I am 33 years old, and I have been told by my parents and my wife that I snore. My question is - what is the reason for snoring? Is it a symptom of bad health?

  • 1
    Hi, this is a good question, but the part asking about a cure should probably be a different question. There is more than enough that should be said here in an answer about the pathophysiology of snoring and the possible association with poor health outcomes without adding a treatment aspect to it. Feel free to ask that question separately.
    – Susan
    Oct 30, 2015 at 21:59

2 Answers 2


As explained here [1], it is the price we've paid for our ability to speak:

Obstructive sleep apnea is an anatomic illness caused by evolutionary changes in the human upper respiratory tract. These changes include shortening of the maxillary, ethmoid, palatal and mandibular bones, acute oral cavity-skull base angulation, pharyngeal collapse with anterior migration of the foramen magnum, posterior migration of the tongue into the pharynx, descent of the larynx and shortening of the soft palate with loss of the epiglottic–soft palate lock-up. While it is commonly believed that some of these changes had positive selection pressures for bipedalism, binocular vision and locomotion, development of voice, speech and language ultimately became a substantial contributing factor. Here it is shown that these changes are the anatomic basis of obstructive sleep apnea.

Many people who don't have obstructive sleep apnea, will snore as a result of these evolutionary adaptations. You can let your doctor examine your throat, if you feel drowsy during the day you can do a sleep test to see of you suffer from sleep apnea. But snoring in itself doesn't necessarily have to be due to a pathological problem that needs to be treated.

[1] T. M. Davidson, The Great Leap Forward: the anatomic basis for the acquisition of speech and obstructive sleep apnea, Sleep Medicine 4 (2003), 185–194.

  • It would be helpful to give the actual reference with the author’s name, etc. Your link is timing out on me at the moment, and links are not necessarily reliable in the long term. Plus it’s courteous to actually name the person you’re quoting, especially if that constitutes the majority of your answer.
    – Susan
    Oct 30, 2015 at 21:54
  • @Susan I've added the ref. Oct 31, 2015 at 3:31

Snoring is the sound produced by vibrating structures of the upper airway, typically during inhalation. Those who have enlarged tonsils, an enlarged tongue or excess weight around the neck are more prone to snoring. When you sleep, muscle tone throughout your body decreases, or becomes hypotonic that results in the harsh vibratory noise.

  • Welcome to health SE :-). Please note that reliable references are strongly encouraged here and that answers without them risk being deleted. You can always edit your question to include references. For more information on health SE policies please have a look at the help center and meta. Thanks!
    – Lucky
    Apr 9, 2016 at 20:18

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