When we go to sleep at night, we all breathe more shallow. That's normal. Our blood pressure and heart rate also relax and get a bit lower.
But if you are heavier, have a thicker neck or born with a smaller throat, then when you sleep at night, your throat gets smaller and you may snore. Some people snore and bother everyone else but do not bother the person who snores, they are just snorers and we don't treat them.
But for those with obstructive sleep apnea, what happens is that your body has to work so hard to breath through a small hole and after awhile, it stops from too much work. Your oxygen goes down and carbon dioxide high from lack of breathing and your body goes into a panic mode. Your blood pressure and heart rate shoot up and your body wakes you up to breathe. You may not remember the episodes but your body does. That constant cycle throughout the night keeps you from getting quality rest. That's obstructive sleep apnea which can be treated.
Find more information on snoring in A.D.A.M. Multimedia Encyclopedia.
Dr. Peter Yau, Director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit, Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center (HBMC) and Respiratory Care, Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center Sleep Medicine, also serves as Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine with the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine. Dr. Yau's patient emphasis is COPD diagnosis and treatment; lung cancer diagnosis and treatment; bronchoscopy, endobronchial ultrasound biopsy; asthma; percutaneous tracheostomy; interstitial lung disease; pulmonary hypertension diagnosis.