Snoring can do a lot more harm than just annoy your partner—it can lead to poor sleep quality and quantity. About 90 million Americans suffer from snoring; as many as half of those may have the sleep disorder Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). While OSA almost always causes loud and regular snoring, just because you snore doesn’t mean that you have OSA.
Sleep apnea is a serious condition in which your breathing is obstructed, causing you to wake up in order to start breathing again. Regular snoring doesn’t typically wake you up. One way to tell the difference between snoring and OSA is to look for the symptoms of sleep apnea: waking up in the middle of the night gasping for air, continual sleepiness during the day, and always snoozing with your mouth open.
Another way to differentiate between regular snoring and sleep apnea is the type of snoring: Those with sleep apnea tend to snore more regularly and loudly, plus they often gasp for air in their sleep and you can sometimes hear them momentarily stop breathing. People with OSA have more of a choking sound to their snores.
Aside from OSA, these are a few other reasons that you may be snoring: