How To Sleep With A Loud Snorer

woman awake in bed next to man snoringDo you lose sleep because of your partner’s snoring? Is it light snoring you just can’t ignore, or the window rattling variety that nobody would sleep through?

Most people snore occasionally, but it’s estimated up to 40% of men and 24% of women do on a regular basis.

There’s plenty of help available for people who snore. But what about you – the one who has to put up with their nocturnal rumbling?

Let’s take a look at some practical tips to help you sleep through the noise. I’ll also explain why it’s important to encourage your partner to tackle it once and for all.

infographic saying 40% of men snore, 24% of women and 10-12% of children

1. First steps: is it snoring or sleep apnea?

Your partner may not feel the snoring disrupts their sleep, and it might be true. But according to the American Sleep Apnea Association, up to 50% of snorers might have Obstructive Sleep Apnea.

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder with serious health implications. So it’s important to encourage your partner to speak to a doctor if they have any of the following symptoms:

  • They usually snore loudly
  • Sometimes stop breathing in their sleep
  • Choke or gasp when asleep
  • Very restless at night
  • Often feel tired during the daytime

Sleep apnea can be treated, and in doing so will help the snoring – and your sleep along with it. If your partner is being stubborn about their snoring, record them so they can hear it themselves.

infographic with the symptoms of apnea to look for in a partner

2. Change their sleeping position

Many people snore more when they lie on their back, and less so on their side or stomach. Ask your partner to remember this, at least at the start of the night.

If they roll onto their back later in the night, see if you can gently roll them back onto their side.

An unusual trick is to sew a tennis ball into the back of their pajamas or T-shirt. This will make sleeping on their back uncomfortable, and keep them in a non-snoring position.

If they can only sleep on their back, try experimenting with different pillow heights. And you can find specialist anti-snore pillows which keep the head and airways in a better position.

infographic saying snorers should sleep on their side or stomach, not their back

3. Support them to lead a healthy lifestyle

There are several risk factors that are thought to increase the likelihood, or intensity, of snoring.

Being overweight is a major factor. According to the British Snoring and Sleep Apnea Association, obese people are 3 times more likely to snore.

And research has shown other factors that can lead to snoring are:

  • Drinking alcohol
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Regular use of sleep medication or other sedatives
  • Narcotics
  • Nasal congestion because of a cold, sinus infection, illness or allergy

If any of these apply to your partner, talk to them about the effect it might be having on their snoring and sleep. And if they have allergies, such as dust mite, hay fever or animals, try to keep the bedroom clear of allergens.

infographic showing snoring risk factors in a partner - smoking, alcohol, congestion, sleeping pills

4. Block out the noise

If nothing else helps, you can try to block out as much sound as possible so you can get some sleep. Here are some ways to reduce noise in bed:

If your partner snores very loudly, it might be a case of reducing the volume to an acceptable level rather than cutting it out altogether.

According to Chicago ENT, the average volume of snoring is between 60 to 80 decibels (dB), but even the best earplugs can only reduce sound by around 33 dB.

They will stay make a big difference to how much sound you hear, but it’s worth remembering you might not be able to block 100% of the snoring.

infographic showing the average volumes of snoring

5. Go to bed first, or sleep in separate bedrooms

If you tend to stay asleep once you finally do drift off, it might be helpful to go to bed first. That gives you the best chance to enter sleep mode.

You could also try sleeping in separate bedrooms on the worst nights, or when you have something important to do the next day.

According to a 2005 poll by the National Sleep Foundation, 1 in 4 married American couples sleep in separate beds or bedrooms.

25% of american adults sleep in separate beds

6. Ask them to try an anti-snoring device

Last year, I gave a friend who snores extremely loudly 3 different anti-snoring devices to try out. One did nothing, a second was ok, and a third worked very well.

He then spoke to his dentist about getting a custom device made, which led to him stopping snoring.

There are many different devices available, with the main categories being:

  1. Mandibular advancement devices (like a mouth guard)
  2. Tongue stabilizing devices
  3. Vestibular shields
  4. Nasal plugs and strips
  5. Chin straps

Many of these are available on prescription from a doctor or dentist. Some can also be bought over the counter or online at a reasonable price.

ask their doctor or dentist about anti-snoring devices

Your views

Do you know what makes your partner’s snoring better or worse? How do you cope with it? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts.

15 CommentsLeave a comment

  • I can confirm that none of these work. After being abruptly woken for the millionth time, it’s more of the structure of the nose/bridge and throat that cause it.

    Also, none of these stop the rumbling, or dissonant gasps and gurgles.
    It would be more tolerable if it was rhythmic.

    Completely draining the love I have for my wife because I don’t sleep anymore.

    • Hi there
      Thanks for your comment, and sorry to hear the snoring is having such a damaging effect on your feelings. When you say none of these work, has she been to a doctor to get treatment for the snoring? Or are you referring more to the methods to shut the noise out yourself?

    • Exactly… I’m going through the same problem… Sleepless nights has become a nightmare.. Now I’m always irritated and losing the feelings I had for my husband…

    • Hi Richie
      Thanks for sharing. I recommend ambient nature sounds with constant sounds, like rain, waterfalls etc. Thunder can be harder to sleep through because it’s less predictable I think.

  • None of these work! My spouse does have sleep apnea, but I’ve tried everything to get rid of the noise. What else can I do!!

    • Hi Dylan
      I’ve done exactly that many times in the past! I always found it a little uncomfortable, especially if you end up reducing the air flow, which obviously isn’t a good thing!

  • Thanks for all these wonderful tips Ethan! My husband has snored since we met, and although I’m used to it, some nights it drives me crazy. I’ll defo. be trying out a couple of the suggestions I haven’t tried before.

  • I need some solutions for night noise. Because of me, so many people are in trouble and my family also. Thank you.

  • Roll him over onto his left side. I am a very light sleeper and if he stops breathing….I instantly wake and will kick his leg and he will take a huge breath.

    • Hi there
      If your partner stops breathing during their sleep, it’s important to talk to their doctor and get assessed for sleep apnea.

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