What is the Difference Between Snoring and Sleep Apnea?

What is snoring?

Snoring is the vibration of respiratory structures and the sound is caused by obstructed air movement during breathing while sleeping. The sound can range from soft to very loud (like a lawnmower) and is more prominent in men than women, people who are overweight and older people.  Snoring during sleep is a common sign of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

Occasional snoring after indulging in alcohol or during a cold is usually not very serious and is mostly a nuisance for your bed partner. However, people who are constantly snoring can be damaging their own sleep and health as well as their partner’s. This is why its important to get help with snoring as soon as you recognize it.

What is sleep apnea?

The Greek word “apnea” literally means “without breath.” Sleep apnea is an involuntary cessation of breathing that occurs while you sleep. There are three types of sleep apnea: obstructive, central, and mixed. Of the three, obstructive sleep apnea, often abbreviated as OSA, is the most common. People with untreated sleep apnea stop or have limited breathing during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times during the night. In most cases the sleeper is unaware of these breath stoppages because they don’t trigger a full awakening.

Some studies indicate over 80% of all cases of sleep apnea remain undiagnosed. This may be because so many people are unaware that they have the problem until it’s too late.