...all about SNORING

What happens when I snore?


  • When a person goes to sleep, the muscles in the body relax, including the muscles that hold the airway open when awake. In some people, the airway is narrow enough that the normal suction of breathing in causes the airway to vibrate.

  • It is the vibrating airway that causes the noise of snoring. With some people, the noise can be loud enough to be heard throughout the entire house.

Why should I care if I snore?

  • Snoring can have a significant impact on relationships. Tired people tend to be more irritable and short-tempered than people who have regular healthy sleep.

  • People who share a bed with a snorer can become frustrated with having their own sleep disturbed. A medical study in Sweden investigating wives of snoring men found the wives suffered symptoms of sleep disturbance such as poor short term memory and difficulty concentrating on tasks.

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It's not just the noise...

    Sleep quality

  • Airway nerves responding to the vibration of the muscles during snoring can send a signal to the brain that the snoring is actually the beginning of choking. The brain goes on alert, which results in poorer quality sleep and daytime tiredness.

  • The same process that causes sleep disturbance can have other related health problems (see below)

    Obstructive Sleep Apnoea 

  • Some people snore so badly the airway is sucked shut over and over throughout the night. This can happen hundreds of times a night, and is known as Obstructive Sleep Apnoea. Because sleep apnoea is so common and you can't tell easily if someone is just snoring or if they have sleep apnoea, you should always perorm a sleep test to check for apnoea before treating snoring.

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    Weight gain

  • Chronic fatigue arising from the disturbed sleep associated with snoring can stimulate appetite which leads to weight gain which in turn can make the snoring more problematic. Treatment of the snoring can break the cycle and assist sustainable weight loss through reduced appetite and increased energy for exercise.

  • Full bladder

  • Sleep disturbance throughout the night can prevent a person from producing the hormone that normally slows down urine production. People with problematic snoring are therefore more likely to need to go to the toilet during the night. Treatment of problematic snoring allows the hormone to be produced normally during uninterrupted deep sleep, so the bladder slows down for the night as it should.

    Lower libido

  • Chronic fatigue arising from problematic snoring or obstructive sleep apnoea can cause loss of libido, which in some cases can develop into impotence. Treatment of the snoring will often restore both desire and function straight away.

How can you help me?

  • The doctors and health professionals at the SLEEP WELL CLINIC provide comprehensive home sleep testing and treatment services for anyone suffering problematic snoring, or possible sleep apnoea. Consulting doctors are available by appointment throughout New Zealand:

  • We also offer testing and treatment services to patients in other centres using portable monitors and extensive phone or video link support for consultations. Wherever you are, our therapy support team are available throughout the week by telephone to help you with your treatment once you get started.

DR ALEX BARTLE and his team of health professionals at the SLEEP WELL CLINIC provide comprehensive assessment and treatment services throughout New Zealand for children and adults suffering sleep disorders such as SNORING, SLEEP APNOEA, INSOMNIA, and PARASOMNIAS.


Surgery can be considered for some very mild types of snoring. If there are anatomical features such as large tonsils crowding the airway, and no evidence of apnoea from a sleep test, a variety of surgical techniques such as removing tissue at the back of the throat might help reduce the noise of snoring for a time. Other techniques such as radiofrequency ablation can be used to scar the inside of the soft palate or the uvula.

  • Pros: No need for on-going management

  • Cons: Lower success than MAS or CPAP - sometimes no benefit at all.

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Mandibular Splint

Mandibular Advancement Splints (MAS) are mouthguard-like devices that are adjusted to pull the bottom jaw forward during sleep so that the airway becomes more open. There are several designs available, but not all are the same.

  • Pros: Small and portable and can help with snoring and mild sleep apnoea

  • Cons: Not suitable for everyone. Because of this, we offer a trial splint that can be used to work out the correct settings and ensure the MAS is right for you before committing to a specialist model.

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CPAP Therapy

CPAP stands for Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. Modern CPAP therapy has increasingly been used to manage any severity of OSA and more recently, even social snoring. CPAP uses a small increase in airway pressure through a mask to stop snoring and sleep apnoea. The Sleep Well Clinic has a clinical support team who help people try CPAP for a few weeks before making a long-term decision.

  • Pros: Most likely treatment to eliminate snoring and sleep apnoea

  • Cons: Less portable than MAS or surgery.

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Contact us

Freephone: 0800 22 75 33

Freefax: 0800 22 75 44

e: contact@sleepwellclinic.co.nz