Do more men snore than women?

25th May 2012
Do more men snore than women? (iStock)

Asked by: Miranda Calder, Windsor

Yes, about twice as many. Snoring is sometimes caused by obstruction of the nose or by excessive growth of adenoid tissue, but some is a consequence of the fact that we humans can speak.

When language evolved our voice boxes had to drop lower in the neck, creating a space behind the tongue called the oropharynx. The tongue, like other muscles, relaxes during sleep and it can then fall into this space, especially if we lie on our back, obstructing breathing or causing snoring. This space is larger in men than women, which may explain why men tend to snore while women are more likely to wake up. The result is that the men stay asleep and keep snoring... while we poor women lie awake and have to endure the noise.