What causes snoring and sleep apnoea?
Snoring happens when air passes over soft tissues in the throat during sleep. This causes the tissues to vibrate and produce sound when you breathe. Snoring is very common, with an estimated 30% to 40% of Australians snoring at night.
Mild snoring is not usually a problem, unless it disturbs other people around you. However, loud snoring or interrupted breathing can be more serious. These are often signs of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).
Sleep apnoea occurs when the throat closes completely during sleep and air can no longer pass through. The body responds by forcing a strong breath, which may cause the sufferer to wake up choking or gasping. In the most severe cases, this can happen hundreds of times every night.