Is Snoring an Inherited Trait?

Oct 22, 2018 | Blog

Snoring is a problem for quite a few people around the world, not to mention their partners. It is one of the reasons why couples fight, why people are often moody after an 8-hour sleep and why white noise machines are sometimes a godsend.

But does snoring have anything to do with our genetics? If our parents snore and our grandparents snored as well, wouldn’t that make snoring hereditary?

Well, the answer to this question is not simple. There are many factors that influence snoring, and we can even connect it to genetics. But it’s often just a sign of a bad lifestyle.

Large tongues, overbites, and airways

If large tongues run in our family, then we could say that snoring is hereditary. When people have large tongues, those tongues can get too relaxed during the night and fall backward. Thus, snoring is practically inevitable, as the air cannot go through.

Another reason why snoring could be hereditary is a narrow airway. If someone has such an airway from birth, they have a bigger chance of becoming a snorer. What’s more, we also have to take into account the neural control of the upper airway muscles. That, too, is a genetic component that runs in the family. So if some of our relatives suffer from it, then it’s likely that we will, too.

Finally, having an overbite is another factor that could make someone a snorer. When one has an overbite, their jaw is pushed back. That causes the airway to become too narrow for normal breathing.

What About Our Lifestyle Choices

It would be too easy to blame snoring on our genetics. After all, we have all the power in the world to change ourselves and make our sleeping pattern better.

Thus, when someone’s a snorer, it’s more likely that they are indulging in unhealthy habits. Alcohol, for example, is a liquid depressant that relaxes the tongue, which can lead to snoring.

Moreover, smoking is another risk factor, as it directly influences the way we breathe. In fact, smoking leads to inflammation or the swelling of the airway. Thus, the airway, yet again, becomes too small for the air to go through it, and we end up snoring the night away.

Now, we could say that sometimes alcoholism and smoking run in the family. But there’s no real evidence that’s true. What’s more, people have free will, which makes them responsible for their bad habits. As such, just because our parents smoked and snored, it doesn’t mean that we will become smokers and snorers as well.

A Combination of Different Factors Can Also Cause Snoring

We know that deviated septums are a common cause of snoring. However, does that mean that people with deviated septums always snore? No.

Sometimes they don’t snore at all, which just goes to show that other factors have to play a role as well. Thus, someone with a deviated septum or a genetic craniofacial abnormality would sometimes have to get “the sniffles” in order to snore or have allergies.

We also have to pay attention to what we eat and how tired we are. People who tend to sleep well at night will probably not snore too often. Meanwhile, those who indulge in bad food, as well as frequently stay up late and wake up early are good snoring candidates.


Certain hereditary factors may contribute to snoring. However, it’s far more likely that our lifestyle choices are to blame. But don’t worry — that’s good news! After all, we cannot change our genetics, but we can quit alcohol and smoking when we really want to.

Daniel Ayer

Full-time sleeper and part-time Writer for

Snoring Source

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