What Causes Someone to Snore When Sleeping on Their Side?

While some people only snore when lying on their backs, others experience the problem regardless of their sleeping position. If the cause of your snoring is the result of your tongue blocking your throat because you are lying on your back, it can be remedied by sleeping on your side. But if you still snore while side sleeping, something else is causing the issue.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Facial Structure

Some people snore because of the way their facial features are structured, primarily the nose and throat. If you naturally have a deviated septum, which is the space through which air flows in your nose, or you are experiencing inflammation of nasal tissues due to a cold or allergies, you are more likely to snore, despite sleeping on your side. Enlarged tonsils or adenoids can also contribute to a snoring problem. While nasal issues are more difficult to correct, removal of your tonsils and adenoids can clear up a snoring problem caused by these features.


When you fall into a deep sleep your muscles naturally relax, which can itself lead to snoring if your muscles become too relaxed. However, as you grow older, your muscle tone begins to deteriorate naturally. The weaker your throat muscles become, the more relaxed they will be when you enter into deep sleep stages. This results in heavier snoring as you age, even if you previously did not experience snoring issues.


Those who are overweight, particularly those who have more fatty tissue around the neck area, are also more apt to snore, despite sleeping position. The extra weight found on your neck can narrow your breathing passages once the muscles relax as you sleep. Narrowed passages will cause you to snore as the air vibrates the tissues as it passes through. Sleeping on your side, however, can reduce the effects of snoring due to being overweight.

Substance Use

Because snoring is generally either caused by your anatomical features or due to the relaxation of muscles, it makes sense that using certain substances can increase your snoring, even when sleeping on your side. For instance, alcohol serves as a muscle relaxant. Drinking alcoholic beverages, particularly right before bed, can further relax your throat muscles, causing you to snore. A smoker is also more likely to experience snoring in all sleeping positions because of increased muscle relaxation, as well as congestion caused by smoking. Sedatives can also contribute to your snoring problem.