Snoring could have a greater impact on your health than you may think. Most of us probably have known someone in our life who snores, or has sleep disordered breathing. It could be our spouse, a significant other or friend, or even our own children that experience snoring.

What is Snoring?

Snoring is defined as sounds caused by vibrating tissues within the airways of the nose and throat. While we are asleep, turbulent airflow can cause the tissues of the palate (roof of the mouth) and throat to vibrate, giving rise to snoring.1

Because snoring is so common, it’s possible that its consequences can be overlooked. Snoring can disrupt your partner’s sleep, and if not addressed can cause a slew of medical issues, such as high blood pressure, or a lack of quality sleep that causes drowsiness, and reduced daytime focus and concentration.1 Snoring could also be an indication of sleep disordered breathing and a more serious medical condition called Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).4 Untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can contribute to high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, and motor vehicle or workplace accidents. Symptoms of OSA include:

  • Daytime sleepiness or fatigue
  • Dry mouth or sore throat when you wake up
  • Headaches in the morning
  • Trouble concentrating, forgetfulness, depression, or irritability
  • Night sweats
  • Restlessness during sleep
  • Snoring
  • Trouble getting up in the mornings2

Sleep Disordered Breathing

Symptoms of sleep disordered breathing in children may not be as obvious, and are sometimes overlooked as indicating OSA. These may include:

  • Bedwetting
  • Choking or drooling
  • Learning and behavior disorders
  • Problems at school
  • Sluggishness or sleepiness (often misinterpreted as laziness in the classroom)
  • Snoring
  • Teeth grinding
  • Restlessness in bed2

Tonsils are lymphatic tissue located at the back of the throat, and tend to be larger in children. The hypertrophy or enlargement of the tonsils can contribute to an obstructed airway, which could result in snoring or sleep disordered breathing.4

Tonsillectomies for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

In decades past, some 90% of tonsillectomies performed on children were intended to relieve recurrent swelling caused by infection. Today, 80% of tonsillectomies in children are done to remedy obstructive sleep apnea.3 With the growing awareness surrounding OSA, it’s important to notice the tell-tale signs of this condition. What could be written off as normal snoring may actually be a symptom of sleep disordered breathing. If a family member exhibits any of the above symptoms, consider reaching out to your family doctor or ENT for a consultation.


  1. Snoring Causes, Aids, Remedies, Solutions: Accessed September 21, 2018
  2. WebMD Obstructive Sleep Apnea Explained: Accessed September 21, 2018
  3. American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery: Tonsillectomy Facts in the U.S.: From ENT Doctors Accessed September 21, 2018
  4. American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery: Snoring and Sleep Apnea: Accessed September 27, 2018