Sleep and Aging


Snoring is an example of sleep-disordered breathing – a condition that makes it more difficult to breathe during sleep. When severe, sleep-disordered breathing disorders may cause people to wake up often at night and be drowsy during the day.

A Common Condition

Snoring is a very common condition affecting nearly 40 percent of adults. It is more common among older people and those who are overweight. When severe, snoring not only causes frequent awakenings at night and daytime sleepiness, it can also disrupt a bed partner's sleep.

Snoring is caused by a partial blockage of the airway passage from the nose and mouth to the lungs. The blockage causes the tissues in these passages to vibrate, leading to the noise produced when someone snores.

Lifestyle Changes May Help

If you are among approximately 40% of normal adults who snore, you can try these lifestyle changes, which may help you stop snoring.

  • Change your sleep position.
  • Lose weight. Weight loss helps some people but not everyone -- thin people snore, too.
  • Limit alcohol intake and avoid taking sedative medications.
  • Use caution before you self-treat with over-the-counter sprays and pills until you talk with your doctor.