Snoring, apnea and nasal resistance in men and women

J Otolaryngol. 1991 Feb;20(1):57-61.


To examine if gender and airway resistance (nasal and pulmonary) influence the loudness and intensity of snoring, we prospectively studied 370 unselected patients referred to our sleep clinic because of heavy snoring and a possibility of sleep apnea. All patients had full nocturnal polysomnography, including measurements of snoring using a calibrated microphone-sound meter system, and determination of pulmonary (Raw) and nasal resistance (Rna). Snoring was quantified by reporting the number of snores per hour of sleep (snoring index--SI) and the maximum nocturnal sound intensity (dBmax). The patient population comprised 77 females and 293 males, ranging in age from 12 to 80 years. Based on the apnea/hypopnea index (AHI) we separated all patients into the apneic and non-apneic groups. There were 201 non-apneic snorers (AHI less than or equal to 10) and 160 apneic snorers (AHI greater than 10). There was no significant difference in snoring frequency, maximum nocturnal sound intensity, nasal and pulmonary resistance between men and women or between apneic and non-apneic snorers. Stepwise, forward, multiple linear regression analysis showed that body mass index and nasal resistance correlate significantly with the snoring index (R2 = 0.29, p less than 0.005), while age and body mass index correlate only weakly, but significantly, with the maximum nocturnal sound intensity. We conclude that (1) men snore similarly to women, and (2) obesity and nasal resistance are important determinants of the frequency of snoring. It follows that measures taken to reduce weight and decrease nasal resistance may be of benefit in reducing snoring.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Airway Resistance / physiology*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Lung / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nasal Obstruction / complications
  • Nose / physiopathology
  • Obesity / complications
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sex Factors
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / complications
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / etiology
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / physiopathology*
  • Snoring / complications
  • Snoring / etiology
  • Snoring / physiopathology*
  • Sound