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Does drinking wine cause snoring? – ask Decanter

Does snoring get worse after drinking wine...?

Does drinking wine cause snoring? – ask Decanter

Jane Williams, Brighton, asks: Is there a causal relationship between my husband’s snoring and the amount of wine he consumes?

Michael Apstein MD replies:

People usually snore when the oropharynx – the part between the back of the mouth and the top of the trachea, or windpipe – becomes partially blocked.

Alcohol relaxes muscles, including in the oropharynx, which can allow tissues in the back of mouth to collapse and obstruct normal breathing.

Despite this logical explanation, the connection between snoring and alcohol intake has not been widely studied.

Nonetheless, doctors specialising in disorders of sleep, including snoring, recommend avoidance of alcohol, especially before sleep.

Since plenty of people drink wine and do not snore, it may not be the sole cause of your spouse’s snoring.

Smoking, sleeping on one’s back and obesity, to name just a few, are all associated with increased snoring.

I suggest an experiment; don’t drink any wine for three or four nights and see if snoring improves.

Repeat the experiment a couple of times during the month to be sure the results are consistent.

Michael Apstein MD is assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a freelance wine writer. Edited for Decanter.com by Ellie Douglas. 


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