It is haunting and somewhat depressing to know that the person, who is going to sleep besides you, is going to snore all night long. Even worse, in the morning when you will be complaining about it he won't remember anything.

Snoring happens when you can't move air freely through your nose and mouth during sleep. Often caused by the narrowing of your airway, either from poor sleep posture or abnormalities of the soft tissues in your throat. A narrow airway gets in the way of smooth breathing and creates the sound of snoring.

Snoring is not an illness but it can be a symptom. Just as a cough can be a symptom of pneumonia, snoring can be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder characterized by snoring, labored breathing and repetitive obstructed pauses or gasps in a person's breathing during sleep. The obstructed pauses result from complete obstruction or blockage of the airway and may be associated with decreases in oxygen levels. Typically, the obstruction is terminated by an arousal, that is, the snorer briefly wakes up--leading to fragmented, less restful sleep.

Obstructive sleep apnea can cause excessive daytime sleepiness, decreased attention and poor concentration, and decreased energy levels. The consequences of these behavioral problems can be quite severe and include motor vehicle accidents if a sufferer becomes inattentive or falls asleep while driving. Obstructive sleep apnea is also causally related to vascular complications such as hypertension. Snoring without evidence of obstructive sleep apnea may be an independent risk factor for hypertension and the daytime behavioral problems mentioned above, but how snoring alone causes problems remains unknown.

Snoring also occurs in children. Researchers have found that 20 percent of normal children snore occasionally and 7 percent to 10 percent of children snore every night. In many cases, children who snore are perfectly healthy, but about 1 percent of children who snore have obstructive sleep apnea. Children with sleep apnea may snore at night and exhibit decreased attention during the day. There is also concern that children with sleep apnea have symptoms similar to those children diagnosed with attention-deficit disorder. In children, the most common cause of sleep apnea is enlarged tonsils and adenoids, and treatment consists of surgical removal of the tonsils and adenoids.