Do you hear stories of your snoring when you wake up in the morning? Is your significant other not able to get a good night’s sleep because of it? If so, you might wonder whether this means you have sleep apnea and need a CPAP device — or even if a CPAP would help with the snoring in the first place.
As it turns out, snoring means you may need a CPAP, but that’s not always the case. We’ll share the specifics about which types of snorers might require the use of a CPAP, as well as whether CPAPs can help reduce snoring.
Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Snoring1 usually happens because your upper airway narrows when you sleep, causing the tissues in the back of your throat to partially block the passageway. When you breathe, the air rattles this tissue, which is what’s causing the well-known noise.
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which your breathing repeatedly starts and stops2 while you sleep, and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the more prevalent form of this disorder. OSA means that the throat muscles relax so much that it causes a blockage in the airway.2
Snoring and sleep apnea are linked because loud snoring is a sign of sleep apnea.2 However, just because you snore, this doesn’t mean you have sleep apnea. That’s why it’s important to look for other signs of sleep apnea so you can get a better understanding as to whether or not you might have sleep apnea, in which case you’d want to consult your doctor as soon as possible.
Is It Snoring or Sleep Apnea?
Along with loud snoring, there are other sleep apnea symptoms you can look out for. The following symptoms are associated with sleep apnea2:
- Gaps in breathing while you sleep
- Waking up gasping for air
- Waking up with a dry mouth
- Morning headaches
- Trouble staying asleep
- Excessive daytime sleepiness
- Trouble concentrating during the day
- Feeling irritable
If you or your partner notice these symptoms in addition to your snoring, then you should consult your doctor, who can recommend you for a sleep study to see if you have sleep apnea. If, after the sleep study, they diagnose you with sleep apnea, then they may recommend you start using a CPAP machine to help treat it.
Do CPAP Machines Prevent Snoring?
CPAP machines are designed to help people with sleep apnea breathe better when they sleep. They do this by delivering pressurized air into your airway to keep it open. As such, snoring is less likely to happen (or be as severe) when you use a CPAP machine.
Additional Tips to Prevent Snoring
Along with CPAP, there are other snoring remedies you can try out. Some of these, such as lifestyle changes, can be useful for those whose snoring isn’t linked to sleep apnea, whereas others are alternatives to sleep apnea CPAP treatment.
- Weight loss – Along with OSA, people who are overweight are at an increased risk of snoring in general.1 In this case, losing weight could alleviate snoring. Learn more about the connection between weight and sleep here.
- Avoid alcohol at night – Have you ever heard your significant other snore after drinking close to bedtime? This is because alcohol relaxes the muscles in your mouth and throat.1 If you notice this happening, try to cut back on that after-dinner wine.
- Fix nasal problems – Sometimes people snore because of a stuffy nose or deviated septum.1 In this case, dealing with nasal congestion or receiving treatment for a deviated septum could prevent snoring.
- Quit smoking – According to experts, quitting smoking3 could help relieve snoring.
- Prioritize better sleep – When you’re sleep-deprived, your throat can relax even more, resulting in snoring.1 Therefore, make sure you prioritize getting good sleep every night.
- Adjust your sleep position – Sleeping on the back can make snoring worse.1 So instead, try sleeping on your side or stomach.
- Sleep on an incline – If you’re a die-hard back sleeper, another tip is to keep your head elevated. Use a wedge pillow or an adjustable base to elevate your head, which should keep nasal passages open enough to reduce snoring even when you sleep on your back.
In some cases, OSA patients are advised to use an oral appliance. This mouthpiece positions the jaw, tongue, and soft palate to help keep the airway open enough for you to breathe properly and avoid snoring.3
Learn More: Best Snoring Mouthpiece
Nasal strips are adhesive strips you place on your nose to widen your nostrils, which should help you breathe without snoring. However, nasal strips won’t work if you snore because of obstructive sleep apnea.3
Some people also turn to surgery to ease OSA symptoms, including snoring. This is usually considered a last resort if other OSA treatments are unsuccessful. There are several surgery options for OSA, but in general, these procedures are focused on opening up the airway for better breathing.
Frequently Asked Questions
If I snore, does it mean I have sleep apnea?
No, if you snore, this doesn’t necessarily mean you have sleep apnea. Loud snoring is a sign of sleep apnea, but it’s usually accompanied by other symptoms like gasping for air during sleep, excessive daytime sleepiness, morning headaches, and trouble staying asleep.2 Talking with your doctor and taking a sleep study can help determine whether or not you have sleep apnea.
What is the difference between snoring and sleep apnea?
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which a person experiences difficulty breathing when they sleep. Snoring, on the other hand, happens for various reasons and doesn’t always indicate sleep apnea. The two often go hand-in-hand, but it doesn’t mean you have sleep apnea only because you snore.
Will a CPAP machine keep me from snoring?
A CPAP machine could decrease snoring as it’s designed to help you breathe when you sleep. The machine pushes air into your nose and/or mouth to keep the airway open for the air to pass freely. Without any airway obstructions, it’s less likely there will be any rattling of the muscle that typically causes snoring.
Olivera is a content writer for Sleep Advisor and is enthusiastic about sleep. She firmly believes in the benefits of daytime naps on top of getting a full 8-hour sleep at night.
- 1. “Snoring”. Mayo Clinic. Last modified December 22, 2017. –
- 2. “Sleep apnea”. Mayo Clinic. Last modified April 6, 2024. –
- 3. “Snoring: Diagnosis & treatment”. Mayo Clinic. Last modified December 22, 2017. –