BACKGROUND A study was performed to evaluate the effect of discontinuation of nasal continuous positive airway pressure (NCPAP) treatment on snoring characteristics. METHODS Eighteen non-apnoeic snoring subjects were randomly allocated to either a no treatment control group or an NCPAP treatment group. The control group was studied twice (baseline and day 30 of follow up). In the NCPAP group the level of NCPAP that abolished snoring was determined and part abolished snoring was determined and patients were placed on NCPAP every night for one month. A sleep study was performed on the first night without NCPAP after completing 30 days of treatment (follow up 1). A fourth polysomnographic study was performed 8-10 days after NCPAP was stopped (follow up 2) in six subjects. RESULTS In both groups total sleep time (TST) and sleep architecture remained unchanged at the different visits. Baseline snoring characteristics in the two groups were similar. In the control group the mean (SE) number of snoring episodes/hour of sleep (snoring index) and the percentage of TST > 60 decibels (dB) were 380 (36)/h and 11.1 (2.0)% TST respectively at baseline, and was unchanged at follow up. In the NCPAP group the snoring index decreased from 387 (50)/h to 320 (57)/h after NCPAP therapy, but the % TSTS > 60 dB decreased from 10.3 (1.8)% to 7.4 (1.5)%. The snoring index and intensity returned to baseline values at follow up 2 (374 (74)/h, 9.8 (2.1)% TST). Changes in snoring characteristics could not be explained by changes in body position between the different sleep studies. CONCLUSIONS NCPAP improves snoring but this effect is lost soon after stopping treatment.