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Is Snoring every night


Dr Hui Yui Cheung


Specialist in Otorhinolaryngology


Every man or woman, no matter young or old, is likely to snore but most people do not seek medical attention due to snoring problems. Many only seek to rectify the problem when family members or partner starts to complain about the noise. Partners are not only disturbed daily on the long term basis and rarely get a good night’s sleep. The sleep quality of snorers will also be significantly affected. Snoring may also indicate a possibility of sleep apnea.

Snoring occurs because the soft tissue of the upper respiratory relaxes during sleeping, narrowing the respiratory tract. The air passing the uvula causes vibrations in the constricted air passage, forming the snoring sound. The more the airway is obstructed, the louder snoring becomes.  When breathing stops for over ten seconds or more, the body reacts by waking up for a few seconds, then returns to sleep after breathing resumes.  This endless cycle makes the body very difficult to enter deep sleep. After numerous apnea episodes, the brain will become hypoxic, resulting in dizziness and trouble concentrating during the day. If you are a professional driver or need to operate heavy machinery at work, dozing off at work is likely to cause accidents.

If you suffer from snoring problems, you should consult your family doctor or an ENT physician.  The doctor may recommend you to take a sleep test to diagnose whether you have sleep apnea. If the doctor confirms sleep apnea, the cause is due to soft tissue in the oral cavity or nasal cavity, or an ill-ness disorder, for example nasal polyps, enlarged tonsils or an oversized uvula, it could be resolved through surgical treatment to reduce its size. Also, patients may consider using positive airway pressure machines or mouth guards to improve airway obstruction. By treating sleep apnea, snoring problems can also be improved.

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