How To Sleep With A Loud Snorer

woman awake in bed next to man snoring

Do 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; the British Snoring and Sleep Apnea Association say that 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.

38 thoughts on “How To Sleep With A Loud Snorer”

  1. Hi my names Ellie, I’m on a vacation right now with my family and a family friend. It’s the first day of the vacation and I just discovered that our family friend snores so extremely loud. I tried putting pillows over my ears didn’t help, I tried to listen to music didn’t help but the worst thing is our cabin we are staying in has one bedroom so we are all in the same room and I’ve been up since 4 am and it’s almost 5. Can someone help me out please?

    1. Hi Ellie
      Thanks for your comment, and sorry to hear this! Unfortunately, there is often not much that can be done to completely block the sound of very loud snoring. It might help if you can get hold of some good earplugs (look for ones with NRR above 30, which is the noise reduction rating – it will say it on the packet). Instead of music, you could try listening to white noise – there are free phone Apps that have it. Otherwise, you can ask the family member to try to sleep on their front instead of their back, drink less alcohol as that makes it worse, and it might help if you try and go to sleep first, before they do.

  2. Hi Ethan
    I have to share a room with my grandfather and he makes weird noises when he sleeps. They sound like big sighs and are really annoying. He also snores very loud. I tried moving to other rooms but i can still hear him. We live in a very small apartment with 4 other members of my family, and 2 out of the 4 of them snore. I usually end up getting 2 to 4 hours of sleep at night. I tell him to turn over but he just rolls back over. I am always tired and i don’t know what to do.

  3. Hi Ethan:

    My hubby is very defensive when I talk to him about his snoring. Regardless to which position he lies in the snoring is unbearable. Sleeping on his stomach seems to help. I purchased nasal spray & snoring strips but he won’t use them regularly. I suggested a sleep study or dr appt & he hasn’t been receptive. I recorded him & he’s defensive when we talk. I try to fall asleep 1st & once I’m in a deep sleep the loud noise wakes me & I have to try to fall asleep again. I tried sleeping with headphones & playing music or a sleep track (water, etc.) but his snoring over powers it. I’m 100 % disabled & pain also affects my sleep. Lately, it’s really unbearable & it’s affecting my mood & daily performance. Help please. Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Anita
      I’m sorry to hear you’re struggling with this issue. It’s a shame your partner isn’t communicating with you about the snoring. Perhaps there is a way to bring it up in a way that he doesn’t react to as if he’s being criticized? Sometimes we react defensively when we feel helpless, or that we’re being attacked, even when we aren’t. You might find he feels bad inside that he is affecting your sleep. My opinion is that it’s good to pick the right time to talk about difficult issues, but not give up on it. He needs to understand how much it’s affecting you, and that you both need to find ways to cope. Have you given him any other options to try, like a mouth guard, to see if that helps more than the nasal products? Have you tied earplugs or just headphones? They might not cut it out, but can help a lot.

    2. Hi Anita,

      When I read your comment, I can totally relate to it. I am in the exact situation as you. In addition, I’m a light sleeper. I sleep in separate room with my husband. We used to sleep together. When we sleep together, every time he starts to snore, I’ll move to another room. But this is causing me to lose a lot of sleep too because I needed to get to sleep all over again. Sometimes his snore could be heard even in another room…

      Ethan, I can’t use noise canceling earplugs. I need to attend to my baby at night. If the earplugs work really well, I won’t be able to hear her. During traveling, it is the worse time at nights. I went traveling but when it comes to night time, I will suffer from lack of sleep (as we need to sleep in the same room) and it is really stressful. I don’t think anyone can help…Can you?

      1. Hi Ann
        You didn’t mention anything about anything you’ve tried to deal with his snoring. Has he tried any methods to reduce it?

    3. I have had the same issue with my spouse and I have moved to the guest room so that I can get a good night’s sleep. It’s not what I prefer but I do tend to get a better sleep. Until your spouse is ready to face taking care of the issue you need to take care of yourself and make sure that you get the amount of sleep that is needed to be healthy and happy.

  4. Hello. I noticed in your article you said you tried three things and the last one worked but I don’t see where you mention what that thing was.

    1. Hi Burt
      You’re right, I didn’t! It wasn’t intentional to hide the information though and hadn’t even realized until reading your comment and checking back. I think my aim was to explain how if you try different techniques, you’ll hopefully find one that works – but the thing that works won’t be the same for everyone. But in his case, it was a mouthpiece. He first tried a generic one you can get online. After realizing it helped, he had a custom one made.

  5. My brother snores and I have no headphones and I don’t have white noise machines. He doesn’t have an illness what do I do? I cant buy anything:(

    1. Hi Jada
      It’s a tricky situation, I know. Perhaps you can ask family for help, both in tackling his snoring and for you to find something to block out the noise?

  6. I’m sorry to say that the CPAP machine when on sounds just as horrific as snoring. The air that blows in my face makes me sneeze and my eyes water and what’s worse – when I try to help by tapping or suggesting to roll over it’s met with an annoyance that I am disturbing his sleep. Me! I sleep on average of 2-3 hours per night. Another room is not an option. I’m sick all of the time now. Exhausted, sad and unable to concentrate. I’m not angry or resentful just TIRED but treated like I’m a grouch because of it. I’m sure the neighbors can hear the snoring and the adults that visit tap on our bedroom door because they can’t believe the noise. On an airplane, we are in for a nasty confrontation from other passengers or filmed by them. Let me repeat this – he has a CPAP Machine and still makes noise. Like a French horn and blows out air onto the face of whomever sleeps or sits nearby.
    There has to be a better solution because my mind and health are compromised now.
    Recording him makes him resentful as he isn’t interested in being blamed for something he’s tried to solve.
    He does not drink. He is not overweight. He is loving and otherwise considerate.
    I, on the other hand, am losing my mind every night to the point where I sneak into the bathroom and cry – sob, really in extreme ways that I can only describe as a crazed fatigue reaction to sleeping (or trying to) next to a person with Apnea who I love with extreme conditions.
    Ugh. There aren’t solutions but I do believe I’ll die young.

    1. Hi Jodi
      I’m sorry to hear you’re in this situation – it must be stressful for both of you. I’m assuming you’ve spoken to the doctor who oversees the cpap machine to see if there is an alternative he could try? Maybe you could even get in touch with different manufacturers directly to see if they have suggestions that might help?
      With the air blowing, personally, I’d probably build a little pillow wall in the middle between you to stop that from bothering you. And I imagine I’d be looking into testing different earplugs to cut the noise down.
      But I know it’s not easy when the noise is too much. I wish you luck in finding a solution.

  7. My brother was fitted with a CPAP machine a year ago. He cannot use it and he keeps tearing it off…it is under his bed when he gets up. He can’t remember doing it. This includes any other devices – mouthpieces, nose pieces, chin straps, etc. What do you suggest with a case like this one? He is the award winner for loudest snorer….u can probably hear him in this message. He checks all the boxes – overweight, drinker, smoker, nightly zopiclone user. He is working with a doctor, drinks less, trouble quitting smoking, never tried dropping zopiclone.

    1. Hi Daniel
      Well, it depends if you’re asking what to suggest if you’re being disturbed by the snoring, or how to help him improve his own situation. For the latter, supporting him to take the doctor’s advice might be the best you can do. As for the former, working your way through the ideas in the article in the hope that something works!

  8. What if my partner falls asleep before me and I can’t get any sleep because he can’t be moved in his sleep and I have no access to any anti snore devices. What shall I do?

    1. Hi Eva
      Thanks for your question. Have you spoken to your partner about his snoring at all to see if he will take steps to tackle it? Have you tried any of the techniques for blocking sound?

  9. Can’t cope anymore with husbands snoring. He is overweight and drinks too much. He won’t talk about it and won’t accept help when I suggest us both going to slimming classes. Its now really affecting my health getting no sleep. I am struggling with work and fall asleep as soon as I get home. I can’t see any other way out except leaving him.

    1. Hi Ju
      Thanks for sharing your story, though I’m sorry to hear it’s such a difficult time for you. It sounds like you’ve tried to tackle it together, but he is not connecting with it. Does he know how much it’s affecting you, and how strongly you feel? Perhaps this is something to talk about in more depth, either together or with a counsellor if you would like to try that approach. Maybe even the suggestion would make him take your concerns on board more.

  10. My husband’s snoring was so loud that the only thing that worked was sleeping in separate bedrooms. He was obviously gasping for breath, over and over. So I talked him into being checked and treated for sleep apnea.

    Sure enough, he had a severe case, and was fitting with a CPAP machine. I can’t express how much difference this has made!! He is totally silent, all night long, and he says his energy level is way up. He is in his 70’s and was getting a little forgetful, but this has entirely gone away.

    It is important to remember that sleep apnea is not only very tiring to the person who has it – they are not sleeping properly – but also has severe potential health impacts.

    1. Hi Meep
      Thanks for your comment and for sharing you and your husband’s experience. It’s great that this was identified and treated – I hope you can both continue to sleep better now.

  11. Sleepless In Sherattles

    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.

    1. 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?

    2. 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…

    1. 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.

  12. 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!!

    1. 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!

  13. 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.

    1. Hi Sally
      You’re very welcome, I’m glad there was something new for you to try.
      Good luck!

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

    1. Hi Manju
      If you are the one snoring, it might be a good idea to talk to your doctor about it to see if they can help, and check for any underlying condition.

  15. 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.

    1. 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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