Snoring is noisy breathing during sleep. It is a common problem among all ages and both genders, and it affects approximately 90 million American adults. Snoring may occur nightly or intermittently. Persons most at risk are males and those who are overweight, but snoring is a problem of both genders, although it is possible that women do not present with this complaint as frequently as men.

Snoring usually becomes more serious as people age. It can cause disruptions to your own sleep and your bed-partner’s sleep. It can lead to fragmented and un-refreshing sleep, which translates, into poor daytime function, tiredness and accidents or injuries.

Although snoring may be harmless for some people, it can be a symptom of a life threatening sleep disorder called Sleep Apnea, especially if it is accompanied by daytime sleepiness. Sleep apnea is characterized by pauses in breathing that prevent air from flowing into or out of a sleeping person’s airway. People with sleep apnea awaken frequently during the night gasping for breath sometimes over 50 times per hour. They do not remember these awakenings as they are for a few seconds and are considered micro-arousals.

When breathing stops, blood oxygen levels are reduced and there is strain on the heart and cardiovascular system. People with untreated sleep apnea have an increased risk of hypertension, stroke, diabetes, arrhythmias, depression, reflux, impotence and more. Obesity and a large neck can contribute to sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can be treated; men and women who snore loudly and especially those that have been observed to have momentary lapses in breathing or gasping for air should consult a doctor or specially trained dentist.