Q: My partner says my snoring is getting louder. Why would this be?
A: It could be age-related. When you drift into deep sleep, the muscles in your soft palate (the roof of your mouth) and the tissues in your throat relax; snoring happens when they relax enough that they vibrate as you inhale and exhale, sometimes even partially blocking your airway. As you get older, the muscles in your throat (like all your muscles, alas) become more lax, which can make snoring worse.
Other possible causes: recent weight gain and drinking alcohol. Gaining weight also makes you lose muscle tone, even in your throat, and weaker throat muscles can cause more vibration. Similarly, when you drink before bedtime, the alcohol relaxes your throat muscles.
For a quick fix, try nasal strips. They stick to your nostrils and the bridge of your nose, keeping nasal passages open while you're asleep.
If your snoring gets increasingly louder or you have other symptoms-including excessive daytime sleepiness, headaches when you awaken, or waking up to catch your breath-your doctor may suggest that you visit a sleep specialist to check for sleep apnea. This treatable condition, in which your breathing is disrupted periodically while you sleep, causes you to wake up repeatedly.