And what to do about them.

Wavebreakmedia/Getty Images

We've got good news, snorers: you're not alone. In fact, according to The National Sleep Foundation, snoring is a common problem among all ages and both genders, affecting approximately 90 million American adults—37 million on a regular basis.

The bad news is, your tendency to saw logs when you're sleeping could be the result of an underlying medical condition. Jagdeep Bijwadia, a board-certified doctor in internal, sleep, and pulmonary diseases medicine, told HuffPost that the majority of people who snore "are unaware of why they snore or what snoring could indicate about their overall health."

In addition to being a telltale sign of sleep apnea, recent studies have shown that snoring can lead to a high risk for hardening of the arteries, a leading cause of stroke, and general cardiac issues.

Fortunately for you and your partner, in many cases, snoring is caused by things you can control.

You've Been Drinking

Sure, a drink or two might make it easier to fall asleep after a hard day, but according to Bijwadia, alcohol relaxes your airway muscles, which can lead to snoring even in people who don't usually snore.

"And the less restorative and deep sleep you get each night, the more it builds and causes you to become more disoriented and foggier throughout the day," he told HuffPost.

You Sleep on Your Back

As Marcella M. Frank, a sleep medicine specialist at Deborah Heart and Lung Center in Browns Mills, New Jersey, explained to HuffPost, sleeping on your back may make you much more likely to snore.

"When someone sleeps on the back, there is a natural tendency for the jaw and tongue to drop into the back of the throat," Frank explained.

Sleeping on your side, however, can help reduce snoring by protecting the airway from collapsing.

You're Overweight

Excess body weight can lead to decreased muscle tone and an increase in tissue around the throat and neck, both of which can cause snoring. Maintaining a healthy weight may lessen this.

WATCH: Here's Why You Shouldn't Sleep with Your Dog

You're Not Young Anymore

Snoring is more common as we age "simply because of floppy tissue" in the bodies, Frank told HuffPost. You can address this by doing exercises like singing, or with nasal dilators like Breathe Right strips.

Advertisement