt a good night's sleep. See more sleep pictures.
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Snoring is one of those inconvenient things -- like smelly feet, sweaty palms, and allergies -- that some people suffer with while other people never experience. Up to 20 percent of the population may experience problems with snoring. The rest of us have no problem with it, unless we're married to someone in the 20 percent.

­Snoring is an anatomy problem involving the soft tissue at the back of the throat. This is the same tissue, by the way, that allows you to swallow, gargle and talk like Donald Duck. When snoring, the problem is too much tissue. The tissue (including the soft palate, uvula and tonsils) relaxes and vibrates against the back of the throat during breathing, creating quite a bit of noise. Think of the noise that a balloon makes when you let the air out of it. That noise is not unlike snoring, and it shows how soft structures can create noise when they flap against each other.


For more articles on snoring and sleep, check out the links on the next page.