Sleep disorders

Snoring in men: causes and treatment

Unfortunately, not everyone understands that snoring is not a normal attribute of men’s sleep. Some do not even think that this tiresome problem for the whole family can be got rid of.

What are the causes of snoring in men

The causes of snoring in men and women are very similar. However, unlike female snoring, male snoring is most often caused by obesity, smoking, and alcohol intake.

  • Obesity

Even a slight excess of body weight can cause snoring. Often times, men who are gaining weight do not take into account that the most dangerous fatty deposits are not visible, since they accumulate around the organs. When this occurs in the tissues of the pharynx, the lumen narrows, causing snoring and apnea.

  • Smoking

The development of snoring in a smoking man is almost inevitable. Cigarette smoke causes chronic inflammation and swelling of the pharyngeal tissue. As a result, the smoker’s mucous membranes thicken, which narrows the lumen of the pharynx and promotes snoring.

  • Drinking alcohol

Alcohol has a rather powerful inhibitory effect on the nervous system. Drinkers may feel like they sleep better after a few drinks, but this is not the case. From alcohol, all muscles relax, and the lumen of the pharynx can practically subside. But the brain reacts poorly to oxygen starvation, so a drunk person does not wake up from the fact that he has stopped breathing. Obviously, such situations pose a direct threat to the patient’s life.

The following causes of snoring are equally common in both men and women:

  • Age

It is known that among 60-year-old people the number of snoring is close to 65%. Muscles inevitably lose their tone and elasticity with age. This leads to sagging of the lining of the throat, which causes vibration and snoring. Those people who are health-conscious and exercise regularly provide their skeletal muscles with good tone. But few people know that the muscles of the pharynx also need special exercises. Performing simple gymnastics can significantly reduce the risk of snoring with age and even contribute to the elimination of the existing one.

  • Congenital structural features of the skull

Snoring can be caused by narrow nasal passages, an elongated uvula, a small or sloping jaw, and some other abnormalities.

  • Diseases of the ENT organs

People who snore often have allergic rhinitis. If it is not very pronounced, then patients may not pay attention to it, considering a slight congestion to be a trifle. But even minor chronic swelling contributes to snoring.

Also, snoring is caused by diseases such as polyposis, curvature of the nasal septum, enlargement of the tonsils.

  • Endocrine and neurological disorders

With such pathologies as hypothyroidism and acromegaly, as well as conditions accompanied by an increased level of prolactin, obesity or uneven growth of some parts of the body develops. With these diseases, there is a thickening of the tissues of the pharynx and an increase in the tongue, which leads to difficulty breathing during sleep and even obstruction.

  • Respiratory infections

Edema of the mucous membranes during respiratory infections, in contrast to chronic rhinitis, is temporary. So if snoring appears exclusively with ARVI, then to eliminate it, it is enough to cure the underlying disease. Saline flushes and vasoconstrictor drops, as recommended by your healthcare professional, can help ease nasal breathing.

  • Taking some medications

It is worth noting that women resort to taking sleeping pills much more often than men. Especially dangerous are drugs of the benzodiazepine series, in particular phenazepam. Their depressing effect on the brain and muscles of a sleeping person is even more powerful than the effect of alcohol. With the uncontrolled use of sleeping pills, a person with snoring and OSAS may not wake up after another cessation of breathing.

Taking sleeping pills should be treated very carefully. If you cannot do without them, be sure to warn your doctor that you suffer from snoring and apnea. So the doctor can find a safer sleeping pill.

  • Poor sleeping conditions

Sometimes the cause of snoring is low humidity in the bedroom, which leads to dry mucous membranes. Especially the optimum humidity (55-60%) must be monitored during the heating season, as heaters dry up the air.

For a good snoring-free sleep, consider getting an orthopedic pillow. An inappropriate head position while resting at night can cause snoring and contribute to sleep apnea.

It often turns out that many men snore only when they sleep in a supine position. In such cases, sleeping on your side will help. To prevent a change in position in a dream, you can use special devices.  

What are the consequences of snoring

If women are ashamed of their snoring and sometimes perceive it as a tragedy, then male snoring is considered something common and even a worthy occasion for jokes. But in fact, the “heroic” snoring of a man leads to a loss of sleep in all relatives living with him. Often spouses go to sleep in different bedrooms, instead of seeking help from a specialist.

In addition to family problems, snoring and OSAS lead to a decrease in the intellectual and physical capabilities of a man, the development and progression of obesity, cardiovascular diseases (which lead to strokes and heart attacks), neurological problems, and a decrease in potency. Often, men ignore the problem, risking starting the disease or even dying from respiratory arrest during sleep. 


To determine the causes and severity of the disease, the patient needs to consult a somnologist and an ENT doctor . If OSAS is suspected, the somnologist will perform pulse oximetry , and if apnea is confirmed, polysomnography . The diagnosis is painless and quick – a complete examination is carried out on the basis of one sleep center.  

Prevention of snoring in men

Considering the most common causes of snoring in men, it is easy to name effective methods of preventing snoring and OSAS:

  • reduce weight to normal (according to your height and age);
  • limit or completely abandon alcohol;
  • quit smoking;
  • sleep on your side;
  • timely treat ENT diseases and hormonal disorders;
  • be wary of taking sleeping pills;
  • perform special gymnastics for the muscles of the pharynx;
  • observe the daily routine and sleep hygiene.

How to treat snoring in men

The choice of a method for treating snoring in a man depends on the identified causes of the disease. Surgical methods are used only if snoring occurs as a result of structural abnormalities or anatomical changes that cannot be corrected in any other way. In all other cases, therapeutic approaches are used: 

  • fighting obesity;
  • nasal strips;
  • snoring mouth guard;
  • positional treatment (sleep on the side);
  • snoring bracelet;
  • special gymnastics.

If, in addition to snoring, a man has obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, then the best way to get rid of the disease is CPAP therapy.

Very often at the reception, patients ask about the treatment of snoring in men with folk remedies. Any specialist will say with confidence that snoring, and even more so obstructive sleep apnea, can only be cured with the help of traditional methods. Only sea buckthorn oil can be attributed to folk remedies that sometimes at least slightly reduce snoring.

Do not treat a man’s snoring as a minor inconvenience. Snoring can hide more serious problems that cause irreparable harm to men’s health. The only sure way to restore sound sleep to a man and his family is to seek help from a sleep center.

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