When Snoring Means It’s Time for Treatment

by | Feb 20, 2024 | Sinusitis Health, Sleep Apnea

Snoring – we’ve all heard it, and for some, it’s just a minor inconvenience. But did you know that snoring can be more than just a nighttime annoyance? More than 25 percent of Americans struggle with snoring so disruptive that it negatively impacts their sleep and, in some cases, overall health.

As common as the condition seems for many, it’s important to know when snoring is a sign of something more serious. Let’s explore when snoring goes beyond the usual sounds of sleep and becomes a red flag that it’s time for treatment.

The Basics of Snoring

Before diving into why snoring might require treatment, it’s important to know what causes snoring in the first place. Snoring occurs when the flow of air through the mouth and nose is partially blocked during sleep. This blockage leads to the vibration of the surrounding tissues, creating the familiar snoring sounds.

For many, snoring is a benign condition that’s often affected by sleeping position, nasal congestion, alcohol consumption, and other factors. However, when snoring becomes persistent, loud, and accompanied by other symptoms, it’s often indicative of an underlying issue that needs attention.

Common Causes of Persistent Snoring

Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA): One of the primary reasons snoring may need treatment is when it is associated with obstructive sleep apnea. OSA occurs when the upper airway becomes partially or completely blocked during sleep, leading to pauses in breathing. The individual may snore loudly, followed by moments of silence, and then a sudden gasp for air.

Weight and Lifestyle Factors: Excess weight, particularly around the neck, can lead to snoring. Unhealthy lifestyle habits, like a lack of physical activity, and poor dietary choices, can also play a role. Addressing these factors through lifestyle changes may be essential for effective snoring treatment.

Nasal and Sinus Issues: Chronic nasal congestion or sinus problems can hinder the free flow of air, leading to snoring. Allergies, nasal polyps, or a deviated septum are common culprits. Snoring treatment is necessary for underlying nasal issues.

Sleep Position: Sleeping on your back can cause the tongue and soft palate to collapse to the back of the throat, leading to snoring. Encouraging a change in sleep position can sometimes be a simple yet effective treatment.

When to Seek Snoring Treatmentsnoring

While occasional snoring may not be cause for concern, persistent and disruptive snoring may indicate an underlying problem that requires attention. Here are signs that it might be time to seek treatment for snoring:

  1. Excessive Loudness: If your snoring is loud and disruptive, especially to the point of disturbing your partner’s sleep, it may be a sign that the airflow obstruction is significant.
  2. Witnessed Pauses in Breathing: If someone observes that you experience moments of silence followed by gasping for air, it could be indicative of obstructive sleep apnea. Seeking professional advice becomes crucial in such cases.
  3. Daytime Fatigue and Sleepiness: Persistent snoring, especially if associated with sleep apnea, can result in poor sleep quality. This, in turn, may lead to daytime fatigue, excessive sleepiness, and difficulty concentrating.
  4. Morning Headaches: Frequent morning headaches can be a symptom of disrupted sleep patterns caused by snoring and sleep apnea.
  5. High Blood Pressure: Untreated sleep apnea can contribute to the development or worsening of high blood pressure. If you have hypertension along with persistent snoring, it’s essential to address the issue promptly.

Treatment Options for Snoring Apnea

The good news is that there are various treatment options available for snoring, depending on the underlying cause. Here are some approaches that can help alleviate or eliminate snoring:

Lifestyle Changes: Adopting a healthier lifestyle can make a significant difference. This includes maintaining a healthy weight, engaging in regular physical activity, avoiding alcohol and sedatives before bedtime, and establishing a consistent sleep routine.

Sleep Positional Therapy: For individuals whose snoring is primarily positional, changing the sleep position might be effective. Sleeping on one’s side rather than on the back can sometimes reduce or eliminate snoring.

Nasal Decongestants: If nasal congestion is a contributing factor, using nasal decongestants or saline sprays may help open up the airways.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP): CPAP is a common and highly effective treatment for obstructive sleep apnea. It involves wearing a mask over the nose or mouth that delivers a continuous stream of air, preventing airway collapse during sleep.

Oral Appliances: Dentists can provide custom-fitted oral appliances that help reposition the tongue and jaw, preventing airway obstruction. These devices are particularly useful for mild to moderate obstructive sleep apnea.

Surgery: In some cases, surgical interventions may be necessary to address structural issues contributing to snoring. Procedures such as uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP) or genioglossus advancement (GA) aim to remove or reposition tissues in the throat. Pillar Implant, also known as palatal implants help reinforce the soft palate in the mouth to keep it from collapsing during sleep. The snoring treatment has a 90 percent success rate. 

The Importance of Seeking Professional Advice From an ENT in CA

If you or your partner notices persistent and problematic snoring, seeking professional advice is crucial. A healthcare provider, sleep specialist, or an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist can conduct a thorough evaluation, including a sleep study if necessary, to identify the underlying cause of snoring.

Ignoring persistent snoring, especially when associated with sleep apnea, can have serious health implications. Untreated sleep apnea is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular issues, including hypertension, heart attacks, and strokes. It can also contribute to diabetes and weight gain and worsen existing respiratory conditions.


Snoring may be common, but when it becomes disruptive or is associated with other symptoms, it’s time to consider seeking treatment. From lifestyle changes to medical interventions, there are various options available to address snoring and its underlying causes. Remember, a good night’s sleep is not just about silence – it’s about the quality of rest that ensures your overall health and well-being.