Life's Little Mysteries

Why Do People Snore?

Snoring, Throat, Obesity
Snoring can have many causes. (Image credit: Ken Kiser | Morguefile)

The beastly sound of snoring can awaken even the heaviest sleeper. But why do people snore? It's not because your slumber pal is trying to stir you on purpose.

As you fall asleep, the muscles that keep your breathing passage open begin to relax, while your throat contracts. The tightening throat means a snug journey for passing air.

For some people, this narrowing causes air to push forcefully through the throat, disturbing the relaxed muscle tissues in the back of the throat, causing them to vibrate. The vibrating tissue produces the sound familiarly known as snoring.

Some common causes of snoring: propping your head up too high with pillows, allergies leading to mucus in your throat and obesity.

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Michelle Bryner
Michelle writes about technology and chemistry for Live Science. She has a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the Salisbury University, a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering from the University of Delaware and a degree in Science Journalism from New York University. She is an active Muay Thai kickboxer at Five Points Academy and loves exploring NYC with friends.