Snoring & OSA

The Different Causes of Snoring & When to Be Concerned

December 22, 2022
The Different Causes of Snoring When to Be Concerned

The gentle rumbling sound you hear when someone snores is due to restrictions to airflow during sleep. When your breathing is obstructed, air vibrates the soft tissues in your throat, mouth, and nose. These vibrations cause the familiar rattling sounds associated with snoring.

The reasons behind chronic snoring, also known as Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), can vary widely from person to person. Obstructions to your air passages can be caused by many different factors. Read on to find out more about the different reasons for snoring and when you may need to seek snoring treatment in Singapore.

Causes Of Snoring

Causes Of Snoring Blocked Nostrils snoring treatment in Singapore


1. Blocked Nose


Having blocked nostrils is one of the more common reasons for snoring. Narrowed nasal passageways cause airflow to become more turbulent and result in vibrations to your soft palate and tongue.

A cold or flu virus can cause inflammation of the sinuses, which puts pressure on the nasal passages. Allergies also have the same effect, although the inflammation in that case is caused by your body’s own immune system. Lastly, a deviated septum can cause narrowing in one or both nostrils and lead to snoring.


2. Obstructions In Your Mouth


Breathing through your mouth, especially when sleeping, makes it more likely that you will snore at night. Pushing air through your mouth means the airflow passes by soft tissues like the tongue, tonsils, uvula, and soft palate, causing them to vibrate.

Conditions like enlarged tonsils, blocked nasal passages, or weak palatal tissue can all exacerbate the issue and make your snoring louder and more frequent. A trained ear, nose, and throat (ENT) doctor should be able to diagnose these problems and refer you to a sleep specialist in Singapore if required.


3. Tongue


The tongue plays an important role in regulating snoring. If you have an enlarged tongue, you might find that you are more prone to snoring as it tends to block your air passageway when you sleep. Having higher amounts of neck fat contributes to this as it increases the size of your tongue and tends to obstruct your throat.

If your tongue is too relaxed due to alcohol, sleep medication, or sleeping on your back, it rumbles much more easily. A relaxed tongue or other soft tissues in the mouth can also collapse to the back of your throat and obstruct air passages.


4. Throat


Similar to obstructions in other areas, narrow throat passages can also cause snoring due to restricted airflow. In fact, throat obstructions are the most dangerous causes of sleep apnea in Singapore and also cause the loudest snores. Obesity is a major factor as it can lead to excessive soft tissue at the back of throats.

When Should You Be Concerned

When Should You Be Concerned Snoring Due To Nasal Blockage

Snoring Due To Nasal Blockage

If you suspect that your chronic snoring is due to constant nasal blockages, then there are certain measures you can take to alleviate the problem. Allergy medication, nasal rinses, quitting smoking, and surgery to correct deviated septums, can go a long way in helping to relieve the stuffy feeling in your nose and improve your quality of sleep.

Snoring Due To Mouth Or Tongue Obstructions

If you find that you tend to breathe through your mouth often then you might want to consider making lifestyle changes. Cutting out alcohol, losing weight, and sleeping on your side, are all ways to improve airflow while sleeping and reduce snoring.

Mouth breathing can cause issues with facial development in children and should be corrected at a young age. In adults, it can also lead to sleep apnea. One way to resolve mouth breathing might be to remove enlarged tonsils.

Snoring Due To Throat Blockage

In some cases, sleep apnea due to throat obstructions can cause you to stop breathing temporarily. This not only affects the quality of sleep, but also has other knock on effects on your physical health.

If you find yourself snoring, even after making lifestyle changes and taking over-the-counter remedies, then it might be time to get professional help. One option is to go for a session at a sleep clinic in Singapore where you will be monitored to diagnose any problems that might lead to snoring and sleep apnea.

Learn More: 5 Signs You Need to Have a Sleep Study Performed

With over 15 years of experience, our clinician Dr Gan Eng Cern is a fellowship trained ear, nose, and throat surgeon. Visit our website to see our range of services and drop us a message via our contact us page to make an appointment with us.

    When Should You See an ENT Specialist in Singapore?

    • Any ear, nose or throat symptoms that you are troubled with or concerned about
    • Persistent blocked nose with mouth breathing or snoring

    Dr Gan Eng Cern

    Dr Gan Eng Cern is a distinguished ENT doctor with fellowship training. In addition to his clinical practice as an ear, nose and throat specialist in Singapore, Dr. Gan has contributed to the academic field as a Senior Clinical Lecturer at the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore. He is recognised for his extensive research work, with numerous contributions to reputable international ENT journals. Dr Gan is also highly sought after as a speaker and has shared his surgical knowledge as a surgical dissection teacher at various prominent ENT conferences and courses.


    • 2020 – Reader’s Choice Gold Award for Best ENT Specialist (Expat Living Singapore)
    • 2016 – Best Educator Award (Eastern Health Alliance)
    • 2016 – “Wow” Award (Patient Compliment)
    • 2014 – Eastern Health Alliance Caring Award – Silver
    • 2014 – 19th Yahya Cohen Memorial Lectureship (awarded by the College of Surgeons, Academy of Medicine Singapore for best scientific surgical paper)
    • 2012 – Human Manpower Development Award (Ministry of Health, Singapore)
    • 2007 – Singhealth Best Doctor Award


    • MBBS – Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia)
    • MRCS (Edin) – Member of the Royal College of Surgeons Edinburgh, United Kingdom
    • MMed (ORL) – Master of Medicine in ENT (National University of Singapore)
    • FAMS – Fellow of the Academy of Medicine Singapore

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