An EmpowHER report examines the science behind snoring.

When a person snores, it’s a symptom indicating that something is going on with their breathing while they sleep. The journal Scientific American spoke with University of Michigan sleep expert Lynn D’Andrea for more answers.

She explained that snoring is “the combination of turbulent airflow through the hypotonic airway structures that results in the harsh vibratory noise known as snoring. Any membranous part of the airway lacking cartilaginous support, including the tongue, soft palate, uvula, tonsillar pillars and pharyngeal walls, can vibrate. When you sleep, muscle tone throughout your body decreases, or becomes hypotonic. This relaxation of the upper airway muscles during sleep may decrease the size of the airway space and cause airflow limitation and turbulence.”

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