Will a CPAP Machine Stop My Snoring?

December 17, 2016 | By Peter Stanza | Filed in: CPAP Advice.

The short of it is, yes, a CPAP machine will stop your snoring.

Although, I definitely do not recommend that everyone that snores goes on CPAP. In my opinion, that´s just overkill.

This is assuming that it is setup correctly, with the correct pressure and the mask is fitting well. Afterall, a leaking mask can be louder than your snoring.

To understand how a CPAP machine corrects snoring, you need to understand what causes snoring, as well as how a CPAP machine works.

snoring man

What causes snoring?

In the most basic sense, snoring occurs when the airways vibrate due to the airflow. This can happen in the nose or throat, wherever there is narrowing of the airways, turbulent airflow, and floppy airways.

What do we mean by floppy airways? These are airways where the muscle tone that normally keeps them open relaxes during sleep. For lack of a better word, they become ´floppy´ and the airflow of breathing causes them to vibrate, resulting in the snoring sound.

snoring koala

How does a CPAP machine work?

CPAP stands for continuous positive airway pressure, and this sort of describes how it works. By maintaining (not pumping, this is a common misconception) a constant pressure through the machine, CPAP hose and your airways, it splints the airways open. Kind of like a balloon with the end tied off, the increased pressure holds the airways open.

ResMed S9 Machine with Quattro FX Mask

photo credit: CPAP via photopin (license)

How does this stop the snoring

The great thing about CPAP, compared to other therapies is that it treats airway obstruction no matter what part of the airway it is occurring in. In this way, it is indiscriminate. This is compared to say mandibular advancement devices (MADs) that only treat snoring caused by the bottom jaw falling back and contributing to occluding the airway. UPPP surgery is another option (Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty Surgery); I hope I have spelt that correctly; which involves surgically altering specific parts of the airways causing the obstructions. CPAP will treat the snoring, no matter where it is arising from.

Although not entirely correct, for our purposes we can assume that CPAP therapy pressurizes all of the upper airways the same (there are some drops in pressure as we go further down the airways… because.. physics). By doing this, it maintains a compliant airway by effectively ´splinting´ open the part of the airway that was trying to fall in on itself. Any part of the airway, no matter if it was in the nose or the back of the throat (the most common place a snore arises from). Effectively, no collapse, no ´rushing air´, no vibrating floppy airways.

The short story

If you are snoring whilst using the CPAP machine, it isn´t working properly.

However, it may not be the best option for you. Personally, I think that CPAP is very much overkill for someone simply trying to fix their snoring. There


2 comments on “Will a CPAP Machine Stop My Snoring?

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