Snoring is the noise that occurs from nasal and oral passage when sleeping. People snore due to the partial obstruction of the airflow in the area where the tongue and the upper throat meet.  Snoring may occur occasionally, or it may be habitual when people snore every night. It may also vary from being mild to very loud, and usually affects overweight people more.

Snoring can be caused by some physical features of your mouth, such as bulky throat tissue, especially in overweight people, or a thick or long soft palate or an elongate uvula (tissue hanging from the soft palate) may obstruct your airways, as can a deviated nasal septum. Poor muscle tone of the throat and tongue muscles, which allows them to relax relatively easily, may cause them to collapse and fall into the airway. Other causes of snoring that occurs occasionally include nasal disorders, such as sinusitis, nasal polyps or rhinitis, which can cause an obstruction in the nose and your airways. 

Snoring can contribute to poor sleep patterns, disturbed sleep and also a condition called sleep apnea in some cases, whereby your breathing may get temporarily disrupted while sleeping. Obstructive sleep apnea may also put a strain on the heart. In some cases, snoring may be a symptom of an underlying medical disorder. Therefore habitual snoring must not be ignored and it’s advisable to have it evaluated by an ENT (Eye-Nose-Throat) specialist.

Noisy breathing while sleeping that often disturbs you and your partner, is the most obvious and common symptom of snoring. Occasional snoring may not be a cause for concern. However snoring accompanied by the following symptoms may indicate the presence of sleep apnea and must not be taken lightly:

  • Repeated cessation of breathing at night causing one to wake up.

  • Excessive tiredness in day time.

  • Poor concentration.

  • Daytime sleepiness.

  • Chest pain.

  • Headaches.

  • Bed wetting (nocturnal enuresis). ​

If you encounter any of the above symptoms, you must consult an ENT specialist at The Aga Khan University Hospital to get expert medical advice. You can safely and privately discuss your symptoms, gain advice and receive personalized treatment and care from our expert and highly trained staff at the Eye and ENT Service Line
Your time with your doctor may be limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.​

Your doctor will ask questions and review your symptoms to make an initial diagnosis. It is a good idea to take your partner along for the doctor’s visit as your partner may be able to tell the doctors some additional information about your symptoms noted while you may have been sleeping. Further physical examination of your nose and visible parts of the airways may also be conducted to identify any visible obstructions. You can ask your spouse to make a small video clip of the snoring pattern at night in your mobile phone to show the doctor how is the breathing during sleep.

In some cases, your doctor may request X-rays, or imaging tests, such as the CT (Computerized Tomography) scan or the MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) to identify any anatomical differences which need to be rectified.

If your symptoms are very severe, your doctor may request a sleep study to observe your sleep pattern and physiological changes in your body while sleeping, such as breathing rate, heart rate, brain waves, blood oxygen level and eye and leg movements at the various sleep stages. Make sure you discuss the procedure of the sleep study in detail with your doctor, including how long it will take, where and how it will be conducted and any other concerns or queries you may have. ​

The first step to treating your snoring disorder is to make some lifestyle modifications. Some measures you can take to make changes in your lifestyle include:

  • Losing weight.

  • Changing your sleeping position, such as sleeping on the side rather than your back.

  • Avoiding smoking and alcohol.

  • Improving your sleeping habits, such as resting enough and not working long hours without sleep.

  • Taking a hot shower before bed to help nasal passages open up.

  • Frequently changing pillows and dusting your ceiling fans to get rid of allergens.

  • Drinking plenty of fluids.

For serious snoring problems related to sleep apnea, the following are some treatment options which your doctor will recommend:

  • Oral appliances that will help keep your nasal passage and airways open.

  • A CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) appliance which forces air into the back of your throat with the help of pressure.

  • Laser surgery to shorten the soft palate and the uvula.

  • Traditional surgery or use of radiofrequency procedures to trim excess tissue from the throat.

Make sure you discuss the risks, complications and benefits of these treatment options in detail with your doctor. You can be sure to receive the most professional medical advice for the improvement of your symptoms from doctors working for the Eye and ENT Service Line of The Aga Khan University Hospital. ​

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage. ​

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage. 

The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.