Why Do Men Snore More Than Women?
by Dr. Scott Bolding
Snoring is a problem for a lot of adults. In fact, 45% of adults report snoring occasionally and 24% say they snore regularly. Sometimes snoring can be a sign of a more serious issue like obstructive sleep apnea. But most of the time it’s just irritating.
While snoring does happen to both genders, men snore more than women. Studies have shown that 40% of men report snoring whereas only 24% of women snore.
So why do men snore more than women? Well, men snore more because of their biology. The way men are built physically sets them up for snoring. In the article below we’ll take a deeper look at how that works and what men can do to reduce snoring.
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What Causes Snoring?
Before we look at why men snore more than women, we need to understand how snoring happens in the first place.
As you fall asleep the muscles in your upper airway start to relax. For some people, those muscles block the upper airway. When air passes through it makes that tissue vibrate. And that’s how you get the snoring noises.
Why Do Men Snore More?
Now let’s talk about why men snore more than women. As we stated above, the main reason men snore more is because of their biology.
More Tissue and Space in the Airway
The first reason why men snore more than women is that they have more space and tissue in their upper airways.
All people have a space in the back of their mouths called the oropharynx. When you lie down the tissue in the upper airway collapses into this space. For men, this space is larger. And they have more tissue to fill it. When they lie down their airway is blocked more than it is in women. So, air has a harder time getting through while they’re sleeping.
The size of this tissue and their airway also makes men snore louder.
Men Carry Weight in Their Chests
Obesity is a common cause of snoring in men. Men and women carry excess weight differently. Women carry it on their hips and thighs. Men, however, carry weight on their chests and necks.
When men are overweight it creates fat deposits on their necks. This excess fat can block their airways when they lie down. Extra fat can also push against the chest, which decreases lung capacity. Reduced lung capacity causes the upper airway to collapse. Then, the air has a harder time getting through, which leads to snoring.
Hormones Play a Role
Finally, hormones are another reason why men snore more than women.
Both men and women have hormones that contribute to whether they snore or not. For men, testosterone has been linked to increased snoring. Studies have found that there is a connection between the male hormone and the airway collapsing. However, these studies have not been able to show why they’re connected.
Women’s hormones actually help them snore less. Progesterone, a hormone that increases during pregnancy, promotes steady ventilation. Better ventilation causes a drop in airflow, which makes the airway less likely to collapse. Estrogen makes the tongue easier to contract. That reduces the likelihood of it falling back into the airway. As these hormones decrease during menopause, however, women may find that they start snoring more.
What Can Men Do to Reduce Snoring?
If your partner has been complaining about your snoring there are a few things you can do about it.
First of all, if you snore a lot we encourage you to go see your doctor. Snoring isn’t always a sign of a serious issue. But it can be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea. If this is the case, your doctor can help you develop a treatment plan, which will help you breathe better and reduce snoring.
If your snoring is not caused by sleep apnea there are some lifestyle changes that you can make. You can try sleeping on your side instead of your back. This keeps gravity from pulling your tissue into your airway. Nasal strips can also help keep everything open for air to pass through. You can also try to quit smoking, as smoking is a risk factor for both sleep apnea and snoring.
We’ve already discussed how obesity is a common cause of snoring in men. Losing weight can be difficult but it can help reduce your snoring.
Some Men May Need to Seek Medical Help for Their Snoring. (2021, October 6). Verywell Health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/why-men-snore-2328459
Vinopal, L. (2022, December 19). Why Do Men Snore More Than Women? Science Explains. Fatherly. https://www.fatherly.com/health/why-men-snore-women-according-science
Why Are Men More Likely to Snore?: Houston Sinus Surgery: Ear, Nose & Throat Doctors. (n.d.). https://www.houstonsinussurgery.com/blog/why-are-men-more-likely-to-snore
Men Do Snore More Than Women
While it does happen for both genders, studies have shown that men snore more than women. This is because men’s biology sets them up for it. The size and amount of tissue they have in their airways are major factors. This causes the airway to collapse more than it does in women. The way men carry their weight and male hormones also play a role.
If you snore occasionally then there’s nothing to worry about. However, if you snore more frequently, you may need to see your doctor. They can rule out problems like sleep apnea. They can also help you come up with a plan for how to reduce your snoring.