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Snoring On The Exhale

by Grant Neel
(Oklahoma City)

I'm a male in my 40's and have snored moderately for most of my adult life with no issues with sleeping or complaints of loud snoring. About 6 years ago my snoring changed from the more typical snoring on the inhale, to a snore while exhaling. I rationalized this behavior and considered it an advantage and aid to propel my stage or depth of sleep.

Until recently, I didn't consider that this type of snoring could have a significant impact on my blood gas ratios while sleeping. Active Internet research reveals practically no distinction of snoring on inhale or exhale, yet it seems the two would have distinct outcomes. Likening the habit to Pursed-lip breathing for COPD therapy, I must admit the chronic cough I had most of my life seems to be gone this last 2 or 3 years. However, I have developed psoriasis as a consolation. Are there any diagnosis, theory or known hazards or advantages to my tendency to snore this way?

Thank you.


Comments for Snoring On The Exhale

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Oct 20, 2010
Snoring On The Exhale
by: Kevin Morton

Hey Grant, thanks for writing in with this. I don't know anything myself about the distinction between snoring on the inhale and snoring on the exhale. I'll see if I can find anything out with this, and if I do I'll update this page with whatever info I'm able to get. In the meantime, please share with us if you find our anything yourself.

Best wishes,

Oct 24, 2010
Observations of snoring on exhale
by: Anonymous

I'm thankful that I'm not a snorer myself, BUT I've had 2 (female) partners over the years that have both snored on the exhale. Actually it seemed to me that it was more that their exhale through the nose was blocked ( seemingly in the back of the throat and not in the nasal cavity/nose itself ), and they would sleep also with their mouth closed. It's scary to watch because it looks like they stop breathing - they breathe in, but then they don't breathe out until the pressure builds up enough to be able to be forced out of the closed mouth. Often they would half wake themselves (and me) because of this constantly throughout the night. Neither complained of tiredness during the day. Before I met my 2nd partner I thought it was just a peculiar way my 1st wife slept - but it must be fairly common? Just thought I'd share the observation of what snoring on the exhale actually looks like for those that do it.

Nov 14, 2010
Snoring On The Exhale
by: Grant

Thanks for the feedback. I have been browsing around and it seems breathing is fundamentally important! (Who knew)? The human body has quite elaborate systems to regulate the O2 and CO2, yet it appears that breath-hold divers, through training, can reduce their hypercapnia response(getting too much CO2). I suspect that stress during the day could cause a similar conditioning. My most recent blood chem test did flag a high CO2 level so this added to my quest for info. Like the pursed-lip breathing, snoring on the exhale, I found it’s often common for young children to grunt to assist in expanding the alveoli (the tiny air sacks in the lungs). I also found that when our breathing is insufficient we can develop a condition of respiratory acidosis where the blood’s PH is too low. PH (potential Hydrogen) is a very important component of our immune system and a low PH seems responsible for a wide variety of health issues such as skin eruptions, back pain, fatigue and systemic fungal infections that have been associated with an additional list of complex health issues.

It appears we should put more daytime effort in breathing exercises so that our sleep time can be more relaxing and less stressful trying to compensate for insufficient breathing.

Feb 27, 2011
Co2 snoring
by: Anonymous

Grant, do you think psoriasis might be related with our breathing? That would be an interesting view, but haven't heard of much along those lines.

Kevin, are there any sleep studies that show a clear result of 'restricted inhale = lower o2 and restricted exhale = reduced co2 elimination? Thanks


May 04, 2013
Keep chin up while sleeping NEW
by: Claude

My thoughts on what people call snoring. I have been diagnosed with mild sleep apnea. I have a paralyzed left diaphragm so my supply of oxygen to my body comes mostly through one lung.

I am 85 and have an oxygen concentrator that I usually use at night. The machine malfunctioned the last two days and I found that I made a snoring sound on exhaling. My favorite sleeping position is on my side to avoid my jaw dropping with snoring and a dry mouth when flat on my back.

What I have found is that when the head is bent forward it is easier to make snoring sounds whether on the back or side. The sound is generally the uvula vibrating against the back of the throat. When sleeping with the mouth closed and breathing through the nose, it is necessary for the soft palate to be relaxed (dropped) so that the air passes easily through the nose to the lungs.

The body and brain need a certain amount of oxygen to stay healthy. A major cause of bad health and snoring is a low oxygen level while sleeping. One of the best ways to achieve a low level is to lie on your side and get cozy. For most people it is to bury one’s head in the pillow that lowers the head level and when the covers are then pulled up to create a small pocked where one breathes in and out of, one gets a minimum of fresh air. (oxygen) If there is no air movement in the room and your breathing slows down, it is not long before a signal from the brain comes for a quick surge of oxygen. The lungs comply and as with running, the fastest breath is through the mouth and with the combination of both mouth and nose, the palate and uvula are caught in the middle and vibrates both with inhale and exhale that produces what people call ‘snoring’. It is often a signal to the body to find another position where there may be more fresh oxygen.

I find that when using my oxygen cannula my oxygen level is still adequate with shallow breathing and of course less snoring if I learn to keep my head erect (not standing position erect!) while sleeping whether on my side or back…I hope this may be helpful for some.

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